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Jacobite (Luton Beds)

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Gems from the Belgian Treasure
Gems from the Belgian Treasure
Price: 15.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aptly named treasurable gems, 11 Jun 2014
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This is, quite simply, one of the best chamber music CD's in my entire collection - and I have thousands! I love the Phaedra series In Flanders Fields which contains some rare and fantastic recordings. Shame that many of them are now - inexplicably - only available on download. This disc, number 80 in the series, is truly named for the three piano trios included are indeed absolute gems. If you love an outpouring of exquisitely heartfelt lyricism and melody, beautifully played and recorded then you will love this disc. I was familiar with the music of Ryelandt and Vreuls, both wonderful composers, especially the former, but never heard of Rasse before. His youthful trio is a great find. None of this trio of composers cared a fig for being "with it" and modern but composed to create something beautiful and they abundantly succeeded. This CD deserves the widest possible circulation and the five stars are inadequate to do it full justice. It is also disc disproving the false canard that there are no famous Belgians: the world of music is full of great Belgians as Phaedra's series has demonstrated.


Trio Avec Piano Op. 35 Quatuor Op.3
Trio Avec Piano Op. 35 Quatuor Op.3
Price: 23.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious music - shamefully neglected, 28 April 2014
I had never previously heard a note of de La Tombelle's music so this was a purchase based on my "gut instinct". What a find! There is nothing radically innovative here, just a wonderful disc of glorious, lyrical, passionate, deeply felt chamber music brilliantly played and recorded. The sort of music that players will adore playing and listeners will readily warm to. I have always admired the pianist Laurent Martin and he is as impressive as ever in the piano trio. I get tired of asking why music of this quality has been allowed to fall into oblivion. The trio and string quartet are world premiere recordings. Thank goodness Ligia and French recording companies are now rectifying this by recording more of de la Tombelle's works. I am eagerly buying up all I can lay my hands on. I urge you to do the same.


God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England
God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England
by Jessie Childs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.00

29 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An intrinsically pointless book, 15 April 2014
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Why Jessie Childs felt it necessary to write and Bodley Head to publish this book is a mystery. It adds nothing to our knowledge of recusant Catholicism history under the Elizabethan and Jacobean persecution. Indeed the book just cobbles together much of what has previously been published. Virtually an entire chapter is simply copied from the marvellous autobiography of the Elizabethan Jesuit priest, John Gerard. Recusant history has been well covered and if anyone wishes to study it seriously then they would go, just for starters, to those earlier sources, not only to Gerard but also detailed biographies of Edmund Campion and Robert Southwell by Richard Simpson and Christopher Devlin respectively; the works of J.C.H.Aveling; The English Recusants by Brian Magee or the innumerable books on The Gunpowder Plot, such as that by Antonia Fraser. For a comprehensive account of the sufferings and martyrdoms for their faith of hundreds of Catholics under the iniquitous penal laws and continuing through to the 19th century there is Malcolm Pullan's The Lives and Times of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales 1535-1680. The central characters in the Childs book are the members of the Vaux family of Northampton. Anyone interested in the Vaux family can read Godfrey Anstruther's Vaux of Harrowden, from which Childs obviously culls the bulk of her information. It is appropriate to examine the motivations of all the protagonists involved but the book is blighted by a pervasive, and ultimately wearisome, cynicism and scepticism throughout. Childs declares (page 5) that her book is intended for "the general reader" but she gets bogged down in tedious trivia that is of little or no interest now to anyone except specialist academics. The book also contains factual errors in spite of its listing of sources clearly designed to impress. The following are some examples. Childs states (page 22) that "For the first decade of Elizabeth's reign the letter of the law [i.e. against Catholics] was not rigorously enforced". All the evidence shows this to be inaccurate. True, there were no bloody executions during this period but, to quote Dr Charles Fox, late 19th century Anglican clergyman in his Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals, "The facts are beyond dispute ... every persecution was resorted to immediately after Elizabeth's accession." As Childs herself acknowledges (page 23) "Elizabeth was "determined to kill off Catholicism in her kingdom." (And she proceeded ruthlessly to do so quite literally!) The author also states (page 162) that Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, then in the Tower, had prayed for the "happy success" of the Spanish Armada in 1588 when, in fact, this calumny was proved at his trial to be false. On pages 310 and 311 Childs relates - or rather copies it from Gerard - the story of the priest Thomas Laithwait or Laithwaite who she calls Laithwood in spite of Gerard clearly (and correctly) naming him Laithwaite. This was certainly his name as he was born in Lancashire in 1577, the son of Henry Laithwait. This may seem like nit-picking but it typifies similar inaccuracies throughout the book.The book also betrays its author's lack of in-depth understanding of Catholicism, its teaching and ethos. This is a fundamental flaw in the publication and, no doubt, goes some way to explaining the underlying sceptical attitude. An illustration of both of these failures appears on page 324 where Childs, writing about the remaining Gunpowder Plotters, opines that if they "had wilfully refused to acknowledge Jesuit involvement ... it was surely because they had been told it was a mortal sin to betray a priest". This is simply not true. Apart from the fact that there was no direct "Jesuit involvement" Childs fails to grasp that the opposite case is the truth: that it would indeed have been a mortal sin according to Catholic teaching to have lied, even under torture, by falsely accusing innocent Jesuits of involvement in the Plot. On page 354, writing about the aftermath of the Plot, Childs states, "The violent backlash that had been feared had not materialised." This is an outrageous falsehood. In the wake of the Plot further savage anti-Catholic statutes were passed by Parliament including a new Oath of Allegiance framed in such terms that no true Catholic (the "hard-liners", as Childs refers to them on page 358) could possibly take it. Those Catholics who took the oath compromised their consciences to curry favour with the government: a capitulation from which, as it happened, they derived no benefit whatsoever as those in prison remained there. The "backlash" from the Plot resulted in sentences of imprisonment (some for life) heavy fines and forfeiture of property for many lay Catholics, bloody execution for twenty-one innocent priests and exile for forty-six of them. Childs treatment of Henry Garnet, the Jesuit Superior, is symptomatic of her lack of understanding of Counter-Reformation Catholicism. She utterly fails to comprehend the personality of the man and what 'made him tick'. In its favour, as to be expected of Bodley Head, the book is nicely produced and illustrated. I have awarded two stars for the book's twin merits: firstly the author's laudable intention - albeit flawed and only partially successful - to throw light onto "a rather murky corner of England's past, one that was for a long time kept hidden." (page 5) Secondly, the hope that anyone coming across the book and being new to the subject might be encouraged to seek out and learn from some of the other extensive and more accurate literature about this dark period in English history - a shameful period that for political and lying propaganda purposes has all too often been deliberately obscured.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2014 11:42 AM BST


