A wonderful documentary that can easily be seen more than once without a problem, and it is almost perfect. Much more definitely could have been said about the immense influences of Paganini and Heifetz and their significant contributions to violin playing, they're mentioned but could have been elaborated upon. And there could have been a little less of Yehudi Menuhin, though the latter is understandable considering how close to his death the documentary was shot and you could see it as some kind of tribute. The Art of Violin is nicely shot though with the footage remarkably clear and well-incorporated. The music of course is so great that you'd run out of superlatives, and while there are omissions(inevitable) and a few of the excerpts are brief the violinists that are included will delight any professional or aspiring violinists or lovers of the instrument. The clips- some rare- that are particularly great are the ones for Oistrakh's Shostakovich cadenza, Neveu's moving rendition of Poeme by Chausson, Heifetz who is blistering yet expressive, Milstein whose clip shows off his clean and precise articulation beautifully, Elman whose beautiful tone is not hindered in the slightest and of course Menuhin who particularly in the Chaconne plays with great expression. Other delights are the montage of different violinists playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and the discussion of the two different types of violin. The clips allow us to see the different techniques up close too, like with Grimaux's vibrato, Heifetz's speed of the bow and how disciplined Milstein was about fingering, something that was done far better here than in the Art of Piano documentary(which was still very good). The commentaries on the most part are very enlightening, Hilary Hahn is not always very fluid but Perlman makes a great point about how demanding the violin is to play and the mechanics of it, I could listen to Menuhin and Ida Haendel for hours and just loved what was said of Neveu and Haendel's thoughts on technique and individuality(something that any violinist should learn from) and Gitlils has a quite endearing light-hearted approach. All in all, inspirational and fascinating. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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