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Peter Street (West Midlands)

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Bizet: Carmen
Bizet: Carmen
Offered by Red-Jet Movies Music & More
Price: 20.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Optimism, 11 July 2014
This review is from: Bizet: Carmen (Audio CD)
Nice that all these reviewers have found such variety and satisfaction from performers ranging across the world in a disc whose image includes a cast with Djanel Albanese and Jobim conducted by Beecham and listed next to the image by Amazon as having been conducted by Karajan. Did they know? And does Amazon know what you will be sent if you buy it?


Das Lied Von der Erde
Das Lied Von der Erde

1.0 out of 5 stars Don't., 7 July 2014
This review is from: Das Lied Von der Erde (Audio CD)
The star is for the situation Amazon UK (the most customer centred company in the known universe) has put the potential buyer in here. The image offers the famous Horenstein Manchester performance of Das Lied. One reviewer seems to think what you will buy is that. The other review, very informative, refers to a completely different performance in every respect, of the (or a - Riehn perhaps) CHAMBER version. Whatever comes through the post, this is sloppy marketing for the four market place partners. They should get their solicitor'sletters in the post now.


Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and His Worlds (Yale Center for British Art)
Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and His Worlds (Yale Center for British Art)
by T. J. Barringer
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Triumph of cataloguing. Engineering failure., 4 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Marvellously compiled exhibition catalogue of which Belisario, a transatlantic artist, as a Jew more emancipated in Jamaica after 1832 than Britain, and very much a worker to his market in both countries is really more of a centrepiece than a subject. An entire publication of his is reproduced in the middle of the catalogue which is itself a vital document of Jamaican folklore. and a representation of a side of Jamaican life which caught the imagination, even in slavery, of even the new arrivals to help run the oppressive system which, for most of the period covered here, was, partly from fear and partly from declining profits struggling to reassert itself through the pretence of 'apprenticeship', a transition to a free labour market set up to appease the plantocracy and terminated when it became unsustainable poltically. I've hardly scratched the surface. Belisario himself produced work which reflected his times, but it is set in as near as possible a comprehensive a reflection of what art buyers saw in the Jamaica of the early nineteenth century, including some, though for abolitionists of his time, not enough, of the dark side. The scholarly support is led by background essays from Stuart and Catherine Hall. Who better? But these prices are geared to libraries who didn't get it in the year of publication, 2007, for which the exhibition was Yale's contribution to the commemoration of the abolition of the British Slave trade. (Slavery had more than half a century still to go in the US and even in Jamaica full emancipation can only be claimed from the ending of apprenticeship in 1838). And what buyers will get is a very chancily engineered volume whose small print and large size demand robust approaches to reading, unless you have a lectern. And the binding is too shoddy to sustain them. Best go to a library which bought it at its original price.


Lili Kraus and Szymon Goldberg, Vol.3
Lili Kraus and Szymon Goldberg, Vol.3

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 26 Jun 2014
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I knew the Op 96 here from the original 78s. There are only two others worth hunting down - Szigeti and Schnabel, and Busch and Serkin. This is better recorded than either and both absorbing and moving. The cassette transfer I made of the 78s snapped and I couldn't repair it. Nor could I make another. But this is as good a transfer as you could ask for. And a near ideal duo in these works. Don't waste time reading this review - get it while you can and play it.


Wagner Der Ring Des Nibelungen:teatro Alla Scala: Wilhelm Furtwangler (UK Import)
Wagner Der Ring Des Nibelungen:teatro Alla Scala: Wilhelm Furtwangler (UK Import)

5.0 out of 5 stars The Ring, 26 Jun 2014
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I'm trusting the seller beacuse I haven't played it yet, but I knew the Rheingold and Gotterdammerung already, so if the pressings are playable I think I'm OK. I know this Ring from another source, Gebhardt, which is a bit too well-scrubbed. Rheingold was the least well recorded -matters improved a lot over the cycle. There are cuts in Siegfried, not elsewhere. But what you get, on the whole, is the best of Furtwangler's unique conducting. Gotterdammerung is extraordinarily gripping throughout. The accumulation of tension in the staged performance leaves the Rome Furtwangler set standing - and not just tension. The tempi are stage tempi. The Rome set was a concert performance recorded twice, so furtwangler got to choose what was eventually broadcast. It had Modl - not negligeable, but not a great Brunnhilde. This has Flagstad - admittedly in the autumn of her career, but what an autumn! It also has a good Loge and Alberich. In the early fifties you took the Siegmund and Siegfried you could get, which Furtwangler does. My first Siegmund, under Goodall in Manchester in 1954 was Hans Braun, than whom there were worse, supported by the Konetzni sisters, but these are better. But - choice? - the Wotan isn't Hotter (whose pre-war 78s in Act II of Walkure are still astonishing - the presence and the singing were both there then) but Ferdinand Frantz, for whom the phrase "He flatters only to deceive" might have been invented. Not quite in the way Wagner intended for Wotan, though. Furtwangler doesn't deceive. Once you know this version, for all its technical weakness, you won't be able to sit through Solti again without remembering it. I know only half the Karajan Ring, which is probably Karajan at his best, and so different from Furtwangler I think I can live with both. There will never be the perfect Ring, but sofar the most absorbing conducting is still Furtwangler's.