Sonatas for Cello & Piano - Mats Lidstrom / Bengt Forsberg
Sonatas for Cello & Piano - Mats Lidstrom / Bengt Forsberg
Price: 12.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Scandinavian music and musicians, 16 Jan 2014
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Your two previous reviewers simply do not do justice to this disc, especially the one who encountered faults in the CD itself. What has any of this got to do with the quality of the music? This is inspired, gloriously lyrical and romantic. As an Opus 1 the Hagg sonata is a marvel. It is all played to perfection by Lidstrom and Forsberg and the recording is faultless. If you love cello music - or just beautiful music for that matter -don't hesitate to buy this disc.


Donizetti Heroines
Donizetti Heroines
Price: 13.50

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Huge disappointment, 7 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Donizetti Heroines (Audio CD)
I purchased this CD having read a number of very favourable reviews. I am now left wondering if the reviewers were listening to the same recording as me! It is certainly very well recorded. Despite the fact that she is so highly praised in certain circles by the time I had reached the end of the CD I decided I disliked Elena Mosuc's voice. She has an intrusive vibrato and sometimes she makes ugly sounds, especially in her chest register; she swoops in a most exaggerated manner and even shrieks in places. One has the impression in some of the arias that she is marking time until she can get out the final, long-held high note when she can show off. Even then some of those stratospheric notes are a bit unsteady. She makes little contrast in the characterisation of the different heroines she is playing so that they all sound rather alike, which gets boring after a while. Probably the best items on the disc are from Lucia di Lammermoor. For me Mosuc falls far short in comparison with some of the great Donizetti/Bellini sopranos in these roles: look no further than Caballe if you want to hear this repertoire gloriously sung in the way it was intended.


Songs and Chamber Music
Songs and Chamber Music
Price: 16.18

4.0 out of 5 stars A 'god' of the piano as songwriter, 30 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Songs and Chamber Music (Audio CD)
I bought this CD partly out of curiosity. I was familiar with Thalberg's piano music but knew nothing of his song writing. What a revelation the disc turned out to be! These are wonderful songs, Schubertian in idiom but highly romantic, with a real feel for the setting of the various poet's words. As might be expected from such a virtuoso as Thalberg the piano accompaniments to the songs are just perfect. I had never heard of either of the singers before but they are marvellous;an object lesson in beautiful lieder singing. The velvety, smooth light baritone of Felix Plock in particular stands out which is not to detract in any way from the mezzo. Furthermore I cannot praise the playing of pianist Stefan Burkhardt too highly not only in his accompaniments but also in his lovely solo contributions. At over 79 minutes the disc is superb value for money and it is well packaged. However caveat emptor! There are no translations of the songs; they only appear in the booklet in German. That was a huge mistake, a golden opportunity missed to make these gems more widely known. It says a great deal for the performances that the absence of English translations did not spoil my enjoyment of the music but it has meant that because of the omission, where I would have enthusiastically awarded five stars, I can only give four.


Courage and Conviction. Pius XII, the Bridgettine Nuns, and the Rescue of Jews. Mother Riccarda Hambrough and Mother Katherine Flanagan
Courage and Conviction. Pius XII, the Bridgettine Nuns, and the Rescue of Jews. Mother Riccarda Hambrough and Mother Katherine Flanagan
by Joanna Bogle
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what it says on the cover, 10 Oct 2013
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This promised to be an interesting book and up to a point it was but its material is very thin and it is not particularly well written. Even the title is misleading in relation to the actual content of the book. It is also overpriced. What a missed opportunity to do justice to two wonderful, remarkable women.


