Shostakovich, Dmitry - Sonata for Viola

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Sonata For Viola
Banned in U.S.S.R until 1986, Sonata For Viola documents the life of composer Dmitri Shostakovich. In addition to being a deeply moving profile of a musical genius, the film bears witness to the joy of modern music. It shows how the Maestro, despite the drawbacks of his time, overcame the storms of history and human frailty. It is illustrated with rare archival footage skilfully chosen by Alexander Sokurov. Idéale Audience International releases this title for Shostakovich's 100 anniversary, after the film was restored in Russia.

Struck by communist censorship until 1986, miraculously preserved from the hands of the KGB who wanted it destroyed , Alexander Sokurov and Semyon Aranovitch film Sonata for Viola, which depicts the life of composer Dmitri Shostakovich, will make its long awaited first appearance on DVD in October 2005 to mark the 30th anniversary of Russian master composer Dmitri Shostakovich's death (2006 will be the 100th anniversary of his birth). The Alexander Sokurov film was made in 1981 and is still regarded to this day as the best documentary ever made on this composer.

Lauched in the most difficult conditions by the prestigious LSDF studio (Leningrad's Documentary Production Company) from a synopsis described by Sokurov (aged 29 at the time) as weak and unappropriate, Sonata for Viola's inception was made even more difficult by the political context of the era. Still, the film presented today on this DVD edition appears to be an extraordianry piece of work, which not only tells the story of Shostakovich's life but also illustrates, through dazzling use of archive footage, more than 70 years of Soviet Russia's history.

It is through Sonata for Viola that documents hardly ever seen before are rediscovered : a speech by Shostakovich at an anti-fascist rally in 1944, footage of Moscow in 1944, poet Anna Akhmatova's burial -whose shooting started the furor of the KGB, who confiscated the reels.

Made available again in 1987, Sonata for Viola was soon to be forgotten again due to a major disagreement between Sokurov and Aranovich which caused further exploitation to stop.
With the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth fast approaching, Irina Shostakovich, his widow, suggested that the film should resurface. Sonata for Viola was then restored at Bereg Productions by editor Sergei Ivanoff and the sound remixed by Vladimir Persov, under supervision from Alexander Sokurov.

Sonata for Viola : The Restoration
Before this new restoration presented today on DVD, Sonata for Viola already went through a first restoration process: in 1986, all that LDSF had in its hands was a positive print with optical sound that was kept at Alexander Sokurov's home. Due to Sokurov's precise knowledge of reel stocking, the film was in excellent shape. Some kind of miracle when one remembers that the director was living in a communautary flat at the time.

LDSF only performed minumum restoration, making an internegative print which kept the sticking marks present on the positive print (which had been cut in several pieces to escape confiscation). During this year's restoration made at Bereg Productions in Moscow, a high- quality telecinema was first made from a positive print. Then, editor Serguei Ivanoff proceded to get rid of every sticking marks and graded the film for video. As it is the case for all other restorations on his films, Sokurov always drew a line between the work that was to be made on the picture and the one on the soundtrack. The picture part usually goes through a technical restoration (getting rid of major flaws, grading of the telecinema) whereas the soundtrack is totally redone. In every Sokurov's restored films, the soundtrack first goes through a stereo remix in which all original elements not fitting this format are replaced by brand new ones. Showing the audience a film with an up to date soundtrack is an essential principle for Sokurov, in order for the film to be considered seriously by viewers.

From this angle, the remix performed on Sonata for Viola is the most daring ever attempted on a Sokurov film. It has to be considered as a real author's work from sound engineer Vladimir Persov, even if he did not wish to be credited (film credits were left untouched out of respect for its original creators).

Varenummer DVD5DS14
Stregkode 0899132000145
Udgivelsesdato 11-05-2009
Kategori Bratsch
Plademærke Juxtapositions
Medie Type DVD
Antal enheder 1
Komponister Shostakovich, Dmitry
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