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Ribble "robert20661" (Scotland)

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Focal Chorus 714 V Floor-Standing Speakers - Black (Pair)
Focal Chorus 714 V Floor-Standing Speakers - Black (Pair)
Offered by Nintronics
Price: £379.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars astonishing value, 27 April 2013
I've had a pair of these speakers for three years and they just keep sounding better. But I paid £800 for them--at half that price this is a bargain not to be missed! I compared them in the shop with similarly priced Quads and B&Ws and the Focals had much more presence and impact, and more space round the sound. for the past few weeks I've been listening to the CDs from the Living Stereo box, and they sound fantastic. But my LP collection had already found a new life when listened to through these--detail, and base clarity, that I'd never heard before. And they also look good. Be prepared--they'll take a few weeks, if not months, of listening, to reach optimum quality.


Pavlova - Symphony No 1 & 3
Pavlova - Symphony No 1 & 3
Price: £6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars a modern Romantic spirit, 20 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Alla Pavlova was a Spotify discovery for me, and all credit to Naxos for making all her symphonies available. Although she's lived in the West since before the fall of Communism, her music is firmly in that nostalgic, post-Romantic vein of which Silvestrov's Fifth symphony is probably the best-known example.

Time will tell if I find the appeal of these works wearing off, but after a couple of hearings I respond to them enthusiastically. The first is imaginatively scored for just eleven instruments, while the Third is more epic in scale. I don't mean it as a criticism to compare its emotional impact to that of Kamen's 'Band of Brothers' score or indeed the best passages of Shore's 'Lord of the Rings' music. For some its harmonies may be just too sweet, but for me there's a directness and honesty that ensures this music is never simply lush.


Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers [Previous Generation]
Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers [Previous Generation]

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How to sabotage good technology, 20 April 2013
The Kindle Fire was recommended to me by a user, and at first glance it looked like just what I needed. But I ended up handing it back to the store for a refund after just 24 hours. The restrictions by which free books can only be accessed by the Amazon Prime account is a hidden cost which ought to be illegal, and made the device useless from my point of view as I wanted to be able to borrow e-books from our public library.

We'd been told by the shop assistant that it could be tethered to a smart phone, but that turns out not to be the case, unless you're some kind of ubergeek, and living in the Highlands of Scotland, and travelling a lot, that hugely reduces its usefulness for me for accessing the Internet.


Living Stereo Collection
Living Stereo Collection
Price: £64.61

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never surpassed, 19 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This set far exceeded my expectations and at any price under £100 it is an astonishing bargains. Containing some of the earliest commercial stereo recordings ever released, it also features benchmark performances of classic repertoire which have rarely if ever been surpassed. Whether you're taking your first steps in classical music, or looking for a fresh take on old favourites, this is not to be missed. Even the novelty items--marches, Mario Lanza, the opening sampler, are all a good listen at least once.


Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich
by Johannes Grave
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a high watermark in book production, 26 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Caspar David Friedrich (Hardcover)
This sumptuous volume is a treat from start to finish (though best read in short bursts, due to its size and weight!). Sure, the text is a bit solemn and plodding at times, but it's also very well researched, insightful, and at times revelatory about the influences on Friedrich, who turns out to have been a surprisingly late developer. The illustrations are simply magnificent, to the point where some of the enlarged full-page and double-page spreads almost improve on the experience of seeing the originals (which are mostly small, and behind glass, and sometimes poorly lit, or in crowded galleries). I've rarely come across an art book which so completely transforms my view of a favourite artist, or which has been designed with such care and artistry. Worth every penny, especially at Amazon's discounted rate.


Killing the Emperors (Baroness Troutbeck Robert Amis)
Killing the Emperors (Baroness Troutbeck Robert Amis)
by Ruth Dudley Edwards
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.65

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a major disappointment, 26 Jan 2013
I just couldn't force my way through this, short though it is. I've enjoyed all the previous novels in this series, where the satire on 'political correctness' has often been deliciously double-edged, and the humour has been dry and intelligent.

