'Brahms: The Boy II' (Part I) is a documentary that was produced in 2020 by Lomography. It is based on a book written by Tom Taylor and features over 100 minutes of rare audio and video recordings. This movie is quite famous as one of the first recordings to be made for online distribution.
Most of the people who have heard of Brahms will recognize some of his works, such as the Piano Sonatas. However, most know little about his work, particularly that of his later years. Since so many Brahms performances were recorded, the documentary team had to go back to the original archives to find recordings of Brahms' later years.
Brahms was a gifted composer, having at least one hundred and fifty pieces to his name, which he composed in his later years. A large number of these pieces were not included in the canon of classical music, which explains why his work is less well known. However, this is part of what makes the documentary interesting, since it tells the story of a composer whose works have become well known to a large number of people through the generations.
The documentaries feature interviews with Brahms' contemporaries and even more recently Brahms' nephews, to give the viewer a clearer insight into Brahms' life and times. Some of the interviews are quite touching, especially with the interview with Brahms' father Friedrich, who must have been quite upset at his son's alcoholism and profligacy. In the end, however, Brahms gave in to his past.
The documentary ends with a discussion between Brahms' surviving compositions, which were all recorded before his death. These are mostly symphonies and choruses that are actually long out of print and therefore difficult to obtain. They were edited down and rerecorded to make afilm. These recordings are available for online viewing in the documentary's dedicated website.
The directors, actors and actresses featured in the documentary are talented and knowledgeable about Brahms. Some of the interviews include Richard Linville, Russell Wolff, Audrey Arnason, Jens Bogren, Stig Andersen, Albert Jensen, Paul Williamson, Stephan Buhler, and Christa Wheatley. There are also lengthy segments featuring interviews with Andrew Riddle, David McAlpin, and Andy Baker. Interestingly, the film is notable for the low-budget approach it takes to get the interviewees to participate in the interviews.
'Brahms: The Boy II' has a documentary's worth of audio and video material. This makes the film worth watching and appreciating. It tells the story of a great composer who had to face difficulties in his life.
Even if you don't know much about Brahms, you will have to have watched this movie to appreciate it. That's the same with any other film. For those who want to know more about this important composer, this is the best way to get informed.
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