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DMH "music lover" (UK)

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Glam Pedestal Mirror 17cm x 7cm
Glam Pedestal Mirror 17cm x 7cm
Price: £8.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, quite well made, does the job, 8 Jan 2011
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This is a self-assembly product without any instructions! All the same, it's not too hard to work out what goes where, and the finished article is pleasingly heavy. The mirror offers both 1x and 7x magification, depending which side you use - the 7x mag is rather scary! Apart from showing finger marks rather too easily and so needing regular cleaning, it strikes me as a good budget buy for the bathroom.


Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (Paul Lewis) 10 CD set
Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (Paul Lewis) 10 CD set
Price: £32.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very worthy first set by a gifted young pianist, 8 Jan 2011
I acquired these discs as each set was released, so I "owned the full set" before the complete box set came out.

I've also had the opportunity of hearing Paul Lewis play all five of the Beethoven piano concertos at live performances, with different orchestras and conductors at a number of venues.

I guess my starting point in evaluating his whole survey is that no single pianist can claim to offer the full story in every single sonata. If any criticism of Paul Lewis might be justified, it is that he avoids excess - and in the process to some ears (not mine) the results in dramatic music might seem just a tad tame. Against that, I would add that at no point does his playing seem to me to be anything other than intelligent and above all musical.

Apart from many individual discs of Beethoven sonatas by a wide variety of pianists, I own four sets - Emil Gilels on DG (sadly not quite complete), Artur Schnabel, Alfred Brendel (Philips), and most recently Paul Lewis. Schnabel may not be infallible technically but in terms of understanding what these works are about, he remains to my mind peerless. Gilels remains my favourite because of his unique tone, his intellectual strength and his blend of drama and lyricism. Lewis seems to me to tread a middle course in this set: I would not be at all surprised if his interpretations developed still further over time, with age and maturity. This set remains for me a very enjoyable and satisfying listening experience, recorded with great naturalness and presence.


Beethoven: Complete String Quartets
Beethoven: Complete String Quartets
Price: £27.77

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding performances that have stood the test of time, 5 Jan 2011
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I first got to know these performances in the 1970's, when I particularly valued the insights the Quartetto Italiano gave into the late string quartets. I thought their performance of Op 132 was wonderful then; having just reacquainted myself with it after buying the set of CDs, I still think theirs is a glorious performance, all the better for nor being rushed or over-played. The sound on LP was on the warm side - on these CDs, the transfers seem to have gained in internal clarity while not losing much in warmth, and the illusion of eavesdropping on the performances is uncanny. I don't believe it's desirable to suggest that any one group has all the answers to these quartets, but the set by the Quartetto Italiano makes an excellent library version. To my mind it's as good in its own way as the set by the illustrious Vegh Quartet (originally on Audivis Valois, now re-released on Naive I believe).


Joseph Bentley Gardeners Apprentice Digging Spade
Joseph Bentley Gardeners Apprentice Digging Spade

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice spade, but take care over the size!, 5 Jan 2011
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This is a nice tool, the handle is wood with a comfortable grip, while the blade is stainless steel. It seems to be well made. Surprisingly light to handle - which is as well because it's a small spade! I bought it to keep in the car boot over winter months in case of snow, a job I'm sure it will cope with very well. For gardening use, it's really too small for an adult, but it should suit a younger person up to about age 14/16 quite nicely.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2013 2:35 PM BST


Shostakovich - Symphony No 8 (LSO Rostropovich)
Shostakovich - Symphony No 8 (LSO Rostropovich)
Price: £5.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not perfect, but very deeply felt, 1 Jan 2011
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I was fortunate to be present at this concert at the Barbican in London and still remember the way that Rostropovich put the audience under his spell. This may not be the perfect performance of this massive work but Rostropovich's searing commitment is never in doubt. He takes more risks with the musical structure than some other conductors but taken as a whole the interpretation "works". I'd not be without a Mravinsky reading of the 8th Symphony (his Philips reading is perhaps the best, but the other Leningrad reading on Regis comes very close) but Rostropovich's intensity is not to be missed either.


