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Vaughan Williams:Symphonies Nos.8 & 9
Vaughan Williams:Symphonies Nos.8 & 9
Offered by tastytunes4less
Price: £14.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vaughan Williams 9th with grandeur, 1 July 2013
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Vaughan Williams' 9th symphony is one of the great works of the 20th century, but has largely been the preserve of British conductors, so I was fascinated to hear what Haitink makes of it.

The immediately noticeable thing is that Haitink uses considerably slower tempi than any of the other performances I've heard (live and recorded) - right from the start to the final crescendos. This does seem to give extra weight to the opening movement, although it is perhaps a little ponderous in the 2nd movement where the alternation between the theme played on the flugelhorn and the "menacing pack" could do with a bit more urgency. The scherzo comes across very clearly, particularly the complex counterpoint between the 3 saxophones.

Haitink is a renowned conductor of Bruckner - and I think he draws out the curious parallels between Bruckner and Vaughan Williams in the final movement. Once again, he makes what is complex and often highly dissonant music come across with clarity and a firm purpose, pushing to those final three mighty crescendos in E major.

Certainly a very different reading than I've been used to, but he makes a convincing case for his vision of this great masterpiece. The recording is also very clear, with a good balance between the instruments, which helps pick out the musical threads in what is at times a densely scored work.

Haitink's 8th symphony also uses generally slower tempi than other performances I've heard, but here is a performance I don't find at all convincing. RVW's 8th may be light hearted, but it is no trivial piece and it needs to be handled with care - in Haitink's case, it is simply too slow in the first and last movements. Ironically, the witty 2nd movement for wind instruments is taken at a wild pace - very fast indeed.

I find the recent recording of the 8th by Mark Elder and the Halle comes off far better.

Britain's Industrial Revolution: The Making of a Manufacturing People, 1700-1870
Britain's Industrial Revolution: The Making of a Manufacturing People, 1700-1870
by Barrie Stuart Trinder
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book on the Industrial Revolution in Britain, 1 July 2013
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This book has to be one of the most comprehensive and thoroughly researched surveys of the industrial revolution in Britain. It is a big book - over 650 pages - and it is stuffed with maps, diagrams, photographs, drawings and paintings, many of them contemporary with the events and places described in the text.

Every aspect of the industrial revolution is touched on - coal, cotton, iron & steel, woolens, engineering, railways, ceramics, roads, canals. All the regions of Britain are described, although there is a clear concentration on the developments in the English Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire since this is where a lot of the action took place. Wales, Scotland and Ireland all have their place - with the unearthly wilderness of the abandoned Parys Mountain copper mine on Anglesey a particularly memorable location.

The detail is impressive, with all kinds of records mined to give a full flavour of individual towns and wider districts. The census records shine a light on just how many people were engaged in particular jobs and trades, such as the canal barge folk shown engaged in their trade scattered across England, many miles from home. The sheer ferment of activity is vividly brought to light - with the myriad of small concerns shown alongside the larger and more famous companies and mills.

This remarkable and fascinating period in world history is made to live again in the pages of this book - and there are reminders of events, places and people that are almost forgotten in our 21st century.

I'd recommend every home to have a copy - you can use it as an excellent preparation for visiting the growing list of industrial heritage museums and preservations, such as Quarry Bank (Cotton) Mill, the superb set of locations around Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale, Crofton Beam Engines, the Great Western Society at Didcot and so on.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2015 9:22 AM BST

English Musical Renaissance, 1840-1940 (Music & Society)
English Musical Renaissance, 1840-1940 (Music & Society)
by Meirion Hughes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lets do Politics and never mind the music, 11 Jun. 2013
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The grinding of axes starts in the introduction and grows louder with each chapter. "That music and politics are intimately connected on many levels" seems to get elevated to a level where politics is seen as the only significant aspect of music. Add in a good dose of abstruse "academic" language (e.g. "diachronic"), and you are left with the impression of political posing on the part of the authors.

There is a good deal of historical research in this book, but when it deals with aspects which I know something about, I discover inaccuracies or the deliberate manipulation of facts to suit the thesis. This leaves me suspicious of the choice and the interpretation of all the other material.

Many of the axes are destined for the "pastoral" school of music of the 20th century - and aimed at the head of Vaughan Williams in particular. The trouble is, RVW is a musical genius and the authors seem better at their history & politics than they are with the music itself.

