PBS // 2010 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 23rd, 2012
A couple of plucky Italian crafstmen.
What are your thoughts on violins? Do you enjoy them? Would you consider yourself a fan? Do you have photos of various violins hanging from ratty clotheslines in your apartment? Then this DVD is for you!
From the eggheads at PBS comes Violin Masters: Two Gentlemen of Cremona, an hour-long documentary that examines the art and science that goes into violin craftsmanship.
This hot violin info is grounded in an exhaustive profile of two legendary violinmakers: Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. The former is likely known to non-violinistas, the latter is more of an under-the-radar craftsman but highly well-regarded in his own right.
Violin Masters utilizes a mixture of precise Alfred Molina narration, interviews with historians and musicians, and candid violin-playing footage to tell its story. The DVD case makes a big deal of noting that interviewees include Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Midori, and Joshua Bell, who (for the viol-inclined) are good gets.
As is usually the case with these PBS releases, the subjects are so specific that fans of the spotlighted topic are likely to get the most out of it. But Violin Masters is a feature executed nicely enough that anyone interested in its unique subject matter will be pleased -- especially if you find yourself relatively ensconced in the gravitational pull of musicianship.
A No-frills DVD: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround (surprise!), no extras.
Nobody's stringing you along here.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated