The Master And His Pupil

Sonja Herman Dolz.

The Netherlands, 2003.

The keywords are simplicity and charisma as Gergiev shows the young conductors how he works, as he passes on his wisdom to the next generation with warmth, humour and outstanding educational skill.

Gergiev’s profound wisdom is inspirational and can be used in many situations besides conducting, and his general remark that it is all about the way you communicate with others – the way you treat others – makes a huge impact on the young conductors. With an intense gaze and with few, but well-chosen words, such as “co-operate with the atmosphere”, Gergiev takes the young conductors to a different level in their work. Simplicity is also the core of the brilliant film that Sonia Herman Dolz has made – and like the work of Gergiev, it may look simple but most certainly is not. It took extraordinary filmmaking skills to make this well-crafted film, based solely on the two meetings the young conductors have with Gergiev.

With beautiful, calm camera work, we are given the time and the space to dwell on the facial expressions and hands of Gergiev and his pupils, and get a unique opportunity to watch a creative process unfold. Furthermore the film successfully meets the immense challenge of fulfilling the needs of both connoisseurs and novices. As a representative of the latter, I feel that I have been gently allowed to enter a magical world of classical music and conducting and feel privileged to be allowed to get so close to this master, Gergiev. As for the connoisseurs, whom I experienced after a screening of the film in Copenhagen, they were equally inspired and stated that the film had uniquely succeeded in grasping and showing Gergiev’s brilliance. A film about music, art and communication – all told through the universal language of the conductor. And the film and Gergiev’s work both emphasise that ‘less is more’.


Modern Times Review