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Amazon Customer "hamble" (somewhere in west europe)

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Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas  (DECCA The Originals)
Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas (DECCA The Originals)
Price: £7.52

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gorgeous, 12 Jun. 2011
Andras Schiff can do no wrong. These Scarlatti sonatas are sublimely performed by a virtuoso who has the nimblest fingers with the finest touch. Listening to K115, Cantabile, and to K474, Andante e cantabile, and you are transported to ever-higher plateaux of ecstasy. Scarlatti himself was a truly fine composer of keyboard sonatas, many of which have more substance than those of the later Mozart.


Alpha Prime (PC)
Alpha Prime (PC)
Offered by PNA247
Price: £2.50

4.0 out of 5 stars an actually very entertaining romp, 7 Jun. 2011
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Alpha Prime (PC) (Video Game)
This was my original review:

A game this is not worth having if you have Windows 7. Even using "troubleshoot compatibility" and try to install on various previous versions of Windows it's still pretty much uninstallable. It is possible to play via the DVD itself, but because it will not install you cannot save games. There are also issues with the sound. There are no atmospherics and no sounds for the weopans, so if you fire a gun it sounds mute, and that's very offputting after a very short while. Also, in cuts scenes, you can hear other people speak, but when your character speaks you hear nothing. But you DO get to see subtitles, although they flash up for a microsecond and disappear before you can read more than a word (the dialogue appears cheesy, so maybe that's a good thing).

Ultimately, unplayable.

========================

However, since installing the patch, which is readily available via Google search, here is an updated review:

Yes, you can play in Windows 7. Just don't try to use "troubleshoot compatibility" as it messes the whole thing up. If you have done this already, then just completely delete the programme and reinstall it. Then install the patch. Now you can hear weopan sound effects and dialogue. You may wish you were not able to hear the dialogue as it is absolutely corny. Paolo, a character you mean early on, is a complete wuss, and speaks in an irritating Spanish or Italian accent in pigeon English. Imagine Jar Jar Binks, but in human form.

Anyway, the game is quite challenging. Its puzzles are easy to pick. Overall, it's a quite linear run through. With the patch installed the enemies are supposed to be easier to kill, and occasionally they can be a little sluggish, as if waiting for you to toast them, but at other times the sheer number of them gives them an advantage. And when they hit you, they DO do damage. I have always enjoyed games that put pounding rock music in when the action starts, and Alpha Prime gets it right here.

Advice: Use the hacker tool often. Especially with the loader. There is a part in the game when you have to compete with using the loader but are running out of oxygen. Hint: You can use the loader remotely.

Overall it's a very diverting romp through a quite gorgeously graphic environment. Worth a few pennies from your piggybank.


The Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters: From Mickey Mouse to Hercules
The Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters: From Mickey Mouse to Hercules
by John Grant
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars unputdownable, 5 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For those interested in Disney animation this book is a bible. Basically, it talks about, and shows pictures of, the characters of Disney's animated "actors" from Mickey Mouse right up to ... well, it depends on which edition you get. Mine is right up to those from "Basil, the Great Mouse Detective". There are later editions, but I admit to having very little interest in the more current animations, finding them cheesy and ingratiating.

Of particular interest are the highly informative articles by John Grant, who, notably, has also coedited an international encyclopaedia of geology (as per sleevenotes). I cannot vouch for that volume, but I can state that the Encyclopaedia of Disney Characters is easy to pick up, hard to put down.


Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-century English Tragedy
Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-century English Tragedy
by Malcolm Gaskill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one to read and to make your own mind up about, 5 Jun. 2011
This is a book that I began to read at least three times but gave up halfway through. Either I or the book has something lacking. However, it is certainly a scholarly read and will certainly be of interest to those who have a taste for 17th-century witch hunts. As an allegory to modern day witch-hunts (as some reviewers have suggested), the more discerning reader will probably think "crapperooney". Still, a very worthy book, and one that I may one day finish reading.


Condemned (PC)
Condemned (PC)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars parts genuinely nerve-tingling, 4 Jun. 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Condemned (PC) (Video Game)
I was very impressed with this game.

Some parts of it were so genuinely scary that I got goosepimples whilst playing. I'm thinking particularly of the swimming pool and the orchard house.

However, to get to these places you have to go through some quite mundane stuff. But the wait is definitely worth it. There have been two particular moments when I squealed like a little piggy. Overall, it's the atmosphere, coupled with the excellent soundscape, that pulls you in, making you both WANT to go on, and want NOT to go on.

