If this seriously good series has escaped your attention then rush to the iplayer now. Suzi Klein tells the story of how music and politics were entwined in the twentieth century. The first episode focuses on revolution in Soviet Russia and Weimar Germany: we have some great sequences about Weimar cabaret and avant-garde Soviet music (a symphony for factory sirens), culminating in a chilling sequence about the Horst Wessel song. The second covers Strauss’s seduction by the Nazis, and some equally scary footage on the exhibition of degenerate music in thirties Berlin. The tightrope composers walked in Soviet Russia is also set out. Klein is very knowledgeable and every ten minutes features some footage or incident you’ve never heard before. Essential viewing. Music docs of the year for me, even if you’ll never be able to enjoy Carmine Burana in quite the same way again.
Did you enjoy his documentaries on the history of jazz or the American civil war?
Now that blind rage, confusion and meaningless violence is trendy again, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick are back with 18 hours on the Vietnam war.
Expect the unusual. Expect it to be slow and thorough. Expect it to be mesmerizing. Expect both sides to be allowed to tell their story. Expect to learn (yes, that awful thing we used to do).
I haven´t seen it yet, mind you. But Ken Burns is Ken Burns. He´s not known to do things halfarsed.
So if you´re only planning to watch one ten episode documentary about the Vietnam war this fall, you should make it this one. Available where you can find it.