Sony has issued a six DVD set containing most, but not all, of Vladimir Horowitz's filmed appearances. While it's convenient to have so much Horowitz material in one set, I am rather disappointed at the quality of the picture. In this day & age when old films and TV shows are made to look brand new, more could - and should - have been done. I've grabbed a few images for comparison:
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Above is a screen grab from the Pioneer DVD of Horowitz's 1986 Moscow concert, issued in 2000. Note the relatively sharp details, for example, the floorboards. This DVD was taken from the laserdisc, which was mastered from the original videotape.
Here's a screen grab from the new Sony issue - colors bleed and details are less apparent. This appears to have been taken from a second generation videotape. Note also that the top & bottom of the image have been cropped.
Nowhere to be seen are the 1968 Carnegie Hall recital, 1978 White House recital, and the Rachmaninoff Third concerto with Mehta from later that year. There is also the tantalizing rumor that a February 1976 performance at Ambassador College in Pasadena was secretly videotaped. Thankfully, the disastrous 1983 recital in Tokyo was not included. Many items from these appearances can be found on the Internet – although not in top quality.
Click here to read my full review.