Soviet Conductor Russian Arias
Topic: Evgeny Mravinsky
Commercially available and good quality footage of the legendary Russian conductor Evgeny Mravinsky (1903-1988) is still something of a rarity, but here we get as part of an extensive biographic survey produced by the BBC (2003) loads of first-rate material - fragments from rehearsals, concerts, and even home-made video's. Interviews with the conductor's widow, members of the Leningrad Philharmonic and fellow-conductors who worked with him (mainly Kurt Sanderling and Mariss Jansons) shed new light on the career and personality of this unique musician, caught between the memories of his life in pre-Revolutionary Russia and his artistic pre-eminence within a Soviet society which he resented. His association with Dmitry Shostakovich in the 1930s and 1940s, of whom he premiered several symphonies in spite of the composer's repeated problems with the Stalinist government, was in this respect characteristic.