From the press release:
"On 2 October 2006, Allegro Films, in association with Argos
Productions and Naxos Global Distribution will launch a new DVD
label - The Christopher Nupen Films, distributed by Naxos. Its
purpose is to preserve on DVD the films shown in the Christopher
Nupen retrospective series on Channel 4, probably the longest
retrospective ever shown on British television and among the
most successful. Four DVD releases are scheduled per year beginning
with portraits of Jean Sibelius, Nathan Milstein, Vladimir
Ashkenazy, Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman.
Christopher Nupen is renowned for the quality of his film
making and for the enduring appeal of his film portraits. They
have come to be recognised as classics. His first DVD release,
Jacqueline du Pre In Portrait, (on the Opus Arte/Allegro Films
label) became the top selling classical DVD of the year 2004
within 8 weeks of its release and won the DVD of the Year Award
in Cannes in 2005. His second DVD, entitled We Want the Light,
won the same award in 2006.
The first release on The Christopher Nupen Films label will
be one that celebrates the musical quest of one of the great
symphonists of the twentieth century: Jean Sibelius, a composer
whose reputation has undergone the most extreme fluctuations in
the past 70 years. Sibelius was voted the most popular composer
of all time in New York in 1935 and was hailed in England as the
greatest symphonist of his age (in the words of Ralph Vaughan
Williams, "You have lit a candle in the world of music that will
never go out."). By the 1960s, however, critical opinion had
relegated his music to a position of minor importance.
The 50th anniversary of the death of Sibelius will fall in 2007
and this DVD is released in belief that the time is right for a
reassessment. It is in two parts: The Early Years and Maturity
and Silence. They examine the work of a great artist as seen
through his music, his letters and diaries and the words of
his wife Aino, who was with him for more than sixty four years.
The film follows an artistic journey that was not an easy one.
Living through the great turning point in Western music, many
of Sibelius' concerns were strikingly similar to those of
Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Each followed a different path,
however, and it is not surprising that their reputations should
be caught up in the massive shifts of fashion that characterise
the turmoil of twentieth century music. Views are changing again
and Christopher Nupen offers an intimate look at what Sibelius
himself felt that he was trying to achieve. To quote Nupen:
"His music has lasted and I believe that it will continue
to last, whatever fashion may do...his voice is inimitable,
unmistakable and for me unforgettable. My first encounters
with it opened a whole new world that remains with me."
As with Nupen's films on Respighi, Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky,
the orchestra is the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted
by Vladimir Ashkenazy. They are joined in this film by Elisabeth
Soderstrom and Boris Belkin. The DVD also includes personal
introductions by Christopher Nupen and Allegro Molto, a compilation
of excerpts from Christopher Nupen films to date."