This late entry to the series, sadly,reads like poor fan fiction. Ruth Dudley Edwards uses the first long chapter to mount a series of wholly unironic and unambiguous attacks on 'real' artists and curators, from Damien Hirst to Nick Serota. No matter how much some of these figures may, or may not, merit such criticism, a novel is not the place for it. Thereafter (presumably to avoid libel) they are largely replaced by fictional equivalents whose 'art' bears no relation to anything I've come across (and contemporary art is part of my job). Unfunny, uninteresting, badly written. Read all the others, but give this a miss.


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Neat and unfussy, 11 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My old trimmer had to be replaced as the rechargeable battery had died. So this is a great improvement as it works on replaceable AAA batteries. It's also half the size and half the weight of the old one, so much better for carrying around in a toilet bag. And being able to rinse it under the tap is also a big advantage. On the down side, with a smaller cutting head, trimming takes a bit longer, and the lowest setting is still too long to give you that 'two day stubble' look, if that's what you want.


The Masters of Music
The Masters of Music
Offered by Music-Shop
Price: £136.88

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a musical lucky bag, 15 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Masters of Music (Audio CD)
I'm only one fifth of the way through listening to this mammoth collection, but wanted to give it the four stars it merits while the price is still only £28! Already in the first 20 discs there have been some delectable classics: the Menuhin/Furtwangler Bartok 2, Gulda in Beethoven 1, Gould in Beethoven 3, and very fine performances of all four Brahms concertos. And some real surprises, such as the almost unknown violinist Gerhard Taschner in an impressive version of the Beethoven concerto with the young Solti. Of course there have also been some duff items--a very poor transfer of the famous Koussevitsky/Primrose 'Harold in Italy' and a live Beethoven 4 showing just how technically erratic Edwin Fischer could be. Most of the performances date from the early days of tape/LP, and not all the transfers are of the clearest, but then alternative versions of any one performance could cost as much as this whole set!

One doesn't expect notes at this price, but a few more details on provenance would have been helpful--original release numbers, or location of live performances, for instance. But overall this set is likely to give plenty of satisfaction for such a modest investment.


Kraken
Kraken
by China Miéville
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2.0 out of 5 stars Have you got a sick squid?, 16 Jun 2012
This review is from: Kraken (Paperback)
This is the first Mieville novel I've read, and it wasn't what I'd expected, as it's a romp, a parody, and a self-indulgence. As well as the presiding geniuses of Lovecraft and Wyndham, 'Kraken' is made up of an ill-digested mix of Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Charles Williams, Iain Sinclair, Peter Ackroyd, and anyone else who's written a fantastic or magical-realist novel about London. Even Harry Potter's in there. It's repetitive, at least 100 pages too long, and often downright silly. I'd rather lost interest in the flat characters about two-thirds in, but I read to the end to see if he'd manage to pull it all together. He didn't, and ends in more of a whimper than a bang, despite the frenetic over-writing. I might try another Mieville, but I wouldn't recommend anyone else to start with this one.


Rome
Rome
by Robert Hughes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.70

13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a potboiler, sadly, 14 Aug 2011
This review is from: Rome (Hardcover)
Robert Hughes has written some of the best books I've ever read: 'The Fatal Shore', 'Barcelona', 'Goya' and many more. So it saddens me to admit that I gave up on 'Rome' before the end of the first chapter--so many errors, so much lazy research, so little focus. For example, if this is a cultural history of Rome, the city, why do we need a detailed account of the Punic Wars, which so many other authors have done better? Mary Beard's excellent review in 'The Guardian' recommended skipping the whole of the first 200 pages. I decided to skip the lot. This looks like a potboiler, produced to satisfy a publisher's whim. But if so, surely that publisher should at least have checked that the facts were correct.


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