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John Sheldon (Herefordshire, England)
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black dinosaurs fabric by Robert Kaufman (per 0.5m multiple)
black dinosaurs fabric by Robert Kaufman (per 0.5m multiple)
Offered by modes4u
Price: £6.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Fabric by Robert Kaufman (Dinosaur design), 12 Oct 2013
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black dinosaurs fabric by Robert Kaufman (per 0.5m multiple)
This material has nice bright colours and is in keeping with the images on the Amazon site. It was a delight to work with (said my wife). We ordered it via Amazon from the Hong Kong site, which at first gave a long delivery schedule but the fabric arrived much sooner than expected and was well packaged.
The fabric was used to make an out-of-doors sit-upon for a child by adding a water proof backing and internal quilting. It was well suited to this purpose


DIGIFLEX 32Bit PCMCIA USB 2.0 4 Port Hub Cardbus for Laptop
DIGIFLEX 32Bit PCMCIA USB 2.0 4 Port Hub Cardbus for Laptop
Offered by Digiflex
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Converting one USB 1 port to four USB 2 ports, the easy way., 8 Aug 2011
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Goods did not arrive, but a replacement was sent immediately by Digiflex without fuss. The item, a Trixes USB 2.0 Cardbus, works perfectly. It has converted an old laptop with only one USB 1 port into a much more usable machine with four USB 2 ports. All this at a low price! It will only work on a laptop that has a slot and at least one existing USB port. (The picture makes it clear what kind of slot I mean). A wire (supplied) runs from the old USB port into the Cardbus. Once fullly plugged in, my Windows XP software found and 'installed' a suitable driver automatically. The mouse now performs with more accuracy and alacrity, and I am getting a very fast Internet connection using a NetGear USB 2 Wireless adapter. The 'build' of the Trixes Cardbus is ok, although I think it could be damaged with rough handling. If you could get one 'built like a tank' it would probably cost much more.


Chopin: Abbey Simon
Chopin: Abbey Simon
Price: £11.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abbey Simon plays Chopin Sonatas, Ballades, Scherzi, Impromptus, 30 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Chopin: Abbey Simon (Audio CD)
This recording of Chopin's music played by Abbey Simon is one I am sorry not to have had before. The recorded sound of the piano is rather old-fashioned, but not unpleasant and the ear soon adjusts. At least it is not so far `forward' you feel as though you are inside the piano! Abbey Simon is a brilliant pianist who seems to play to you like a friend rather than a top-heavy virtuoso. In fact there is a little humming going on occasionally which rather makes you feel as if you had been invited around to his house for a social and he had decided to entertain you with a little playing in friendly, cosy surroundings.
His virtuosity cannot be in any doubt however. He negotiates the difficult passages in the B minor scherzo and elsewhere with ease but without flippancy or gloss - he is a serious artist whose interpretative skills are also impressive - he plays with a round rather than a hard sound in the more `massive' parts (listen to the first chords in the Barcarolle!) and has a superbly delicate touch in, for example, the 4th Scherzo and the Berceuse.
There are one or two places where I would prefer an adjustment to his playing, for example I find the 2nd movement of the B minor Sonata too fast, reminding me of an old piano-roll version and he seems to take rather a large liberty with Chopin's volume instructions in the `Funeral March' in the B flat minor Sonata; also, I am less happy with his approach to the Scherzo No 2 which I find too emphatic in the middle. But in this two disc set these are the pretty much the only places where I am less than delighted.

The Ballade in F is wonderful, he avoids any over-slow pondering in the quiet parts letting the music move and flow, grow and develop, and eventually storm. There is a similar sense of growth in his carefully paced approach to the great F minor Ballade, which culminates in a thrilling, un-hysterical climax of great power in his hands, never losing the crispness and spacious clarity that are such a feature of his playing.
Works of a less grand nature are also included on this record, i.e. the four Impromptus. It is to Mr Simon's great credit that all of these, including the famous `Fantasie Impromptu' have clearly received as much interpretative thought and preparation as the big Sonatas and Ballades.


