Cast: Tony Palmer
Documentarian Tony Palmer's feature-length Harvest of Sorrow constitutes one of the first nonfiction works to recount the life story of 19th century Russian composer Sergey Rachmaninov with express permission from that great artist's family. As in Paul Cox's Vincent (1987) and other works, first-person narration culled from the artist's letters, journals, and memoirs -- here read by Sir John Gielgud -- forms the backbone of the narrative and lends heightened authenticity to it. Palmer shot on-location footage in Russia, Switzerland, and America at sites frequented by Rachmaninov. The soundtrack features extensive passages from the composer's works, performed by the Orchestra and Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
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