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Daniel Hornby (Middlesbrough, England)

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Bach: St.Matthew Passion
Bach: St.Matthew Passion
Price: £14.97

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully recordings will never be like this again, 5 April 2015
This version epitomises everything that was wrong about Bach performance practice of the past. If you can get through the dirge which is the usually wonderful opening movement, you might manage to listen to the whole thing.

Unfortunately the tempi here are ridiculously slow . The stellar cast cannot I'm afraid make up for the ego that is Klemperer. This is no diatribe against the great man having enjoyed his Ein Deutsches Requiem - the first movement was fast (and perfect) for its time and it overall is a great recording.

This recording lasts for just over 3hr45. Compare this to the raft of recordings since the 1980s which on the whole take between 2h40 and 2hr45.

I have to firmly disagree with the member who posted previously that Klemperer's tempi give the music time to breathe. There's breathing and then there's Klemperer's vision - slow, stodgy and, as far as I'm concerned far removed from the composer's wishes.

This recording in my opinion remains a curio of a time when large scale choral works were loud, proud and very slow.

Whatever people want to say about "HIP", we can now hear works performed with clarity rather than thick washes of sound.

The Prisoner - Complete Series [Blu-ray] [1967]
The Prisoner - Complete Series [Blu-ray] [1967]
Dvd ~ Patrick McGoohan
Offered by JMBMedia
Price: £31.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 18 Oct. 2012
I saw this about 2 years ago at my father-in-law's house having never seen the programme before. There is very little that anyone hasn't already said. The transfer is top-notch, the scripts are first-rate and it is entertainment of the highest order. This is how TV should be. Buy without worry.

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4-6
Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos.4-6
Price: £21.37

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No better set out there right now., 13 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have owned this set for a good few years now, and there cannot be high enough praise for Gergiev's rendition of the 3 masterpieces in this pack.
the 4th is magnificently played, the 5th stunning beyond compare and the 6th has never had a better playing. I've listened to dozens of recordings of the 'Pathetique' and this comes out top (Solti with Chicago SO 2nd). Gergiev is often referred to as the greatest living Tchaikovskian and this recordings show why.The Wiener Philharmoniker don't play with the usual string sound, it has got at times a harsh edge (and grunts from Gergiev) but it is all the better for it. There are moments of tenderness in the final movement of the 6th symphony and it adds to a magnificent playing and interpretation. the 6th symphony was performed live after the Beslan massacre and it is obvious that Gergiev is thinking of it, producing an amazing performance.

Having listened to this on a top sound system, iPod and laptop, it is most stunning playing direct through the cd. However, I believe on an iPod it is still effective as a listening experience.

This set is probably the best use ever of my money and will give me pleasure for years if not decades to come.

It may not be to everyone's taste (nothing ever is) and not all the moments are perfect for my taste, but I don't think there is a better set out there of the late symphonies.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3)

5.0 out of 5 stars Best game ever?, 13 Oct. 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Skyrim is a phenomenal game. I bought it from PC World just before last Christmas as they were selling it for £22! (when everywhere else was at least £40).

It was the PS3 version and although a few said it was a bad version and I didn't play it until January, I was hooked. The epic scale of Skyrim is simply stunning and after a while playing it, fast travel became my mode of transport given the sheer time it takes to get from one corner of the map to the other.

It may not have the DLC and I managed to lose my save file (over 180 hours!!!) when my PS3 blew up, which could have been two negatives, but it is no problem starting again, given the vast array of options within the game. The DLC may offer extra content but not having it for PS3 doesn't shorten its appeal or the numerous hours you can play in one setting. The fighting engine may not be the best but I really enjoyed it. Having health regenerate is a real bonus compared with Oblivion when there is a tough dragon or swarms of Draugr to fight.

I bought it not having played anything from the series but I was not disappointed when I finally played it. If you like RPGs, this game should not disappoint. The Bethesda haters don't know how lucky they are to have such a quality game. I was hardly affected by the slowdown other users moaned about and couldn't have been more surprised by its quality and game length, which can easily go over 300 hours if you do the side quests, not just the main storyline.

At £25 (or cheaper) this is a steal. It may take half an hour to get into it, but it is well worth the effort spent. Buy and enjoy!!!!

