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Sid Nuncius (London)
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Haydn: String Quartets Op.50 Nos.4-6 by The Lindsays (2008) Audio CD
Haydn: String Quartets Op.50 Nos.4-6 by The Lindsays (2008) Audio CD
Offered by M&E Books-USA
Price: £20.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Fine quartets, well played, 18 Sep 2014
This, along with Op.50 Nos 1-3, is another very welcome re-release of two of the Lindsays' excellent series of Haydn recordings.

The Op. 50 Quartets haven't been recorded as much as some of Haydn's other sets, which I find hard to understand. I think they are just as good as any of Haydn's quartets - which makes them very good indeed. There is something of a Sturm und Drang feel about them in places, with an intense chromaticism cropping up even in some of the minuets, but Haydn's characteristic wit and good humour is never far away and these quartets are full of them, as well as being full of melody and brilliant harmonic invention. I love them.

The performances are very good. As so often with The Lindsays, they care more about interpretation than technical perfection so the ensemble playing isn't always as precise as it might be and there are a couple of the traditional Lindsays' moments of dodgy tuning. You also hear Peter Cropper sniffing from time to time, but I can easily live with all of this for the verve, depth, tenderness and sheer joy they bring to the music and I find their interpretations completely engrossing.

The recorded sound is very good and the notes detailed and interesting, and I warmly recommend both discs. The only recording I know which I like as much as this one is by the Angeles Quartet, and that is only available as a part of their compete cycle. For a really good recording you can't go wrong with this one, I'd say.


By Malcolm Mackay The Sudden Arrival of Violence: The Glasgow Trilogy Book 3
By Malcolm Mackay The Sudden Arrival of Violence: The Glasgow Trilogy Book 3
by Malcolm Mackay
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant conclusion to The Glasgow Trilogy, 18 Sep 2014
This is the concluding volume in Malcolm MacKay's excellent Glasgow Trilogy and it maintains the brilliance of the preceding two. It is comprehensible if you haven't read the previous two, but I would strongly recommend beginning with The Necessary Death Of Lewis Winter and How A Gunman Says Goodbye because the story and characters progress through all three to the climax here.

The story is of the Glasgow underworld and how different "organisations" manoeuvre for power between each other and within themselves. As before, we get the points of view of a number of characters which is a difficult trick to pull off but MacKay does it brilliantly, showing the way in which these things play out and the rapid changes in perspectives and loyalties as things change. He is so good at this that, slightly disturbingly, I found myself concerned for a cold-blooded gunman and wanting him to be safe. It's an excellent, exciting and thoughtful story, full of tension and insight and which avoids most of the clichés of the genre.

I find MacKay's style riveting. He writes mainly in short, staccato sentences. Not many adjectives. No similes or metaphors. It moves the action along. Builds the tension, too. You get the idea, and it's fantastically effective, I think. Despite the title, there isn't all that much graphic violence. What violence there is, is described in the same tone as the rest of the book which, to me, makes it exceptionally vivid and disturbing.

I was completely hooked on this as I have been on the previous two books. If you like a good crime novel (this is a lot more than a basic thriller) you'll probably love this and I recommend it very warmly indeed.


Rex Mundi Red Wine Shiraz Merlot 2012 75cl (Case of 12)
Rex Mundi Red Wine Shiraz Merlot 2012 75cl (Case of 12)
Offered by Laithwaites Wine
Price: £107.88

4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful southern French red, 18 Sep 2014
This is one of a growing number of red wines being produced in southern France in the more "ancient" style that has persisted in some places since Roman times. It is dark, powerfully fruity and with a slightly sweet tone, especially on the finish.

The marketing makes much of the sinful delights promised by the mediaeval god Rex Mundi after whom the wine is named, and the wine realy is rich, deep and powerful. If it's a style you like, this is a very good example of it. I like it (although not too often) but my wife hates it, so it's a matter of personal taste, but it's a very tasty, well-made wine which I can recommend.


Rex Mundi Red Wine Shiraz Merlot 2012 75cl (Case of 6)
Rex Mundi Red Wine Shiraz Merlot 2012 75cl (Case of 6)
Offered by Laithwaites Wine
Price: £53.94

4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful southern French red, 18 Sep 2014
This is one of a growing number of red wines being produced in southern France in the more "ancient" style that has persisted in some places since Roman times. It is dark, powerfully fruity and with a slightly sweet tone, especially on the finish.

The marketing makes much of the sinful delights promised by the mediaeval god Rex Mundi after whom the wine is named, and the wine realy is rich, deep and powerful. If it's a style you like, this is a very good example of it. I like it (although not too often) but my wife hates it, so it's a matter of personal taste, but it's a very tasty, well-made wine which I can recommend.


