Isolated in the north west of Tasmania and protected by a bastion of mountain ranges and one of the wildest coastlines in the world, the Tarkine survived the ice age that turned most of Australia into a desert island. It has changed very little in over sixty million years.
‘Peaceful Rest’ takes you on a spectacular tour of this wonderful part of Australia, where the scenery is both breathtaking and diverse. Beginning with crashing waves and sand-whipped beaches we move to a misty dawn in a prehistoric forest – the sun shafting through trunk and fern. In the hour which follows, we see wide glassy rivers, small creeks running red with rich rainforest soils, scrubby, flower studded moor-lands, waterfalls disappearing into limestone caves and vast beds of swaying kelp.
We also glimpse many of the regions native animals. Early on, we a treated to amazing footage of a platypus bobbing and diving in a clear mountain stream. Later we encounter mysterious insects, possums, a tasmanian devil, sea birds, yabbies, penguins, wallabies, wombats and a cute echidna covered in eucalyptus flowers.
To compliment the stunning visuals, we are treated to some fine classical music performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players. There are 18 musical tracks in all, and they are listed below.
Track 1 – Opening.
Track 2 - J.S. Bach – Air From the Suite in D.
Track 3 - Greig – Morning Mood from Peer Gynt.
Track 4 - Lyadov – Russian Folk Songs (excerpt 1).
Track 5 - Mozart – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (excerpt 1).
Track 6 - Rachmaninov – Vocalise.
Track 7 - Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (excerpt 1).
Track 8 - Ravel – Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte.
Track 9 - Lyadov – Russian Folk Songs (excerpt 2).
Track 10 - Lyadov – Russian Folk Songs (excerpt 3).
Track 11 - Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (excerpt 2).
Track 12 - Lyadov – Russian Folk Songs (excerpt 4).
Track 13 - Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (excerpt 3).
Track 14 - J.S. Bach – Finale From Brandenburg Concerto No.3.
Track 15 - Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (excerpt 2).
Track 16 - Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (excerpt 3).
Track 17 - Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (excerpt 4).
Track 18 - Pachelbel – Canon in D.
Track 19 - J.S. Bach – Air From the Suite in D.
Many of these tracks are very well known, and some appear regularly on television commercials for ABC classics. Although well performed, on the whole I found the pieces a little too familiar. This contrasts strongly to Bird Suite, for which the score is less familiar and seems specifically and carefully chosen. The music here does smack of the easy option. Having said this, the familiarity of the score may increase the programme’s appeal to a much broader audience.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed Peaceful Rest. Having never visited this part of Australia, I was amazed by the diverse beauty of the Tarkine, and the hour seemed to just fly past. If you are a nature lover, or enjoy the odd bit of classical music, this disc is definitely for you. Incredibly, very little of this area is protected and much is destined to be woodchipped. This may be your only chance to see the beautiful Tarkine in its pristine state.
Peaceful Rest is presented in an aspect ration of 4x3 and contains some very spectacular footage. The transfer is excellent – matching the quality of the material. The colours are rich, be they mainly greens and blues, and the level of detail is exceptional. This would make a great demo disk! Unlike Bird Suite, there is no need for camera panning and many of the shots are static. This means that grain from the source material is largely avoided - the only flaw I could find was a little grain in the night shots of the fairy penguins.
Like the transfer, the audio is also a vast improvement over Bird Suite. The programme begins with howling wind and crashing waves that will definitely give your sub-woofer a good work-out. The audio is dominated by the classical music that is mixed effectively with the ambient sounds of nature. My only quibble is that, like Bird Suite, the surround channels are under utilised with respect to this ambient noise, being used mainly to widen the sound-stage. This quibble aside, the audio more than satisfies and is a good accompaniment to the visuals.
The menu is simple and functional with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of wind and waves. It provides two audio choices (Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0), and chapter access to each of the music tracks. No (other) extras are included on the disc. The disc begins with the ABC DVD logo and launches straight into a (skippable) promo trailer for ABC video. I am still surprised by the ABC’s continued use of this legacy from VHS (the use of ‘header promos’). Let’s hope Auntie makes a more concerted effort to take advantage of DVD's possibilities in the future.