What the Universe Tells Me: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony

What the Universe Tells Me: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony

5.0 1
Director: Jason Starr

Cast: Jason Starr, Thomas Hampson, Mignon Dunn, Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra

     
 
What The Universe Tells Me: Unraveling The Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony is a documentary about the monumental "Symphony No. 3" by Gustav Mahler and its larger meanings. The piece itself has delighted and astounded audiences and critics for more than 100 years, and one of the most compelling and successful aspects of this DVD -- not just the documentary,

Overview

What The Universe Tells Me: Unraveling The Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony is a documentary about the monumental "Symphony No. 3" by Gustav Mahler and its larger meanings. The piece itself has delighted and astounded audiences and critics for more than 100 years, and one of the most compelling and successful aspects of this DVD -- not just the documentary, but the "mini-documentaries" among the bonus materials -- is that it delves into the radically different reactions to the many aspects of the symphony across the decades but most specifically in Mahler's own time. The basic documentary is thorough in its own terms, covering each of the symphony's six movements and its essential meanings. The 57-minute documentary gets seven chapters corresponding to the movements, and it's serious but also very entertaining viewing in the beautiful transfer that captures color tones of the relevant art and images of the performance by the Manhattan School of Music orchestra. The intercutting between discussions by musicologists, musical historians, general historians, scientists, and theologians and the relevant musical passages is some of the most skillful that's been seen in a film of this sort, and it is pitched to the beginner as well as the serious longtime fan; even someone who knows little or nothing of Mahler's music will come away understanding a vast amount about not only the music but the artistic, philosophical, aesthetic, and political world in which Mahler lived. The bonus materials are even more impressive, featuring a series of 11 mini-documentaries about Mahler and the symphony, featuring an array of speakers (including filmmaker Stan Brakhage) discussing particular aspects of the piece and the composer. Their discussions are erudite without really being pitched so high so that, say, someone not conversant with the works of Schopenhauer or Nitzsche wouldn't still understand exactly the points being made. The biggest bonus of all, however, is the second disc, which is comprised of a complete performance of the work by the Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra under conductor Glen Cortese, videotaped and recorded at Riverside Church in Manhattan in 2003. This event was covered the way the Monterey Pop Festival was covered. The camera movements are well rehearsed and fluid (it looks as though there were about seven cameras), capturing the relevant parts of the orchestra and also showing the rather awesome interior space of the church itself, one of the largest (and most beautiful) in the city. The sound is also state-of-the-art digital, picking up the softest passages clearly and covering a range that will challenge any decent speaker system. The second disc is chaptered to match the six sections of the symphony, and each of the other bonus mini-documentaries on the first disc gets its own chapter marker, and those bonus features nearly double the official 57-minute running time on the documentary. The total is closer to 215 minutes of material than to the 165 minutes promised on the box. All of the material is mastered in full-frame (1.33:1), and both discs open automatically onto straightforward menus offering easy access to all of the features.Academy Award nominee Stockard Channing narrates this musical documentary from Video Artists International that explores one of the most renowned works of classical music ever composed. What the Universe Tells Me: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony combines footage of the lavish scenery that inspired the piece with expert commentary and a performance of the music itself.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/30/2004
UPC:
0089948426790
Original Release:
2003
Rating:
NR
Source:
Video Artists Int'l
Region Code:
0
Sound:
[stereo]
Time:
2:45:00
Sales rank:
37,374

Special Features

11 "mini-documentaries" which expand on biographical, philosophical, and musical issues raised in the film; Second DVD presenting the entire concert performance of Mahler's Third Symphony, filmed in New York City's historic Riverside Church

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Disc 1
1. Introduction [2:43]
2. Pan Awakes: Summer Marches In [14:37]
3. What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me [5:35]
4. What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me [8:55]
5. What Humanity Tells Me [8:00]
6. What the Angels Tell Me [3:49]
7. What Love Tells Me [13:10]
1. Artist as Prophet [6:05]
2. The Premiere: Alma, Strauss and the Public [4:53]
3. Musical Innovations in the First Movement [6:17]
4. Schopenhauer: The World as Will and Idea [6:30]
5. Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music [4:29]
6. Howard Gardner: Natural and Supernatural Intelligence [5:15]
7. Stan Brakhage: Composing in a Trance [3:46]
8. The Youth's Magic Horn [5:48]
9. The Midnight Song: Eternity in the Present [5:02]
10. The Endless Journey: Mahler's Questioning Spirit [4:36]
11. Science and Faith: A Mahlerian Contradiction? [1:46]
Side #2 -- Disc 2
1. Kräftig. Entschieden. [1:21]
2. Tempo Di Menuetto. Sehr Mässig. [34:13]
3. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast [10:40]
4. Sehr Langsam. Misterioso. [18:20]
5. Lustig Im Tempo Und Keck Im Ausdruck. [10:17]
6. Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden. [4:12]

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What the Universe Tells Me: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the film I¿ve always wanted to see, but it seems that no one until now knew how to make it. WHAT THE UNIVERSE TELLS ME succeeds where other Mahler movies have failed (¿Bride of the Wind¿ and Ken Russell¿s ¿Mahler¿ come to mind) for two major reasons: 1-It respects Mahler¿s music. It does not try to popularize it by ¿dumbing down¿, but rather amazingly, it elevates the viewer to create an opening and receptiveness to Mahler¿s genius. The film does not presume the audience is familiar with Mahler, but it does presume the audience is smart and values ideas. 2-The film itself is an artistic masterpiece. It is visually stunning with a poetic script and dramatic shape that reaches almost as deeply into our souls as Mahler¿s music. And then there¿s the music! A thrilling performance conducted by Glen Cortese weaves in and out with commentary from the world¿s leading Mahler experts such as Henry-Louis de La Grange and Donald Mitchell. WHAT THE UNIVERSE TELLS ME is an unprecedented combination of compelling drama with fascinating information. Music and philosophy come alive. What an accomplishment! Bravo to director Jason Starr!