Seagate STDT4000200 4TB Backup Plus External Desktop Hard Drive
Seagate STDT4000200 4TB Backup Plus External Desktop Hard Drive
Offered by ecargo
Price: 125.80

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor in spades, 22 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Can't rate this at the moment as it's 400 miles away in the North of Scotland and when last there I couldn't install it without placing my computer online - too much hassle for a short stay. So the three stars are a confirmation that I got what Amazon sent and no more. However, I bought it under protest. What I wanted was a Seagate STCA 40000200, which this machine replaces. Amazon accepted my order and claimed they would have it in a day or two. They continued to claim this for nearly 6 weeks, throwing out my plans. The item I had ordered from them I could have installed without going on line, and throughout their delay period was available at my local Maplins - it still is. I was led to believe that the new model was fully compatible with the Mac OS I use. It turned out, on arrival, not to be. But I don't know whether I can blame Amazon for that - Maplins made the same claim. I suspect Seagate doesn't bother to brief the retailers porperly, though the information on the box is quite clear. Moral - double check your supplier's claims. And don't buy external hard drives from Amazon.


The Pocket Prima Donna
The Pocket Prima Donna
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great artists, I'm afraid., 18 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Pocket Prima Donna (Audio CD)
If you don't know the singing of Maggie Teyte ...... This disc (presented by Amazon under Cortot because he accompanies her in Debussy - that's almost worth repeating 100 times) - though not the perfect transfer, gives a glimpse of a unique personality (from Wolverhampton, of all places) who became one of the icons of French song. She studied with the legendary tenor Jean de Reske, not long after Shaw was writing regularly about him. She drove ambulances in the second world war. Her voice was still capable in her sixties. She made extracts, only, from Berlioz's Nuits d'Ete, They are unforgettable versions of the poetry - not just the notes. So are the Chansons de Bilitis. The National Library of France, which doesn't do this a lot, preserves, available online, her "Fairest Isle" from Purcell's King Arthur. There used to be a BBC recorded recital snatch of three songs accompanied by Frederick Stone (not here) by Brahms, Wolf and Paladilhe, made in the early 50s which was quite capable of stopping an entire Radio Three evening dead in its tracks when they broadcast it - I last heard it in 1978, and it's fresh in my memory. This ad indicates that folk are trying to give this disc away. Snatch it in handfuls, and play at least one of the handful when you think you can't face any more music. It will make you grateful to be alive. I can't believe no-one else thinks this disc worth writing about, but perhaps someone has, if Amazon has a section under her own name. She was one of the very great singers, and they are far fewer in number than you think.


The Beecham Collection, Vol. 5: Beethoven ; SYMPHONY NO.2 & Mass in D major.
The Beecham Collection, Vol. 5: Beethoven ; SYMPHONY NO.2 & Mass in D major.

5.0 out of 5 stars Not as well known as it should be, 10 Jun 2014
Beecham isn't generally held to have been a Beethoven conductor worth taking seriously, and he himself was happy to play along with the idea. But somehow or other Beethoven recordings under him survive - apart from rehearsal snatches of the Fifth, seven of the symphonies can be heard complete under his baton, and there are surprises in all of them. His live performances of the Fourth Symphony in the 1930s with the Halle were highly esteemed by his friend Cardus, and the 1940s recording isn't by any means to be dismissed. This set includes his second recording of the Second, made with the LPO in the mid-thirties, crisp, alive, rapid, and beautifully balanced. But the Missa Solemnis? The story is told by Berta Geissmar, who was his secretary, as she had been Furtwangler's. After a resounding success at the Leeds Festival, Beecham hired a special train and took orchestra and choir to London, where the performance heard here silenced potential criticism. Though the recording is occasionally stretched, what we hear is a great northern choral event, built on the sort of aldermanic basses reared on generation after generation of "Messiah" Amen choruses, to the altos and sopranos of my grandmother's time, when Isobel Baillie, who is here, was known in her Manchester early maturity as Bella Baillie "and none the worse for that". And it happens also to be, and I choose my words with care, a great Missa Solemnis. He didn't always admit to respecting Beethoven, but if this recording had been published at the time, it would have been ample proof that when he wanted to, he could match the best.