Rossini: William Tell (French version)
Rossini: William Tell (French version)
Price: £13.72

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent offering, 24 Aug. 2011
The recording on offer is, first of all, a pleasure to have given the work's relative neglect. The playing is first rate and the singing is good all-round. Being the French version means it will get serious playing time at home for me. I first listened to the 1980 Decca version with Chailly (in Italian) and I have not heard a better recording than that. So I will disagree with the product description that this Pappano is only rivalled by the 1972 EMI one as the Chailly is top notch.
To go back to this recording I would add that the sound is not the greatest and EMI have let themselves down in this regard, spoiling an excellent interpretation by the artists. The soloists are very strong but I still prefer Ghiaurov, Milnes and Pavarotti to Osborn and Pertusi. The singing here sometimes feels robotic- great technically but lacking in natural phrasing and style.
I would definitely recommend this just not as the best ever.

Brahms: The Piano Concertos
Brahms: The Piano Concertos
Price: £16.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the modern recordings, 2 Mar. 2009
Like the previous reviewers, I agree with the sentiments of this being the top modern recording of the piano concertos- the orchestra well controlled and sounding excellent under Chailly, the interpretation by Freire among the very best on record with a great balance of lyricism, power and sheer athleticism.
There is so much to recommend about the recording, but as with all recordings there are a few little niggles. Although the sound quality is first rate, the balance between piano and orchestra is sometimes favoured too much with the orchestra. This only detracts slightly from the listening experience and the same can be said with a couple of slips and at times, weak playing.
All in all, an excellent interpretation and recording of the two piano concertos, and very highly recommended, not just here, but by Gramophone and the other reviewers. Worth buying without hesitation.

Rossini: Guglielmo Tell  (DECCA The Originals)
Rossini: Guglielmo Tell (DECCA The Originals)
Price: £24.02

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rossini at his best, 28 July 2008
William Tell was the first traversal of mine into Rossini when I picked this up very cheaply indeed. Not knowing the piece at all and starting with the famous overture I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience from beginning to end. Chailly paces the drama brilliantly and Pavarotti and Milnes are in fine voice throughout. After hearing other versions I would argue that this is the most finely crafted and recorded version out there. It may not be that cheap but is well worth the investment.

Brahms : Symphonies Nos 1 - 4 & Orchestral Works
Brahms : Symphonies Nos 1 - 4 & Orchestral Works
Price: £18.72

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best yet, 31 Mar. 2007
This was the first Brahms set that I have bought. I have been lucky enough to hear a lot of the other recordings that have been made of the symphonies, and I fully recommend this to anyone wanting an excellent set of these fine works. What Barenboim brings to these works (overtures as well as symphonies) is a fine balance between meaningful expression and outright aggression. These aren't the most fiery I've ever listened to, but I believe the tempos are perfect for each of the works on the set. Good alternatives to this set are Karajan's with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra from 1977/8 and Abbado's set, also with the BPO from 1993.

Verdi: Requiem Mass
Verdi: Requiem Mass
Price: £5.15

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good piece, good performance, rubbish sound quality, 30 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Verdi: Requiem Mass (Audio CD)
Compared with the previous reviewer, I did realise this recording was from 1939, but due to the names, I was expecting better than this. There is nothing musically wrong with this version, but unfortunately the quality of the recording is frankly quite terrible. This may have some reason to do with Naxos, I couldn't give an expert opinion. Saying that, one has to respect the fact that it has been made available for us to hear and there is only a certain amount one can do with ancient recordings (and still I'm glad I have it!) If you want a vintage recording from this period, it is musically very good and Serafin brings a lot of positives to the piece. However, if you want clear quality and brilliant sound, avoid at all costs. It really is only for the historian or vintage collector. The rating reflects the overall sound quality and ease of listening above all else unfortunately!

J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio ∑ St. Matthew Passion ∑ St. John Passion ∑ Mass in B minor
J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio ∑ St. Matthew Passion ∑ St. John Passion ∑ Mass in B minor
Price: £29.99

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baroque masterpieces- a surprise for me, 12 Sept. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ever since listening to St. John Passion as a young boy, I always had respect for Bach's music and classical music as a whole. However, until taking a small risk and buying this set, I steered clear of Bach unless it was impossible to do so. Having to study Baroque music at university this year gave me the real impetus to do so and I don't regret it for a second. This boxset is now my most treasured musical possession and I can't stop listening to the 4 great works contained within. The opening movements of each work are reason enough to buy the set on its own, but when you listen to them all as I was compelled to do, you discover that under the contrapuntal surface of Bach lies a genius who is capable of bringing out the fire in one's heart and moving you at the same time. At 22 pounds i thought this was a bargain as they are 20 pounds separately, saving you a lot of money.

The conducting from John Eliot Gardiner is again top-notch with the soloists, choir and orchestra doing the works supreme justice. The only downside is that there are no libretti, but no doubt they could be found on-line or even by buying the scores.

If you don't know Bach or you don't own these works, I would suggest that you start here, since at this price you really can't go wrong.

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