Copland: The Music of America
Copland: The Music of America
Price: £16.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Copland Appalachian Spring and other American Classics - Cincinnati Pops Orchestra - Telarc, 30 Oct 2010
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I listened to this Telarc recording of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra playing Copland several times before embarking on this review: having lived for 30 years with Bernstein's 1961 New York Philharmonic recording (first on LP, latterly on the Sony `Bernstein Century' CD series) there was a danger that the familiar version had assumed canonical status in my mind. In fact, my comparison of the two has revealed highlights and shortcomings both ways.
Turning to Appalachian Spring first, the only real disappointment for me in the Telarc version is the first minute: whatever it is that Bernstein's version evokes in that wonderful opening (which cannot be expressed in words) is missing. However, the Telarc version otherwise compares well. The tight flute vibrato that (for me) mars the earlier release is replaced by a steady, smooth tone, and the Shaker theme and variations benefit from the excellent late 20th century recording technique as against Bernstein's very good 1961 technology. I also feel that the passages just before the Shaker section and just after it leading to the end of the piece, have more sense of `direction' in the Telarc version: the music seems to move positively to the Shaker theme, and after the variations the music does sound as if it is drawing to a close (whereas Bernstein's account, for me, seems a little lost at those two points). Elsewhere in this piece, both of these interpretations and performances seem to me to be equally excellent.
The Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo are excellent on Telarc, with the Hoe Down slightly slower than Bernstein's and all the more effective for that. The recording quality in Rodeo, Quiet City and Billy the Kid is clear and realistic throughout on Telarc.
The Telarc CD includes the Fanfare for the Common Man in its original form; a very good recording with effective, if slightly dry, drums, but not so stunning as my old LP of Ormandy with the Philadelphia Orchestra on CBS. (The Sony `Bernstein Century' release has a version of the Fanfare, clipped from the 3rd Symphony, which I cannot recommend.)
Assuming that Appalachian Spring is the most likely reason for looking at this Telarc CD, I have to say that I still find Bernstein's 1961 NYP version intensely moving (and me an Englishman!) for reasons that seem to defy explanation. I am very pleased to own both the Telarc and the Bernstein, but would be reluctant to recommend one of these over the other individually.


Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111 - 2. Arietta (Adagio molto semplice e cantabile)
Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111 - 2. Arietta (Adagio molto semplice e cantabile)

4.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven Sonata opus 111 played by Wilhelm Kempff, 30 Oct 2010
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My reason for choosing this recording of Beethoven's Piano Sonata opus 111 was Kempff's performance of the second (the last) movement. Unlike some pianists, he plays the theme in a steady, not too slow `long-short-long' rhythm exactly as written and without pulling it around; by so doing he rationalises Beethoven's increasing insistence on that rhythm in the first three variations; and he obeys Beethoven's instruction that the pulse be steady through the theme and those variations (i.e. there is no speeded-up `playing to the gallery' in variation 3 in Kempff's version).
More generally: This is now an old recording, the piano sound is open and in high relief which may be regarded by some as a `dated'sound; Kempff is not so slick technically as many younger generation pianists and there is a little clumsiness here and there; he keeps the expression and volume range under tight control, the climax before the glorious return of the second movement theme is less than thunderous but this makes the true climax later on all the more effective; this is an expressive and profound interpretation that seems to favour the view that Beethoven's music is `mighty' rather than `powerful' (subtle difference).
Above all, there is a feeling that you are listening to a fine musician who understands the music, loves and respects the received text, and is able to communicate its message honestly and earnestly.


Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 130; Grosse Fuge, Op. 133
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 130; Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Late Beethoven String Quartets - Grosse Fugue - Recommended Recording, 22 Sep 2010
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The simplest way to express my views on this recording of Beethoven's opus 130 string quartet (with the Grosse Fugue) by the Cleveland Quartet, is to say that I was so impressed I immediately ordered their complete set. I realised straight away that listening to their versions would bring me even closer into the mind of this endlessly fascinating composer.
I have never heard such a clear, logical yet entirely musical and dedicated recording of the Grosse Fugue (which is the intended, original final movement of opus 130) - yes, to be honest I actually found myself really enjoying it for (probably) the first time as a piece of music rather than 'tackling' something I was duty bound to 'accept' as a difficult piece. Beethoven liked it, so I am closer to him indeed.
But that is not the only reason this version can be recommended - there are other 'difficulties' for the listener in this music like the phrases in the first movement that keep leading towards a climactic note before suddenly dying away; the Cleveland Quartet do this without any fussiness at all, no undue attention is called to it - and it works!
In the various contrasting movements Beethoven has written passages of thin tone and passages of glorious full quartet sound, and these are all captured very well by Telarc. The 'cello does not seem to have been unduly 'boosted' (as I suspect is the case in some other recordings) but still manages to be heard; its low notes at the very start are rich indeed.
Do I need to mention intonation? Well, if I were unbelievably picky there are perhaps two slightly suspicious notes - but let's not be picky, this is a very fine recording of what was obviously a very accomplished string quartet, and it is a privilege to be able to learn from and enjoy their many years of experience with these sometimes elusive but nevertheless very satisfying works.


