|Year Released||1998||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||154:18 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|Region||2, 3, 4, 5, 6||Director||Bruno Monsaingeon|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||2.0|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None||Dolby Digital||None|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||Russian/French (MPEG 2.0)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No, not really|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The video transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
The more recently filmed segments of the transfer are quite sharp and well defined. The archival material varies in quality, and is often dependent upon what it was filmed for: film material comes up better than television material, whilst the home video material is quite poor. Overall, this comes up very well indeed, considering the sources.
The transfer is a mixture of colour and black and white material. The colour sections are quite vibrant. The black and white sections are somewhat variable in presentation, but mostly quite bright and well contrasted.
There are no apparent MPEG or video artefacts, taking into account the variable nature of the source material. Film artefacts in the transfer were not a problem, although obviously some of the archival material is quite badly affected.
This is a dual sided disc, and technically is not a flipper as far as I am concerned: side one contains the first episode of the two part documentary, with the second episode on side two. The turnover occurs at 77:15.
There is only the one soundtrack on the DVD, the MPEG 2.0 Russian/French soundtrack - mostly the Russian of Sviatoslav Richter, with Nina Darliac (his wife) adding her comments in French. Subtitles in three languages are selectable to aid understanding: French, English and German. Naturally, I required the English subtitles to accompany the Russian soundtrack.
Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand - if you can follow Russian.
Audio sync did not appear to be a problem for most of the disc, although the archival film of the late Glenn Gould is out of sync - most likely due to poor ADR work.
But it is the music that sets this apart - and Sviatoslav Richter's repertoire is extremely wide ranging. And none of the performances are anything but illuminating of the great man's talent. Everything from Handel and Bach, through Haydn and Mozart to Shostakovich and Prokofiev gets an outing here, mostly in small excerpts. Added to that are some excerpts of other great musicians such as David Oistrakh, Msitslav Rostropovich and Benjamin Britten.
This is not a surround-encoded soundtrack, and there is no use at all of the surround channels nor the bass channel.
The video quality is a little variable owing to the source material, but in general is better than average.
The audio quality is good and suits the documentary very well indeed.
There are no significant extras to be concerned with.
One interesting point - this is the first DVD in my collection that retails for less than the equivalent video tape, at least according to my local retailer. Hopefully, it is not going to be the last - and kudos to Warner Music Vision for being the first to achieve this to my knowledge.
© Ian Morris
18th October 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|