Mayday by Lady Maisery (2013) Audio CD
Mayday by Lady Maisery (2013) Audio CD
Offered by M&E Books-USA
Price: £22.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 18 Sep 2014
Gosh, this is good! I missed Lady Maisery's first album but I'm very glad I've caught up with them now. This is a remarkable album of really enjoyable music which is also full of passion, originality and political commitment.

The material is a mixture of traditional and new songs, all of which are excellent and beautifully performed. Instrumentation is restrained, well played and varied but the real point of Lady Maisery's music is their vocal performance. They sing wonderfully together in three part harmony producing a fabulous sound with some original harmonies. There's nothing clashingly harsh, but there is some innovative stuff here and the effect is terrific, really giving the songs depth and meaning. It's extremely impressive stuff.

All the songs have a traditional feel and style, even new and radical ones like the brilliant Palaces Of Gold, an a capella denunciation of social inequality. The whole album is a quality performance with real substance and genuine musical merit, as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

It is over 40 years since I began going to smoky folk clubs, dancing the Morris and so on. I drifted away from English folk music for a long time but have begun to return and am delighted to find it in the hands of so many excellent women. Maddy Prior, for example, is still making great albums 3 For Joy, people like the Unthanks are doing wonders to keep the traditions alive and a fabulous crop of women are producing things like Laylam Laylam and this album. It does a grumpy old git's heart good to see such quality and this album is among the best of it. Very warmly recommended.


Guitarra Espanola
Guitarra Espanola
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £32.95

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent reissue, 18 Sep 2014
This review is from: Guitarra Espanola (Audio CD)
This is an excellent and very welcome reissue of two recordings from the mid-1990s by the excellent Jose Miguel Moreno. They span four centuries of works for the Spanish guitar and its predecessor, the vihuela. It is a rich, diverse and extremely satisfying collection.

The earlier works by Luys de Narvaez and others on the vihuela are excellently done and rival Hopkinson Smith's brilliant recordings, which is really saying something. For me, though, the highlights of this set are the later classical and romantic works by the likes of Sor and Tarrega. Moreno seems really to come into his own here: they are magnificently played and the sound of his guitar is fabulous. I have some of these pieces played by the great Andres Segovia and while I wouldn't want to draw a parallel between Moreno (who is very good indeed) and Segovia (who was a towering genius), Moreno does play them extremely beautifully in his own way and the fantastic quality of the recorded sound on these discs makes the pieces really glow.

Anyone with any interest in guitar music will find an immense amount to enjoy here and I recommend this set very warmly.

(I would also recommend Moreno's excellent disc of de Visee's theorbo works: De Visee: Pieces de Theorbe)


HTC Desire 610 - Leather Wallet Flip Case Cover Pouch + Mini Touch Stylus Pen + Screen Protector & Polishing Cloth ( Black )
HTC Desire 610 - Leather Wallet Flip Case Cover Pouch + Mini Touch Stylus Pen + Screen Protector & Polishing Cloth ( Black )
Offered by BUYtoSAVE
Price: £2.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 17 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This isn't a flashy item, but for less than three quid, it's excellent value.

The leather is that PU leather, which is very heavily treated with polyurethane, but it looks and feels pretty good to me. The stitching is neatly done, the clasp holds well and the phone fits very nicely in the case. It is firmly held but can be removed without too much bother, the holes for the camera and so on are in the right place and all buttons and ports are accessible.

You also get a screen protector, a stylus and a polishing cloth, all of which are perfectly decent quality. Really, it's an excellent bundle for the price and if you want a nice looking, basic case to protect your Desire 610 I can recommend this.


Haydn: String Quartets Ops. 64/5, 76/2, 77/1 (Jerusalem Quartet)
Haydn: String Quartets Ops. 64/5, 76/2, 77/1 (Jerusalem Quartet)
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine playing, but..., 17 Sep 2014
I like this disc but I do have my reservations.

The music itself is wonderful, and particularly if you are looking for a sample of Haydn's finest quartets the programme alone is enough to commend this disc strongly. There are three Quartets here: the famous "Lark" (Op. 64 No.5), the "Fifths" (Op. 76 No.2) and the towering masterpiece which is Op.77 No.1. Each is given its own character by the Jerusalem Quartet and they play them very well.

Technically, the playing is excellent, with rock-solid intonation and extremely fine ensemble playing - their sheer accuracy in the scampering finale of The Lark, for example, is remarkable. The Jerusalem Quartet also bring real distinctness to each work with fabulous, soaring beauty in the opening of The Lark and powerful, dark passion in parts of The Fifths. However, I felt at times there was a little something lacking. For example, the finale of The Lark is spectacularly quick and quite exciting here but lacked that sense of real exuberant joy which Quatuor Ebene bring to it, and the sheer weight and passion the Jerusalem Quartet give to the dark, driving minuet of The Fifths was really arresting for a while but became a bit much when unrelieved for the whole movement which desperately needed the little leavening of lightness I find in Quatuor Mosaiques' interpretation.

