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Neil Ford "Neil" (London)

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 9 & 25
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 9 & 25
Price: £14.11

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to perfection, 11 Aug. 2004
Put together a great Mozart conductor, his favourite chamber orchestra and the most venerated exponent of the austro/german classics of our times and it would be hard for this to fail ! The chemistry between the all three sparkles. Mackerras listens to Brendel, they exhange little turns of phrase, musical ideas; the orchestra joins in the fun and games; the result this spontaneous, fresh, joyous recording.
Brendel's interpretations unfold gently, phrasing is carefully subtle. Mackerras and the orchestra sound so sympathetic and clearly relishing every note (the SCO is outstanding, notably so the contribution from the woodwind). The recording is perfectly balanced.
I doubt there's a better coupling on the market. For me this is as close to perfection as one could ever wish for in a Mozart disc.


Liszt - Concertos for Piano Nos 1 & 2; Mephisto Waltz & other piano works
Liszt - Concertos for Piano Nos 1 & 2; Mephisto Waltz & other piano works

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daemonic playing of the highest order, 25 Jun. 2004
This is the real Ogdon very much at home in the two concertos by Liszt. With Silvestri at the helm for in the first concerto, an ideal partner for the volatile Ogdon who storms through this work like a man possessed yet touches the coldest hearts with melting playing in the slow sections. Perhaps the 2nd concerto is even finer, an utterly blistering account of this illusive work fired by daemonic virtuosity and complete intellectual command of the work's shape. Colin Davis supports brilliantly, adding more fuel to Ogdon's fire. I prefer Ogdon's recordings to Richter's grander but less unbuttoned accounts. The only real competitor in the 2nd concerto is a long deleted account with Cziffra, and its probably fair to suggest that Ogdon owned the 1st concerto.


Rachmaninov Piano Works
Rachmaninov Piano Works

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Ogdon as we knew him or want to remember him, 25 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Rachmaninov Piano Works (Audio CD)
This set only fuels the speculation that Ogdon's post illness pianism was totally broken. There are some moments of magic here and there, especially in the less demanding preludes. But wait a minute though ? John Ogdon, visionary virtuoso, capable of the surmounting the massive demands of Sorabji's scores here stumbling and shamboling his way through works he'd played since at schooldays!
If you want to hear Ogdon at his best try the BBC Legends Liszt concerto disc or the Testament CD of the Rachmaninov's Etudes Tableaux.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 7, 2014 1:42 PM BST


Sibelius: Symphony No 5 & 6 (LSO Live)
Sibelius: Symphony No 5 & 6 (LSO Live)
Offered by worldcollectabilia
Price: £6.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electric Sibelius, 25 Jun. 2004
High voltage Sibelius from Davis and the LSO. The build up to the big climax in the 1st movement of the 5th is electric, the LSO strings digging in as if their lives depended on it. The magical transition thereafter is handled with fleet grace by Davis, and the movement wraps up with more fireworks from the fabulous LSO. The slow movement ticks over and the last movement is as grand and stirring as you could ask for. Where Davis and the LSO score in this performance is in the telling detail, and the bold, sweeping interpretation. This is the finest 5th I've ever heard.


Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 3 & 7 (LSO Live)
Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 3 & 7 (LSO Live)
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £12.22

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LSO/Davis/Sibelius - a classic combination, 25 Jun. 2004
I was at the Barbican performance of the third captured on this disc. At the time I was blown away, never had I heard Sibelius sound so good, and finally an interpretation of the 3rd where the last movement was made to fit. Memories of the concert include the plaintiff clarinet calls in the 2nd movement, the delicacy, the detail which suddenly sprang out of the texture and the vitality of the LSO. So a transfixing account of this tricky work, for my money the best on record. The 7th lacks a little in intensity, the grinding disonances and passionate ardour that Beecham for example brought to the work.
The sound is good Barbican, quite detailed, a touch dry. The LSO earn their righful place as a world class orchestra in partnership with one of the greatest interpreters of Sibelius.


