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richard "oddball" (UK)

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Saint-Saens: Violin Concertos Nos. 1-3
Saint-Saens: Violin Concertos Nos. 1-3
Offered by Naxos Direct UK
Price: 5.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars romantic violin, 5 Mar 2011
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It seems strange that when Saint Saens was such a prolific composer of richly romantic and approachable music should be so little played today. Are we embarrassed by unashamed beauty?

Suffice it to say that these charming works ate very sweetly played by the young French violinist, Fanny Clamagirand. Not often can one enjoy so much pleasure for so little outlay. Nicely recorded too.


Tchaikovsky: Symphony Nos. 4-6
Tchaikovsky: Symphony Nos. 4-6
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 7.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Late Symphonies, 4 Mar 2011
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Apparently, these are live performances but if so there is no evidence of that while listening. Perhaps Italian audiences are less prone to bronchial problems than English ones. I go to live performances in Poole and I'm convinced some people save up their phlegm to bring with them.

Back to the point. These recordings are a delight to listen to but differ somewhat the classic Russian performances. They are supple and smooth but without the hint of hysteria that characterises some competitive versions. Easy to live with and highly recommendable.


Applaws Applaws Adult Cat Food Chicken and Veg 7.5kg
Applaws Applaws Adult Cat Food Chicken and Veg 7.5kg
Offered by The Ark Pet Shop
Price: 43.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'expensive' catfood is cheaper than you think, 27 Jan 2011
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I should only have one cat, a curmudgeonly old neutered tom, but I made the mistake of having a traditional cat flap fitted, so as a result, despite some hissing, I now have an additional four regular visitors. My own cat has a marginal general preference for wet catfood (but is fussy about brands) and would never touch the cheap supermarket branded cat biscuits. I found he would settle (at least as a supplement) for the top quality dried foods but what I now find is that these intruders generally prefer the latter.

You might wonder why I should indulge the preferences of these uninvited feline visitors but the answer is largely cost and convenience. Despite the (large) packs appearing to be costly, they seem to last for ever so the effective portion cost is actually very low, far lower than sachets. I suppose the sachet contents are 80% water (fresh meat, if your cat will eat it, is not much lower) whereas the dried kibble is, I suppose, nearer 10%. I leave you to do the arithmetic. After extensive testing, my cat tasting panel votes Applaws and Origen as being preferred brands and it is perhaps no surprise that they also have, by a wide margin, the highest meat content (80% for Applaws).

If you buy these specialist brands, you do need to shop around (but of course Amazon is always a good place to start).


Spohr: Violin Concertos Nos. 7 & 12
Spohr: Violin Concertos Nos. 7 & 12
Price: 6.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars salon music, 27 Jan 2011
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The early 19th Century was perhaps the high-water-mark of salon style music with a burgeoning and musically aware middle class. Spohr, very much influenced by Mozart, provided much of this music and it tends, as here, to be charming yet demanding considerable skills of the musicians. On this disc, the violin soloist is Takako Nishizaki who plays most beguilingly. No danger of disappointment there.

It is difficult to believe that anybody who enjoys Mozart would not derive enormous pleasure from this CD. It is all beautifully done and all for a bargain price. How can one resist?


Vieuxtemps: Violin Concertos Nos 2 & 3
Vieuxtemps: Violin Concertos Nos 2 & 3
Price: 6.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars charm and elegance, 27 Jan 2011
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The early 19th Century was the heyday of the virtuoso/composer where the outstanding soloists wrote music designed simply to please and show off the soloist's talents. There is that jokey challenge about naming 10 famous Belgians. Well, perhaps working alphabetically, Vieuxtemps would be the first on the list. Be that as it may, he apparently enjoyed an international reputation as a violinist and these charming and attractive works were composed to show off his skills. On this disc, the Russian-born American violinist, Misha Keylin, does full justice to the requirements of these works and the production standards are exemplary.

This music may not set out to change the world but it does make it seem to be a more civilised place.


Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas For Violin And Piano
Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas For Violin And Piano
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 13.28

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sonatas for violin and piano, 27 Jan 2011
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The complete sonatas were recently reviewed on Radio 3's Building a Library programme and although the reviewer was complimentary about the Capucon?Braley set he preferred the Faust/Melnikoff pairing due not only to their undoubted nimbleness of playing but also I think to their claims to 'authenticity'. I don't intend to join the debate about modern versus period-style performances (both can be good and both can be bad) and certainly not pit myself against a professional musicologist but for me the astringent violin tone adopted by Faust was altogether too much of the hair shirt. The Capucon/Braley approach, undeniably modern in approach, provides a well-upholstered sound with imperious, almost insouciant, playing from Capucon.

I already had the Oistrakh/Oborin set from which I would not like to be parted, and it still sounds well enough, but when I heard the sheer gloss and opulence of the Capucon set, I had to add it to my collection.

Incidentally, two of these sonatas have been recorded by Mullova/Bezuidenhout and an extract was played on the programme perhaps for those who didn't require the whole set and would settle for an intermediate approach between the 'authentic' and modern approaches. Mullova's rich and passionate playing very much in the Russian style and, to my ears at least, rather reminiscent of Heifetz, was such that if Beethoven had heard the like he would surely have made time to write 32 of these sonatas rather than the 10 he got round to. If she records the complete set, that will be something worth waiting for, at least if you are not a dedicated 'authenticist'.

The options are yours. Make your choice. Given the quality of the competition, it would be difficult to go wrong.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2012 5:12 PM BST


Larsson: Twelve Concertinos, Op.45
Larsson: Twelve Concertinos, Op.45
Price: 27.03

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20th Century Baroque?, 21 Dec 2010
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Larsson is not well-known in this country which is surprising because many of his works are approachable and attractive in a way, film music apart, much 20th Century music manages not to be. His best known work is probably the Pastoral Suite but the 12 Concertinos featured on this disc are just as easy to enjoy. They are charming and elegant and sound as though they were composed by a latter-day Haydn. Reactionary folk, those Swedes.


Schubert: Trout Quintet
Schubert: Trout Quintet
Price: 4.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schubert's Trout Quintet, 21 Dec 2010
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This review is from: Schubert: Trout Quintet (Audio CD)
I have several versions of this work and each have their merits but this recording can be enjoyed without reservation and would be a fine choice if you could only stretch to one.

The playing and recording are exemplary.


Energie Men's Jhon Jhon Sandal Black F00040_SL9262_G06000 9 UK
Energie Men's Jhon Jhon Sandal Black F00040_SL9262_G06000 9 UK

4.0 out of 5 stars Thong sandals, 21 Dec 2010
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What is the best name for this style of sandal? Down Under, they appear to be called jandals. Whatever the name, they have certain advantages over ordinary sandals, most obviously being able to follow one in and out of the bath. Saves polishing.

Now, I only use shoes for formal occasions and have almost lived in Croc Jandals for several years to the general benefit of the health and comfort of my feet. My main criticism of the Croc was that they were inclined to slip in the wet making clambering up grassy banks rather hazardous. The Jhon Jhons are much better in that respect and the are also slightly more cushioned in the sole.

The only thing that stops me giving them 5 stars is that there seems to be a minor manufacturing fault in the positioning of one of the thongs which results in one foot being slightly deflected towards the edge of the platform, an effect most noticable in the wet when the foot tends to slide across the sole. I could have taken this up with the supplier but at this price small defects are easy to overlook so, in fairness, this problem may be a one-off.


Original Masters - Pierre Fournier Friedrich Gulda
Original Masters - Pierre Fournier Friedrich Gulda
Price: 11.51

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Masters at work- Beethoven Cello Sonatas, 18 Nov 2010
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Fournier and Gulda make a fascinating pairing; the former being dispassionate, almost standoffish, in style and Gulda, personal and intimate. But what artists they were. Such playing comes but rarely and we are priviledged to eavesdrop.

These recordings are absolute classics and the recording quality is excellent. Make this disc one of your 'top fifty' of all time. Even better than Du Pre with Barenboim, I promise!


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