Please don't let me put you off - these things are a matter of taste and there is no doubt that this is a disc of fabulous music, very well played. For me, though, Quatuor Ebene String Quartets (inc. Op. 64 No. 5 'the Lark' ) and Quatuor Mosaiques Haydn: String Quartets Vol. 2 - 6 Quartets Op. 64 / 6 Quartets Op. 76 / String Quartets Op. 77 & 103 are a better bet and I can only give this disc a somewhat qualified recommendation.


The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel by Black, Benjamin (2014) Hardcover
The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel by Black, Benjamin (2014) Hardcover
by Benjamin Black
Edition: Hardcover

2.0 out of 5 stars Blends with Chandler like a tarantula on a slice of angel food, 17 Sep 2014
I didn't get on with this book at all. It's partly my own fault - I love Chandler so there was always a risk that someone else trying to revive Marlowe wouldn't suit me at all, but I admire John Banville and thought he might be the man to do it. Sadly, he isn't

This is a decent enough detective story, but its narrator is simply not Marlowe. Banville has a crack at reproducing the distinctive, laconic narrative style, but it's not right at all, I'm afraid. Chandler was a truly great writer of English, in my view, and it would be unfair to criticise another writer for not reproducing his style exactly, but it seems to me that Banville hasn't let go sufficiently of his own style (which is excellent in its own way) to allow Marlowe to emerge in any sort of convincing form.

Banville and Chandler are both masters of description but in very different ways. For example, Banville's narrator in Ancient Light describes a character thus: "She really is of the most remarkable shape, and might have been assembled from a collection of cardboard boxes of varying sizes that were first left out in the rain and then piled soggily any old way one on top of another." Marlowe's description of Moose Molloy, however, begins, "He was a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck." They are two brilliant but wholly different styles. It seems that Banville can't quite subordinate his own style to Chandler's and the result is that Marlowe's dry, ironic voice is replaced by what reads like a pastiche of a deservedly forgotten 1950s English or Irish detective novel.

For example, very early on his client refuses to respond because Marlowe is looking out of the window. He says, '"Don't mind me,' I said, 'I stand at this window a lot, contemplating the world and its ways."' Well, Marlowe would stand at the window in that way, but he would never, ever, use the hackneyed and clumsy phrase "contemplating the world and its ways" and there are dozens of other similar examples. In just the next few pages he says "...if you consider Buckingham Palace a modest little abode," "... I didn't think I should light up in this lofty glass edifice," and so on. Little abode? Light up? Edifice? Not from Marlowe. And "I was bent on staying footloose and fancy free," is just stale cliché unworthy of either Banville or Chandler, quite apart from being utterly un-Marlowe. The tone is all wrong throughout, the snappy wit is replaced by plodding, clumsy irony and the voice - the absolutely vital element in Marlowe - doesn't ring true at all.

I'm sorry to be so critical of an author whom I admire and of a book which, as a crime novel, isn't bad, but trying to make it a Marlowe novel was a grave mistake, I'm afraid. To those of us who know and love Chandler's original books and have followed Marlowe as he scoops a drunk Terry Lennox off the sidewalk, causes Mr Lindsay Marriott to look as though he had swallowed a bee, throws Carmen Sternwood out of his bed and through a thousand other things, this simply won't do. Readers who don't know Chandler might enjoy the book, but if you know the originals my advice is to leave this one well alone.


CELEBRATION DAY STANDARD EDITION(2CD+DVD)
CELEBRATION DAY STANDARD EDITION(2CD+DVD)
Offered by samurai_media_JPN4UK
Price: £24.91

5.0 out of 5 stars A great live album, 17 Sep 2014
There has already been masses written and said about this album, and if you're looking at it you're almost certainly a Led Zeppelin fan of some sort and you'd want this album even if it wasn't all that good. Thankfully, it is good. Very good, in fact. The three surviving members plus John Bonham's son Jason still had the old magic even in 2007 when this concert took place, and this is a fine record of it.

I saw Led Zeppelin play live just once, at Earl's Court in the mid-70s. It was a great concert which I still remember with huge pleasure. Unsurprisingly, they have matured since then, but still generate a terrific atmosphere and perform a great set. Jimmy Page plays superbly and with a little more brevity and concision in his solos than of old, which to me is no bad thing. John Paul Jones reminds us what a very fine musician he is and Robert Plant still has a fantastic voice which he uses with real maturity. The power is still there when he needs it but there is a sensitivity and delicacy in places which, while there in Zeppelin's heyday, has matured into something very special.

The recorded sound is great, and it's a cracking live album which manages to capture the atmosphere as well as the band's performance, and a fine addition to Led Zeppelin's discography. Warmly recommended - but then, I bet you already knew you were going to buy it.


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