Brahms: Ballades, Op. 10; Sonata No. 3, Op. 5
Brahms: Ballades, Op. 10; Sonata No. 3, Op. 5
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.47

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Titanic Brahms from Sokolov, 25 Jun. 2004
A titanic account of this mammoth Brahms piano sonata, Sokolov plays with intense concentration and huge drama. The two slow movements offer a complete contrast in mood, poetic and searching. The big guns appear in the finale heroically sweeping us relentlesly towards the double bar. This is probably the grandest and most serious account of the sonata on record, capturing magestic Sokolov in his prime. Recorded live in Paris.


Millennium People
Millennium People
by J. G. Ballard
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballard tasking on the middle class ?, 6 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Millennium People (Hardcover)
You're never in any doubt that Ballard is on home territory again in this novel. Thematically he seems to be taking themes explored in Cocaine Nights and Super Cannes, adding a touch of High Rise in for good measure. I'm loathed to call this book prophetic ! Ballard is extremely amusing, the trip to stir up middle-class Twickenham had me laughing out loud frequently. The same types which are ridiculed in Private Eye's 'Its Grim up North' and the 'Commuters' come under his microscope. Really its hard to nail down precisely what the message is here. Undoubtedly he's taking stock of the world post 9/11 and exploring the idea of mindless acts or violence for their own sakes. Perhaps this is a dig at all those people maintaining the tedious status-quo which seems to afflict London's wealthier classes (why complain so much yet put up with London's awful transport, unaffordable housing and hospitals rammed with immigrants etc etc) ?
As work of literature, Ballard manages to weave poetic magic into his novel with some unforgettable descriptions of his favourite locations, Heathrow and West London. The novel reads like a thriller and has all the tension of the Super Cannes but without the febrile edge.This is another class act from our finest and most virtuosic wordsmith.


Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps
Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps
by Anne Applebaum
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 28 Sept. 2003
Amidst the incredible horror of life for millions of 'innocents' shipped off to the Soviet gulag Ms Applebaum finds flashes of human spirit in the most unexpected places. This superbly constructed chronicle of the soviet Gulag covers every aspect of the subject from arrest to incarceration to release. The broad canvas of this shameful period in history is examined from every possible angle leaving the reader in no doubt as to how grim the camps were and the unbelievable suffering and hardships those who survived endured. Like Solzhenitsyn's heart wrenching account of the Gulag, Ms Applebaum remembers and recounts the agony of the millions of deaths in the camps and enroute. Particularly telling are the memories of a selection of survivors she liberally quotes from. Even if Russian / Soviet collective memory seems to have forgotten or even written off the industrial suffering and murder of those times, this book is a testament to those who died and man's inhumanity to fellow man.


Handel - Concerti Grossi Op. 6, Nos. 1-3, 5, 10 & 11
Handel - Concerti Grossi Op. 6, Nos. 1-3, 5, 10 & 11

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime Handel, 18 Aug. 2003
This music was new to me and the price of the disc persuaded me to try it out. After a few hearings I was an addict. Manze is a pioneering genius of a fiddler setting out to recapture a golden age of violin virtuosos come composers leading their ensembles and playing glorious music. Turning his attention to Handel's essays in the Concerto Grossi style Manze and his players invest each work with a sense of discovery and play with such love and affection making this disc irresistable. The range of expression and style in these works is so carfefully nuanced each has its own special moments. As ever the Academy are superly captured in this recording making thias disc a true aural feast !


Mahler: Symphony No 2 - The Klemperer Legacy
Mahler: Symphony No 2 - The Klemperer Legacy

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Klemperer at his very best, 31 July 2003
Catching Klemperer in the white heat of a concert conducting his favourite work by his revered mentor with a great orchestra and the fabulous chorus with Dame Janet Baker sounds too good to be true. But where the studio version is a little earthbound, this performance reaches for the heavens. In every respect this an earth-shaking, life-affirming account of the Resurection Symphony. The CD sound rich and full, the balance judicious. I'd suggest this is a top recommendation for this work.


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