White Shelving Unit / Bookcase
White Shelving Unit / Bookcase
Offered by Cool Deals UK
Price: 29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Farewell, 19 May 2014
This review is from: White Shelving Unit / Bookcase
IKEA online has now (19.5.2014) ceased to sell this. This supplier COOLDEALS I nearly ordered from, but their Ebay ad indicates that what they are selling is the appropriately named IKEA substitute, called KALLAX, which has had 40% shaved from its external loadbearing frame - allegedly from the purest of green motives - (Swedish corporate values are just the same as any other marketeer, anywhere), and doesn't seem to be available in white. IKEA themselves, if you try online don't recognise their own product, Kallax, but, if you try to get Expedit from them, have programmed their IT to announce a problem when you try to order. You then see, higher on the page, in small lower case, red, the news that the product is no longer availableTheir customer service - at their online depot in Peterborough - know all the tricks. I don't expect COOLDEALS will be able to do better now, but they should be more honest about what they are now selling. Prepare to collect the assembled item from your nearest private eBay seller - it simply doesn't dismantle in a user-friendly way. Good for vinyl though.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2014 8:20 PM BST


Mahler Plays Mahler
Mahler Plays Mahler

5.0 out of 5 stars So he does, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: Mahler Plays Mahler (Audio CD)
in four Welte-Mignon piano rolls of 1905 - the second song of the Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen,(Ging heut' Morgen uber's Feld) "Ich ging mit Lust" (from Des Knaben Wunderhorn), the last movement of the Fourth Symphony - all vocal pieces, first head as piano rolls and then sung, by Yvonne Kenney and the Canadian singer Charlotte Carlson - and the Trauermarsch first movement of the Fifth Symphony, all ushered into the CD era by Gilbert Kaplan. The longest item on the disc is a collection of reminiscences by players who had worked for Mahler in New York, recorded in Californian retirement.

Mahler was reputedly a very good pianist, but piano rolls can be capricious. Here there is no sense of fingers on keys (and there is a remarkable photograph of a Welte-Mignon device called a Vorsetzer, apparently hard at work playing a Steinway with mechanical fingers, which one would have loved to have seen taken up by Disney). Curiously, the strongest impression coming across here is of rhythm, usually the most debatable point with piano rolls. The notes point out that the Trauermarsch is played at a tempo very close to Bruno Walter's 1945 recording, which Kaplan and his collaborator feel is relatively fast. ("Ging heut Morgen uber's Feld", if taken as a guide, would result in a much faster first movement of the First Symphony than Walter's or most other folks' - but a sense of briskness is inescapable in all these rolls) You would not for a moment think the pianist of the Trauermarsch was Walter. Mahler's tread is pretty steady and accumulates its effect weightily - more like Klemperer in Bruckner or the Mahler Ninth than one would have expected. The finale of the Fourth is a reminder of the famous Dutch concert at which Mahler's performance was followed, after the interval, by Mengelberg's, which Mahler himself is said to have preferred to his own, and this version might have been expected to draw comparison with Mengelberg and Jo Vincent in 1939. Kaplan's notes don't even mention Mengelberg and Vincent. There is, however, a good deal of discussion of Welte-Mignon technology.

This may not have been exactly an accidental omission. Never mind that the Mengelberg tempo of 1939, half a lifetime later than these piano rolls, is, shall we say, a little broader. What is happening in 1939 is a performance in which the driving force is the text Mahler set. Vincent gets a good deal of elbow room, tempo variation and massive ritardandi, in making sure that not a scintilla of the meaning she sees is left to chance. The singers working with Mahler's piano rolls have an impossible task in comparison - even in maintaining some sort of unanimity of pitch. They have to accompany Mahler after the event. He is not there to respond to what they are doing. And they get no elbow room at all. So one of the greatest of all opera conductors is posthumously conscripted into a performance he cannot hear. I would not propose Mengelberg as an infallible guide to Mahler's intentions, but........

On the other hand, before the singers come into it, we do have here some sense of Mahler's own individuality and musical personality. For that, and for the reminiscences, this disc is worth a place on the shelves of everyone with an interest in Mahler.

That is what the five stars, in this case, mean.


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