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Dr. John D (Brisbane QLD Australia)

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Wagner: Parsifal Berlin 1992 (Euroarts: 2066738) [DVD] [2012]
Wagner: Parsifal Berlin 1992 (Euroarts: 2066738) [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Poul Elming
Price: £28.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Musically Very Fine, 13 Aug. 2013
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On the whole this is very good indeed. Very solid musically and the acting is fine (although I think Poul Elming in Act I tends to do Parsifal as Jethro Bodine, the great dignity he brings to the trauma of Act II and all of Act III manages to, shall we say, 'redeem' his performance). Waltraud Meier is very strong, as is Falk Struckmann's Amfortas. I agree with others who think John Tomlinson's Gurnemanz is too youthful, but his is still a more than decent performance.

The sets, unfortunately, are bloody awful: dark, monolithic and cheap-looking.

Leaving Syberberg's masterpiece Parsifal - 2-DVD Set to one side, this is a generally reliable first choice and is likely to remain so until we get an official release of the recent Metropolitan Opera production with Jonas Kaufmann. Now that is one for the ages.


Abyssinians
Abyssinians
Price: £9.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, challenging, 7 July 2013
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This review is from: Abyssinians (Audio CD)
I'm by no means a folk expert, but as the saying goes, 'I know what I like' - and I like this a lot. For example, I get bored listening to up-tempo jigs and dances, I don't have the purist's appreciation for rough vocals and I don't enjoy 'prettified' folk arranged for classically trained voices. So I'm a picky listener.

But this hits all the right buttons!

Arrangements are sparse and haunting, letting June's wonderful voice - neither too pure nor primitive - work its subtle magic. The highlight is definitely 'The Scarecrow' - one of those songs that is just breathtakingly good - but, really, just about everything here works well to make the album a disturbing, intense experience that you won't soon forget.

So why not five stars? The two north American songs ('Lay This Body Down' and 'Fiddle and Drum'), beautifully performed as they are, and fine in their own right, just don't fit with the rest of the material, to my ears; and the piano on 'She Moves Among Men' is too ornate: that beautiful song needed a less showy arrangement.

This is nit-picking, of course: this really is a wonderful album and it's absolutely worth your time.


Duke Ellington: The Reprise Studio Recordings
Duke Ellington: The Reprise Studio Recordings

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Ellington, but Important Info for Buyers, 14 Jun. 2013
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This is not Duke's best period, as most critics and fans agree - but it's Duke and his men, so it's still worth owning. There's plenty to enjoy. I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could, but being unable to do that I'm opting to err with the higher score.

My main reason for writing this is to let prospective buyers know that the booklet is entirely in German. Mosaic always does great work, and they put this together originally, so I'm sure that if you can read German you'll get a lot from the extensive notes. Sadly for me, I can't.

Of course, the music is most important - and that's in a universal language - but this is far from being an inexpensive set and I suggest factoring in to any buying decision you might make your ability to read German.


Solo [1974-1983] The Virgin Years
Solo [1974-1983] The Virgin Years
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Essential Classics, one solid album (and the rest), 1 May 2013
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This excellent value four disc sets contains two albums I consider to be worthy of five stars: Edgar's solo debut "Aqua" and the gorgeous "Epsilon in Malaysia Pale". These are both stunning efforts, every bit as good as the best of Tangerine Dream. "Epsilon" in particular is special: it has that mix of drive and melancholy that really sets Edgar apart. The ending of the album is just beautiful.

It's great to have these two available again in their original forms, as well.

"Stuntman", Edgar's third solo effort is a touch below these in quality but still very good and certainly worth owning.

For my taste, the other albums featured here are disappointing and show a marked decline in Edgar's work. I think this set would have been improved by issuing the first three albums on their own disc (rather than splitting "Epsilon" I half) and not bothering with "Ages" and "Pinnacles" at all.

Still, that's not a big deal. Three albums you really should own and some filler you probably won't listen to much is still a bargain at this price.


The Jazz Age
The Jazz Age
Price: £11.60

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dangerous Twenties, 19 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The Jazz Age (Audio CD)
In case you've missed it - and for the benefit of potential one-star reviewers, some of whom, I gather, have trouble reading - this is an instrumental album featuring Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry solo material in the style of very early jazz. And what a marvellous disc it is.