Cable Mountain 1m High Quality Gold Plated 2x Phono to 2x Phono RCA Cable
Cable Mountain 1m High Quality Gold Plated 2x Phono to 2x Phono RCA Cable
Price: £3.95

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effectively added £££($$$)s to my HiFi system., 24 Sep 2009
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I bought this cable because I noticed that the 'bundled' CD to amplifier cable that came with my CD player was conspicuously thinner than the ones from the tape and LP decks. Having not too long ago invested in better amplifier to speaker cables, I decided to try the same with the CD to amplfier connection. Bingo! My system sounds much better! I know people say that these improvements are only 'in the mind' or that 'only scientific instruments can measure the difference' but no, that is not the case here. Just one example - I have some string quartet CDs where the violin has always sounded a little 'hard' and I had put this down to the analogue to digital, or LP to CD, transfer process, or to inadequacies in the original, oldish, recording techniques. But now, with the new cable, the hardness is gone, yet none of the clarity, depth or range of expression has been lost!
The cables feel good and well made, and inspire confidence (yes, this is to some extent subjective) and the plugs fit firmly and positively into my HiFi equipment (this is a fact).
1 Metre High Quality Gold Metal Plug 2x Phono to 2x Phono RCA Cable


The Odyssey of Homer
The Odyssey of Homer
by Homer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homer's Odyssey Lives On, 24 Sep 2009
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This review is from: The Odyssey of Homer (Paperback)
This is not a new translation, the translator Richard Lattimore died a few years ago, but it is one of the best blank verse translations I have ever read (the other really good one is by Francis Caulfeild, but you would be lucky to find a copy now). The translator has attempted to reproduce in English blank verse the style and idiom of Homer's original Greek version (dating from about 2600 years ago). I am not qualified to comment on the technicalities of Lattimore's Greek-English translation, but I have been enjoying The Odyssey in English translations for several decades now and know a 'good read' when I find one.
There is a very good introduction which, yes, gives the plot away, but that does not matter as Homer's original audience knew the story well anyway - what made Homer's Odyssey so good was the way he told it; and in essence it is the same thing that makes Lattimore's translation so good - there is a freshness that keeps you reading, and although I have read a number of different versions, each of them several times, this book is still compulsive reading. The introdction also covers the construction of the story, which starts halfway through, then fills in the earlier events like a 'flashback' before continung to the end (yes, Homer thought of this way of telling a story long before our current film/TV industry did).
There is an exhaustive and very helpful glossary, mostly concerning the identities of the numerous people and gods who appear or are referred to in the story.
Yes, this is a recommended book to anyone who wants something a bit more demanding than airport pulp fiction and who can be patient with and open to the idiosyncracies of a very old, and comparatively expansive, writing style.
The "Odyssey" of Homer (P.S.)


Sviatoslav Richter - In Memoriam
Sviatoslav Richter - In Memoriam
Price: £11.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Celebration of a Wonderful Pianist, 12 Mar 2009
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This Deutsche Grammophon compilation is an excellent celebration of the talents of the great pianist Sviatoslav Richter. In keeping with his own approach, the choice of music demonstrates that there is much more to piano virtuosity than the ability to play fast and loud. He could do this, of course, but here we also experience his phenomenal control over the `colour' of each note (the Bach D minor prelude) his poise (the Debussy Estampes) and his intellectual grasp of structure (the Chopin F minor Ballade which also superbly demonstrates his ability to make the piano roar, whisper or sing).
The discs are compiled from various recording sessions 1959 to 1965, so there are some variations in the recorded sound but this is mostly a pleasant, moderately liquid hall acoustic, a bit drier in the Bach. Some of the recordings are of `live' performances so there is some audience noise; but as live concerts were this pianist's preferred medium, it is in keeping with the spirit of the discs to accept it.
After a generous helping of Rachmaninoff's Preludes, the collection ends with a brief journey into Prokofiev's Visions Fugitives; my only real grouse with this release is that there is not more of the Prokofiev.


Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
Price: £7.00

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good CD of Benjamin Britten's orchestral music, 12 Mar 2009
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The cover of this disc of Britten's music highlights the `Young Persons' Guide to the Orchestra' which is a set of variations on a tune by Henry Purcell, each variation designed to demonstrate particular orchestral instruments, and EMI have reproduced the various instrumental sounds convincingly. The `cellos and double basses have swopped places with the 2nd violins, so the lower strings are heard from your LH speaker. I am still not convinced by this seating arrangement for recordings, but in the violins' variation you hear the 1st violins to your left, the 2nd violins to your right, which may actually be what the composer wanted. The recording is pure music, without the spoken commentary sometimes used.
Although this CD is marketed highlighting the `Guide' it contains other pieces at least as interesting and possibly in the long run more rewarding; and they all demonstrate Britten's brilliant use of orchestral instruments again clearly recorded by EMI. The Canadian Carnival is a colourful, often lively romp using Canadian folk tunes and the American Overture is equally vibrant but with a wider emotional range. The English Folk Tune Suite has superb use of orchestral instruments in a more intimate setting. The Sinfonia da Requiem is the weightiest work on the disc, its wide dynamic range kept user friendly for domestic use by EMI, but without losing the drama and emotional intensity that Rattle draws from the CBSO.
This disc is recommended as a good performance and recording of a variety of pieces, which despite their differences explore and celebrate the sounds of the orchestra.
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