For example, there is an accusation that RVW is still derivative of German models (that seems to be based on the fact that he wrote symphonies!), but three of the works they discuss - "The Lark Ascending", "Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis" and "Serenade to Music" are unique and original in form and content - and highly popular to boot (to slay yet another of their claims about English music).

They also keep harping on about RVWs "Pastoral Symphony" as if it were about a day out in the country in the style of Beethoven's 6th Symphony. They don't seem able to get their heads around the idea that RVW wrote a kind of Elegy for the dead of the First World War - why else the natural trumpet call in the 2nd movement and the wordless soprano in the final movement?

They do seem troubled by RVW's 4th symphony - that certainly doesn't fit into any notion of "pastoral", but RVW has lots more in the locker that does not fit their simplistic view - the Piano Concerto, Symphonies 6, 7, 8 and 9 to name a few. But why spoil a good "political" tract?

Despite all the criticism in this book, British composers of the 20th century produced a lot of superb music - the music will be played and appreciated long after this book has been consigned to mouldering shelves.

Aubig 9W E27 White 112pcs LED 3528 SMD Corn Light Bulb Spotlight Energy Saving Lamp 220V
Aubig 9W E27 White 112pcs LED 3528 SMD Corn Light Bulb Spotlight Energy Saving Lamp 220V

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pathetic light output, 24 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought 2 of these on the basis of the claimed light output of "1568 - 1792 lm". If true, these lights would have been a good replacement for a 100W incandecent bulb. When they arrived, I discovered that the light output is more like a 40W incandescent.

So, the description supplied is totally misleading. My advice is not to buy anything from Aubig, since they appear to trade on the basis of misdescribing their products.

Also be advised that the product is shipped from China - mine took more than 2 weeks to arrive after ordering.


5.0 out of 5 stars Ditch your 50W Halogens now!!, 22 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these 24 SMD LED GU10s as replacements for 50W Halogens which have driven me crazy with their short lifespan and constant failures. I chose these since they offer the highest light output available and yet are less than £10 per unit.

In short, they do what they say on the tin - they are indeed as bright as a typical GU10 halogen, while consuming only 4.6W rather than 50W - noticeably cooler when standing near them. I chose "Warm White" since they were for a bedroom installation - and the colour balance is very good.

One feature, which I appreciate, is that they provide a wide spread of light rather than a concentrated beam, although this might not suit all uses.

To sum up - finally there is an LED GU10 that matches the 50W Halogen - time to upgrade. You should save the cost of purchase in (well) under 2000 hours of operation.

Wahl Ultima 7200 Men's Shaver Mains / Rechargeable ZX648
Wahl Ultima 7200 Men's Shaver Mains / Rechargeable ZX648

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Shaver - Thoroughly Recommend, 7 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I recently bought one of these to replace a previous Boots shaver whose battery had died.

The shave is excellent - close and quick - so close that you need to avoid applying too much pressure, just as with shaving with a blade. The head design is clean and simple and gets to all the spots on your face with ease (unlike my Boots shaver). The trimmer is a straightforward push-up design that is neatly out of the way until you need it, and which is very effective.

The shaver is light and it also plugs directly into a mains outlet without the need of a bulky transformer/plug. For me, a single charge lasts over two weeks, shaving every day. It can be used while plugged in and charging and it will charge up in an hour.

So, don't let the unfamiliar "Wahl" name put you off - this is a great piece of kit for a reasonable price that will keep you satisfied. Why buy anything else?

RESTful Web Services
RESTful Web Services
by Leonard Richardson
Edition: Paperback

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars RESTful but also Rubyful, 28 April 2008
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This review is from: RESTful Web Services (Paperback)
This is a good book on the principles of RESTful web services and a useful reminder of the principles of REST itself.

Clearly written with lots of examples. The authors are clearly passionate about REST and RESTful services and explain their viewpoint well.

However, at times, the passion spills over into polemics, which can distract.

For me, the worst aspect of the book is that the bulk of its examples are written in Ruby. I'm not very familiar with Ruby or Ruby on Rails - and Ruby syntax is hard to grasp for the uninitiated (ie me!). It also works some examples that depend on particular Ruby libraries that don't have counterparts in other languages.

It is particularly disappointing that there are not more examples in JavaScript, addressing the substantial Ajax community - Chapter 11 deals with "Ajax Applications as REST Clients" and covers useful ground, but it would be better to see more.

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