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Yousave Accessories PU Leather Wallet Cover Case for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - Black
Yousave Accessories PU Leather Wallet Cover Case for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - Black
Price: 6.82

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality at bargain price, 21 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This case is a stylish and quality leather case with space for 2 credit cards. The case neatly protects my phone without adding excessive bulk. Even with the case, it is still possible to slip my Galaxy Note 2 into my trouser pocket. Considering the rock-bottom price, it is a bargain and highly recommended.

Delivery was also very fast. I ordered this on Wednesday evening and received the case on Friday morning.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2014 10:22 PM GMT

Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea
Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea
by Barbara Demick
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and devastating, 30 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is written in a very straight-forward readable style, but the contents are utterly devastating and unbearably sad. I spent some time in Eastern Europe and Russia during the cold war years, and I already had some idea of life under a totalitarian regime. But the North Korea depicted in this book is far more terrible than I had imagined.

This book is a valuable historical document. But is also a human interest story. The book focuses on the lives of six ordinary North Koreans who later defect to South Korea. I found the tragic romance between Mi-ran and Jun-sang to be particularly poignant.

Serving Genius: Carlo Maria Giulini
Serving Genius: Carlo Maria Giulini
by Thomas D. Saler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 21.43

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for anyone interested in conducting or classical music, 3 Jan 2011
As a long-standing admirer of Carlo Maria Giulini, I found this book a pleasure to read from start to finish. To my knowledge, it is the only available biography of Giulini. The biographer has done an excellent job of recording the key events of Giulini's life and, perhaps more importantly, explaining what it was that made Giulini's music making so special.

The book is not particularly long - I finished it in just over a day. It is well-written and easy to read. The majority of the chapters take us chronologically through Giulini's life, focusing on his early life and the war years, his key relationships with orchestras in London, Chicago and Los Angeles, and his final years following the onset of his wife's illness. The remaining chapters include discussions of his conducting style, his approach to music and choice of repertoire. The primary material for the book appears to be an extensive list of interviews that Thomas Saler has conducted with former colleagues.

The section on Giulini's wartime past was particularly interesting. While I was aware of his hostility to the Nazis and fascism, I was not aware of the level of danger that he endured. Under the fascists Giulini served as an officer in the Italian army, but apparently made strenuous efforts to avoid hitting the enemy when forced to fire in a combat situation. However, when Rome came under direct Nazi control, he spent 9 months holed up with a Jewish family in a tunnel underneath his uncle's house. Meanwhile above ground posters were distributed with his photo and orders that he was to be shot on sight.

Thomas Saler is clearly a huge admirer of Giulini. Throughout the book he invests huge effort in fleshing out what constitutes the special Giulini sound. For example he discusses in detail Giulini's approach to bowing in Beethoven, and explains that the Los Angeles Philharmonic kept separate copies of scores that had Giulini's markings and that were only for use when the orchestra was working with the maestro. He also illustrates many of the aspects of Giulini's personality and philosophy that made him such a unique conductor: his humanity, his dislike of autocracy, his complete focus on the music and lack of interest in peripheral concerns.

Nonetheless, Saler does not shy away from some of the inevitable controversies that surround any great conductor. For example, he quotes the leader of the LSO describing Giulini's relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra as "hate at first sight". He also describes the negotiations for his return to the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1975, which involved lofty discussions of art and life with Giulini while in another part of the room his wife drove the demands for his fee to astronomical levels.

In the preface, Saler articulates his own experience of a Giulini concert:

"Every phrase was shaped, yet sounded entirely natural. The music breathed as if driven by the human soul rather than by metronome. No detail was too small, yet the whole was not lost. The sound had an inner glow, with the viola and cello parts bathing the top and bottom lines with colour and warmth. Lyrical passages flowed with a transcendent beauty; fiery sections cut the air with knife-edged precision and power. Climaxes accomplished their purposes without skewing orchestral balances. Through it all, players eagerly and loving responded to Giulini's overarching request: `Touch the heart.'"

Anyone who was privileged to experience Giulini in the concert hall is likely to concur. This book is heartily recommended to anyone with an interest in conducting or classical music performance and interpretation.

