A huge panorama of Wagner's life and work, from before the 1848 Revolution, through his exile in Switzerland, his rescue by the besotted King Ludwig II of Bavaria to the final triumph at ... See full summary »
Overall, I was very impressed with this part documentary-part staged biopic series on Tchaikovsky's life and music. I didn't love it as much as 2005's Beethoven, but there are many things that compensate. Especially the exquisite production values, with only one or two latter scenes that are a tad dull in terms of lighting and the brilliant music(that by the way is superbly performed), I for one cannot fail to be moved by any scene that features the heart-rending Pathetique Symphony. The sound is also very good, as are the script and direction, and I was impressed with the scenes that speculated on the cause of Tchaikovsky's death, no too-open-and-shut business as far as I could see. Ed Stoppard is a little more comfortable as Tchaikovsky in the second half of this series where he comes across as more heartfelt and passionate but he doesn't do too bad a job here either. Charles Hazelwood is an intriguing presenter and presents informatively with some interesting conversations with some youngsters, a ballerina and an opera singer about how the music affects them, how hard it is to perform and whether it engages with them on a personal level. With me, the latter certainly applies when I hear Tchaikovsky. Especially with the final movement of the Pathetique, Lensky's aria and especially the violin concerto, something about his music strikes a chord with me, and I have never quite put my finger on it, it could be various things, it makes me nostalgic, it makes me think and I suppose it packs an emotional punch with me too. Overall, this is a very good series where its pros outweigh the obvious faults. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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