Symphony No. 5: Excerpts From The Gadfly
Symphony No. 5: Excerpts From The Gadfly
Price: £7.30

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic performance, grossly under-rated, 27 Dec 2010
I guess I need to start by saying that this is my favourite recording of Shostakovich 5th Symphony. I wouldn't claim it's the only way the work can be played, but it has always worked for me. It's essentially a serious-minded performance, one that in no way tries to play down the emotional links with the 4th Symphony, and you come away pretty drained as a result. It was originally issued by Collins and despite the authenticity of the performance and excellent playing from the LSO and a very truthful recording, it was rather over-looked. If you believe, rightly or wrongly, that this is essentially an optimistic work then you are unlikely to respond well to Maxim Shostakovich's performance. If you prefer a fast pace for the finale and a comfortable sense of easy triumph in the coda, look elsewhere. To me, Maxim's performance suggests that if there is a victory by the end of the work, it is one born of great pain, and the closing pages are by no means triumphal. At the very modest cost of the new release on Alto, this performance is well worth hearing, as a foil to those conductors who play the work too fast or who choose to underplay the turbulent emotions implicit in much of the music.

Added 6 August 2014: worth mentioning that there is now a 6 CD box on Alto containing the 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th & 15th symphonies, of which the 5th and 10th are conducted by Maxim Shostakovich. The 4th is by Barshai, the 7th Ivanov, the 8th Mravinsky, and the 15th Kondrashin.


Haydn: Symphony 94, 96 & 97
Haydn: Symphony 94, 96 & 97
Price: £10.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious playing from the Concertgebouw, 5 Dec 2010
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This record contains three very fine performances of Haydn symphonies, from the set of 12 usually dubbed his "London" symphonies - Opp 93-104. Van Beinum was a first class Dutch conductor whose readings are usually selfless in the sense that he sees his task as releasing the music rather than "interpreting" it. The result is fine, natural readings here that bring one close to the spirit of this remarkable, inventive music. The recordings are in vintage Decca mono - which means they are excellent, faithful and musical, but don't expect "hi-fi" sound if you're only used to modern digital recordings. Personally I find the ear adjusts very quickly but I suppose others may react differently. A very welcome addition to the catalogue.


Mahler - Symphony No 9
Mahler - Symphony No 9

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not mainstream, but well worth hearing, 5 Dec 2010
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This review is from: Mahler - Symphony No 9 (Audio CD)
This must have been quite a concert to be at - the BBC orchestra was on top form, and there is palpable re-creative tension running all through this fine performance. The sound is surprisingly good - clear, warm, strong brass, good timpani, just a little two-dimensional perhaps due to close/multi-miking? I suspect most people's reaction today to the conductor Bruno Maderna would be "who?", but he clearly understands Mahler's music and more importantly he has the orchestra with him. I can't add much to what previous reviewers have said, except that I noticed the "pauses" the conductor inserts at key points in the finale but I can't say I found them distracting, while the control of tempo variation seemed quite subtle and effective by and large - again, not distracting. Well worth hearing - not in any way a traditional or mainstream performance but one that clearly was the product of considerable study and thought, very well executed.


Philips HQ7390/17 Williams F1 Mains Rechargeable Shaver
Philips HQ7390/17 Williams F1 Mains Rechargeable Shaver

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding shave, outstanding value, 27 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I shaved this morning with my Braun 360 series shaver, which had been cleaned and charged beforehand. Then at noon Amazon delivered my new Philips 7390 shaver....

I tried it straightaway. Not only did it remove much more beard than I expected, my face felt miles smoother afterwards too. The Philips copes far more effectively with throat hair than the Braun. It also gives a much smoother and closer shave on the face, especially the chin.

An excellent product. At Amazon's bargain price, the whole shaver cost hardly any more than 3 replacement cutters too!


5 Star Compatible Inkjet Cartridge Page Life 833pp Black 450pp Colour [for No. 45 78 Hp Sa308ae] [pack 2]
5 Star Compatible Inkjet Cartridge Page Life 833pp Black 450pp Colour [for No. 45 78 Hp Sa308ae] [pack 2]
Price: £22.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good substitute for HP replacements, big saving in price, 26 Nov 2010
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I've used these for some time and haven't really noticed any drop-off in print quality compared with the genuine HP replacements. The end results are comparable in my view. Given these cost a great deal less than the genuine HP ink cartridges, I think they're a very good value option.


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