Quintet for Piano & Strings
Quintet for Piano & Strings
Offered by marvelio-uk
Price: 6.79

5.0 out of 5 stars 20th century chamber music masterpieces, 18 Sep 2013
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Vittorio Giannini was born Philadelphia in 1903 and died in New York in 1966. He was born into a distinguished Italian-American musical family. Firmly centred in the European musical tradition he was a prolific composer in all genres; an impeccable craftsman and wonderful orchestrator. He once described his work as a "quest for the beautiful, with the humble hope that I may be privileged to achieve this goal, if only for one precious moment and share this moment with my listeners." Well he certainly achieved his aim with the two works on this disc which are world premiere recordings. His gorgeous three-movement quintet is undoubtedly a masterpiece. It is an outpouring of lush romantic, passionate, rhapsodic, dynamic, melodic expression. The piano trio is full of life; a richly ravishing, powerful, deeply-felt - at times ecstatic - work that cannot fail to emotionally move the listener. Why both of these wonderful works are not part of the regular concert repertoire beggars belief. The performances, by a mixed group of American and Eastern European soloists, are quite magnificent in their commitment and the recording is superb. This is a most exciting release that should be in the collection of all lovers of great chamber music. I've played it umpteen times since it arrived: just can't get enough of it! The Naxos label has released Giannini's 1937 piano concerto, redolent of Rachmaninov, and also his third symphony for wind band and his passionate, romantic fourth symphony. I would unhesitatingly recommend both of this discs which, like the Cd under review, are full of expressive, arching melodies.


Zani: Complete Cello Concertos [Martin Rummel, Michael Alexander Willens] [Capriccio: C5145]
Zani: Complete Cello Concertos [Martin Rummel, Michael Alexander Willens] [Capriccio: C5145]
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 12.08

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Italian treasure unearthed, 12 Sep 2013
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Andrea Teodoro Zani was born in Casalmaggiore, Italy in 1696 and died as a result of a coach accident near Mantua in 1757. Although well-known and respected by his contemporaries and receiving many honours he seems to have disappeared into oblivion. In recent times there have been a number of CD's of his music issued, including a set of violin concertos. These two well-filled discs of his 12 cello concertos are world premiere recordings; and what magnificent concertos they are demonstrating Zani's considerable melodic and lyrical flair. They were retrieved from the musical library of the Counts of Schonborn-Wiesentheid for whom they were written and probably first performed in Vienna. All are in in the fast-slow-fast three movement sequence typical of the late Baroque concerto. The fast movements are full of rhythmic vitality. The slow movements - which all tend to be quite short in length - are full of soulful cantabile. The finales dance along exuberantly in a warm Italianate fashion. The cellist, Martin Rummel, is superb as is the lively accompaniment from the Cologne Academy under conductor Michael Willens.Capriccio is to be congratulated on its brilliant recording. These two discs for the price of one (I paid just 10)are a fantastic bargain and I have no hesitation in recommending the set to anyone who a)loves great Baroque music, b)loves great cello music, c)loves great cello playing or d) just loves great music from any era!


Orchestral Music Vol. 1
Orchestral Music Vol. 1
Price: 14.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Rare Danish symphony in flawed recording, 14 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Orchestral Music Vol. 1 (Audio CD)
The Danish composer Louis Glass (1864-1936) was once famous in Europe and his works were regularly played. However by the time of his death he was largely forgotten and his music discarded as not being sufficiently avant garde or modernist. This is a great pity because Glass was probably the most significant late-romantic symphonist Scandinavia has produced. This CD, volume one of a set of all his six symphonies, features his substantial (over 60 minutes) 4th symphony dating from 1911. It is a fine work, late-romantic in style but clearly also early 20th century. At its heart is the long, beautiful, almost Mahlerian, slow movement. The symphony is a bit slow getting started - the sostenuto introduction is rather too long -but once it gets into its stride it is convincing and sustains interest throughout its length. Why Danacord had to go to Bulgaria to record the symphony is a puzzle. Was there no Scandinavian orchestra that was willing and able to take on the project? If so, shame on them. The recording was made in 1999 in the concert hall at Plovdiv. The Plovdiv Philharmonic is an excellent orchestra and responds well to the youthful conductor, Nayden Todorov, who was just 25 years old at the time. On the whole he manages to hold together this big symphony for most of the time. The problem is the recording itself. Are the acoustics at Plovdiv poor? Or was the symphony just badly recorded? I incline to the latter view. I don't want to exaggerate the problem too much but it is recorded at such a low frequency that I had to turn up the volume to an abnormally high level to get any benefit. At times the sound picture is 'hazy', lacking clarity. This is especially so with the brass and timpani whereas in the slow movement the harp, which has a significant role, is given a larger than life prominence. Having said all that, the chances of getting another recording of the symphony are so slim that one must be grateful for what we have, however flawed. Four stars then for the music and performance which, on balance, outweighs the serious shortcomings of the recording.


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