The thing is, it's not a gimmick, not a joke. In fact, it's a beautifully played tribute to an era and style of music that was, and remains, radical and adventurous (like the best Roxy material, really).

A first listen can be bracing: the sound is narrow and much (but not all) of the material is hard to recognise. Amazingly, as you listen, the sound broadens out and the music starts to connect. Sort of like jumping into a cold swimming pool: a shock to the system at first, but you soon find yourself floating and revelling in the feel of the water.

Get this for the material and, once you've had the taste, I suggest grabbing the JSP Hot Fives and Sevens and Jelly Roll Morton - Complete Recorded Work, 1926-1930 boxes. Bryan, I'm sure, would consider that the sign of a job well done.


Pufnstuf Ost Album Feat Jack Wild
Pufnstuf Ost Album Feat Jack Wild

4.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten (at least by me) Gem, 2 Jun. 2012
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I played and played the LP of this as a kid but can't have even thought about it for 35 years!

Wonderful to find it on CD and amazing to discover how many of the tunes and lyrics were still just under the surface of my memory, waiting to pop out. Highlights are "If I Could", "Different" and "Zap the World", but this is full of great stuff.

This may not be around for long. Anyone interested in musicals should not hesitate to grab it while they can.


Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion
Price: £8.62

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-hyped, 2 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Storm Corrosion (Audio CD)
Any album where the artists name-check "Tilt" era Scott Walker and Comus should be worth checking out, right? Sure, but there's a basic rule here that Messers Porcupine Tree and Opeth have over-looked: don't call attention to first rate pieces of work unless yours is of a similar quality; to do just over-emphasises your shortcomings.

This is a solid album which has been over-hyped (cheers, "Prog" magazine!) and as a result inevitably disappoints. This is not a challenging record - it's moody, effective and diverting. It's never revolutionary, it's never startlingly original.

If those qualities matter to you, grab Tilt and Song To Comus - The Complete Collection. Whatever else you might think, PT and O have very good taste in music!


The Adventures Of Tintin
The Adventures Of Tintin
Price: £12.49

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 30 Nov. 2011
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There are good things about this. The colours of the orchestration are lovely and characterful; and John Williams is always worth hearing.

But the score is seriously lacking in memorable melodic themes. Nothing much soars, everything is hyper-active and jumpy. Of course there is more to an effective score than simply strong melodic writing, but that is one of John Williams' great talents and I think it's a pity he's chosen not to use it here.

Now it may well be that this is perfect for the movie, but it doesn't make for a score I'll be playing very often.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 17, 2013 11:30 AM GMT


Dziekuje Bardzo
Dziekuje Bardzo
Price: £16.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 16 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Dziekuje Bardzo (Audio CD)
Very hard to recommend this, unfortunately.

Taken together, the album is tedious: too much is taken up with some very basic choral samples (honestly, how many times do we need to hear "Agnus Dei" repeated, even if it's interspersed with a "Kyrie" from time to time?), all-too-rare sequencer patterns from Klaus and braying noodles from Lisa.

There are exceptions: both "Shoreless" tracks are fine (no Ms. Gerrard) and in fact the first, (numbered Two), is really splendid old-school Schulze. As a fan I wouldn't want to be without that track.

"Godspell", too, is very effective. Lisa's vocals are somewhat more animated here and the track has an impetus sadly lacking elsewhere.

I admit to not having been overwhelmed by any of the collaborations from this duo, but I find much more to enjoy on the "Rhinegold" set in particular than I do on this one.


Time Actor
Time Actor
Price: £12.03

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Giants Wasted, 19 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Time Actor (Audio CD)
I am a great admirer of both Klaus Schulze and Arthur Brown, but I honestly can't find much good to say about this album.

The tracks largely comprise swathes of synth pulses (nothing in the way of the sort of great musical developments fans of Klaus know and love), over which Arthur intones what sound like improvised songs.

The trouble is, Arthur does not seem to have been particularly inspired lyrically and musically he manages little more than a very basic 'sing-song' chant.

It makes for very dull listening, which is a shame given the talent and the care which has obviously gone into this reissue.

Fans, like me, will buy this regardless of reviews, but newcomers should avoid this odd waste.


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