Filmmaker Christopher Nupen about the film:
‘In 1969 five young musicians, all of them still relatively unknown to the general public - but destined to become international artists of the highest rank - came together to play Schubert’s Trout Quintet in the new Queen Elizabeth Hall, on the south bank of the Thames, in London. Their names: Daniel Barenboim, ltzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Jacqueline du Pré and Zubin Mehta. The concert took place on August 30th and I guessed that it would pass into legend in time. And so the obvious thing to do was to make a film about it because film remembers our artists and their artistic personalities in a way that not one of the other media is quite able to match. The idea was not only to film the concert but to film the preparations during the whole of the preceding week and, in so doing, to present many more facets of each of these gloriously talented, exuberant young musicians at work and at play, as well as in performance - to capture something of the spirit behind the event, as much as the event itself.
‘All of this was made possible by the newly invented lightweight, silent, 16mm film cameras, which had made a new kind of film possible. We were able to take cameras to musicians in places where cameras had never been before and to put images on the screen that had never been there before. The result was dynamite in 1969 because it did something that had never been done before and it did it in a way that had never been seen before in a classical music program. In some respects it was epoch-making.
‘The first part of the film - which introduces each of the artists in turn ends with the final 7 minutes of backstage preparations before the concert. Those minutes contain scenes which have left their mark in musical history and in the history of film. The film then continues with the performance, shot exactly as it happened, live, on stage - with not a note retaken - and filmed with five of those new, silent cameras. It was an historic event technically, as well as musically. The resulting film, The Trout, was to become almost certainly the most frequently broadcast classical music film ever made. When it was broadcast for the eighth time in Germany, on 25 May 1994 on the ARTE network, it drew the biggest audience of all classical music transmissions on that network during the whole of the year - 25 years after it first appeared! It has become the best remembered emblem of a time in music which has gone, and seems to be forever gone.’