Languages and Audio Content:
Russian and English Linear PCM Stereo
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
Black and White and Colour
Region Code: 2, 3 ,4 , 5 ,6
Bruno Monsaingeon's David Oistrakh: Artist of the People?
is a probing portrait of perhaps the most thought-provoking of modern violin virtuosi, and a good companion to his similarly revealing documentary
on pianist Sviatoslav Richter. Although conversation with the man himself is minimal (Oistrakh died in 1974), Monsaingeon is able to draw upon the priceless reminiscences of those who worked with him, including his son Igor, conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, protegé Gidon Kremer, and the late Yehudi Menuhin: their frank and sincere comments on Soviet society make for sobering listening. Equally important, the range of Oistrakh's repertoire is covered, from Bach to Shostakovich, in footage covering half a century of performance. The musicianship and humanity of a life dedicated to music in the face of an often ruthless establishment is powerfully and movingly evoked. This is a documentary that no-one interested in great music-making or 20th-century culture should miss.
On the DVD: David Oistrakh: Artist of the People? reproduces its disparate sources with remarkable consistency in a 4:3 picture, and if the high level transfer of the musical extracts gives a harder edge to Oistrakh's sound than was the case, the Linear PCM Stereo itself is fine. There are subtitles in five European languages, and a useful background article by Monsaingeon, similarly translated, in the booklet. --Richard Whitehouse