Truly, it's the latter stage of this game that absolutely make it worth playing, and, having just completed it, I found it absolutely riveting, engrossing, atmospheric, and, graphically, quite gorgeous. True, it was quite linear (you follow the lead and you end up where you're meant to) and the weapons DO have faults (in real life it probably WOULD be difficult to kill a demon with a floorboard), but the overall experience really was engrossing, nerve-wracking and involving.

A pity, in the end, that Condemned 2 was not released for the PC market. I would dearly love to have played it.

N.B. I rated the game 4/5 stars overall because of the weapons. However, as I've said, if you have to rely on using what weapons you find - planks of wood, pipework, crowbars and sledgehammers - then this "realism" could even be a strength.


Brahms: Complete Trios
Brahms: Complete Trios
Price: £5.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gut-wrenchingly and heart-meltingly gorgeous, 23 May 2011
This review is from: Brahms: Complete Trios (Audio CD)
In all honesty, these performances by the Beaux Arts Trio are simply stunning. Each player brings a wealth of virtuosity to the fore - a definitive example of Gestalt - the whole is definitely worth more than the sum of its parts. These pieces are pure Brahms - the true bridger of the Classical and Romantic traditions. And proof also, if proof be needed, that Brahms was ever more comfortable with chamber emsembles than with others. The opening piece, Piano Trio in B flat major, has the capacity to melt the stoniest of hearts. And it doesn't stop there. Prepare your guts, for they will be wrenched.

Needless to say, the Beaux Arts Trio pull out all the stops. They cannot do any wrong. I dispute the earlier review. I have listened to the Horn Trio, following the score. I cannot find any "fluffed" notes. In fact, my admiration of the player is increased. The horn in E flat is notoriously difficult to play, yet here the tone is mellow, the notes are sustained, the pitch is accurate, and the interpretation is spot-on. Listen with your own ears and see if I'm wrong.

I haven't heard any other recordings of Brahms' trios, but after this, I'm not even sure I want to.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2013 10:16 AM GMT


Imperial Bedrooms
Imperial Bedrooms
by Bret Easton Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars black, grim, engrossing, 6 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Paperback)
Good points. Yes, it's a pageturner. I want to find out what happens next. Usually it's not very much at all, but still, it's written in gorgeous prose and with almost no grammatical errors, and I want to keep on reading (and that's a rarity these days when Kate Mosse and Alice Sebold exist). It's up-to-date. The references to current celebs are hip and out there. The dialogue is believable, most of the time. I'm prepared to believe that Holywood is filled with people who are THAT vapid, THAT self-obsessed, THAT shallow, THAT uninterested.

Bad points. Chapters are too short. Actually, the book appears to be one long chapter, broken up into sections, which are usually about half a page long, and usually a scene develops only to be cut off mid-thrust: just when I'm wanting more I'm left wanting. This is either a very clever literary device or evidence of a lazy writer. Who knows? All-in-all, the book has little of the humour that "American Psycho" has. That book is absolutely hilarious and very cleverly written. The humour in "Imperial Bedrooms", although still there, is less evident.

One worth reading. But could've been better.

However, I hope this isn't the end of Queen B.E.E. - I hope he keeps on writing.


Piano Concerto No. 2 (Temirkanov, Rpo, Fowke)
Piano Concerto No. 2 (Temirkanov, Rpo, Fowke)
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £12.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the finest recordings out there, 28 April 2011
This won't be one of the most well known performances of these two of Rachmaninov's most well loved works, but it truly stands up against the rest. Fowke's performance is note perfect and his interpretation is intensely beautiful. Nothing is rushed for the sake of just playing fast; tempi are perfectly judged. And the orchestra is spot on too. This is a performance to fall in love with.


Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No 2 - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No 2 - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.76

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the finest recordings out there, 6 April 2011
This won't be one of the most well known performances of these two of Rachmaninov's most well loved works, but it truly stands up against the rest. Fowke's performance is note perfect and his interpretation is intensely beautiful. Nothing is rushed for the sake of just playing fast; tempi are perfectly judged. And the orchestra is spot on too. This is a performance to fall in love with.


An Evening With Leopold Stokowski (Brussels Philharmonic / Richard Egarr)
An Evening With Leopold Stokowski (Brussels Philharmonic / Richard Egarr)
Price: £15.87

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gorgeous tribute to the maverick conductor, 4 April 2011
Any new recordings of Stokowski's transcriptions will inevitably be gobbled up by greedy ears.

This recording is just such one. It is surprising well recorded, and the orchestra and conductor are surprisingly agreeable.

Pleasant massages for the ears include the Cesti, the Ockeghem and (obviously) the Bach. The famous Toccata and Fugue are well represented in other recordings, but this version more than holds its own.

Pour a glass of vodka and cheap cola with plenty of ice and enjoy.


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