Wagner and Philosophy
Wagner and Philosophy
by Bryan Magee
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.39

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner and the life-changing impact of Schopenhauer, 27 Feb 2010
This review is from: Wagner and Philosophy (Paperback)
This is a remarkable book. Bryan Magee is a philosophy professor who has a gift for explaining philosophy to the lay reader. He is also immensely knowledgeable of music, opera, drama, and in particular the works of Richard Wagner.

Magee explains the life and works of Wagner in terms of Wagner's political, philosophical and artistic beliefs, and provides an introduction to the key German philosophers who would play a role in Wagner's life: Feuerbach, Kant, Nietzsche and above all Schopenhauer. As Magee explains, Wagner's depth of interest in philosophy is unique amongst all the great composers. It would not be possible to write a similar book about Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Bach or any the other musical greats.

First he takes us through Wagner's earlier years, essentially up to the point where Wagner broke off from composition of the Ring cycle. Magee relates his interests in politics, socialism, anarchism, greek drama, opera, and his attempts to build a comprehensive theory of art that famously led to the concept of a Gesamtkunstwerk - a "complete art work" that would unify music and drama into a single art-form in which music, words and drama are equal.

Magee then relates Wagner's mid-life crisis and discovery of Schopenhauer. The biggest surprise for me was that I expected to read about the philosophy of Schopenhauer and its influence on Wagner with a purely academic interest. Instead I found myself strongly attracted to the ideas of Schopenhauer and started to share something of Wagner's seduction by the power of those ideas. For Schopenhauer art like religion strives to understand something of the reality beyond the physical world that we see and feel. Schopenhauer regards art as above religion because it is not inhibited by the stories and beliefs that religion uses to express these deeper truths. Furthermore, Schopenhauer regards music as the greatest of the arts, because it is the most abstract art form and therefore it is the one best adapted to expressing and experiencing the spiritual dimension of life.

Schopenhauer leads Wagner to reevaluate his work and allows him to resolve the bitterness of the loss in faith in his earlier political ideals. Wagner moves beyond the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk and instead elevates the role of music in his remaining works - Tristan, Meistersinger, Parsifal and the remaining parts of the Ring cycle. Magee shows how the 3 great operas Tristan, Meistersinger, and Parsifal are all deeply tied into the ideas of Schopenhauer.

Schopenhauer and Wagner's political disillusionment posted a dilemma for the Ring cycle. The Ring cycle was originally meant to be the embodiment of the Gesamtkunstwerk and was also meant as socio-political allegory that would promote Wagner's socialist ideals. However, Magee shows that although on the surface the philosophy of Schopenhauer appeared to contradict Wagner's earlier beliefs, in actual fact many of these beliefs had been in Wagner's sub-conscious since a young man. Wagner was therefore able to eventually complete the Ring cycle without the need to change the earlier operas and with the ability to maintain a convincing musical and dramatic whole, nevertheless transforming the fundamental message of the work in the process:

"He may, years before, have written the libretto believing it to be an optimistic work in which a world-order based on lovelessness, power, money and chicanery was seen to be overthrown and replaced by a new order based on love, but he was now quite sure that what his artistic intuitions had rightly done instead was to produce a pessimistic work in which one loveless order was replaced by another, thus showing violence and betrayal to be perennial in the world, and any abiding rule of love unattainable; a work in which all world-orders are seen to go down to irretrievable ruin. The optimist who was the younger Wagner had composed the work up to the point where a new era of hope is expected to dawn. Now the mature Wagner, a pessimist, would compose the rest, showing how this hope is betrayed and the new era goes down in the same destruction as the old."

The final two chapters of the book are devoted to Nietzsche and anti-semitism. Of the great philosophers covered in the book, Nietzsche is unique, because he was a philosopher who greatly influenced Wagner, but instead he was himself hugely influenced by his relationship with Wagner.

Magee does not regard anti-semitism as a valid school of philosophy, but he addresses it in the final chapter, because Magee feels that Wagner's anti-semitic reputation is so damaging that it over shadows the greatness of Wagner's work.

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