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Reviews Written by
Phillip Tolley "British Choirs on the Net" (Cambridge, UK)

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Lunar Women's Maureen Slippers, Gold, 5 UK
Lunar Women's Maureen Slippers, Gold, 5 UK
Offered by GRS UK

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 3 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A touch of glamour in these slippers

Andrew James Large 30cm Traditional Cast Iron Baking Stone Ideal For Welsh Cakes, Scones, Breads, Crepes And Pizzas
Andrew James Large 30cm Traditional Cast Iron Baking Stone Ideal For Welsh Cakes, Scones, Breads, Crepes And Pizzas
Offered by Andrew James UK LTD
Price: £14.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Limited use, 8 Mar. 2016
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Purchased as a Christmas present and used for the first time today - The photo of the item is misleading as it looks flat. There is no mention of this bakestone being concave so the heat distribution is uneven and, unless you are only baking 4 welsh cakes at a time, is not fit for purpose. Also because the bakestone is concave, when you try to flip the welsh cakes over you are in danger of burning your wrist or hand on the raised edge.

Spectre [DVD] [2015]
Spectre [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £9.48

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but a Disappointment., 29 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Spectre [DVD] [2015] (DVD)
After the success of Skyfall it was perhaps inevitable that this film would disappoint. The problems are varied. A very thin plot told too slowly. Caricature villains - Christoph Waltz and Andrew Scott reprising his previous roles in Inglourious Bastards and Sherlock respectively. Daniel Craig is a fine James Bond but the wardrobe department needs to find him suits that fit or go back to the more stylist Italian suits that Pierce Brosnan used to wear. On the plus side the actors playing M, Q and Moneypenny remain very good in their parts, as was Jesper Christensen. The leading ladies were also good but more should have been made of Monica Bellucci's talent and beauty. As mentioned by other reviewers the audio was muffled and apart from the title song the soundtrack music, though incessant, but largely forgettable.

Television Unit Grafit #218 TV or Hi-Fi Unit Black / White
Television Unit Grafit #218 TV or Hi-Fi Unit Black / White
Price: £47.79

1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality unfit for use, 17 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Poor quality product unfit for use.

Doro Liberto 820 SIM-Free Smartphone - Pale Rose
Doro Liberto 820 SIM-Free Smartphone - Pale Rose

5.0 out of 5 stars I bought this for my wife and really like it. Clear read and sturdy casing - beats ..., 1 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for my wife and really like it. Clear read and sturdy casing - beats some of the more establshed phone brands

Amplify: A Billy Lime Thriller
Amplify: A Billy Lime Thriller
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, 1 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mark Holland’s debut novel is a stunning thriller with a memorable anti-hero. Like all the best thrillers it grabs from the opening pages. The story is dark and brooding with intense sex and equally intense violence. The story concludes with unfinished business and an obvious opportunity for a sequel, which I shall look forward to

Finzi - Dies Natalis
Finzi - Dies Natalis
Price: £5.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh what venerable creatures did the aged seem, 2 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Finzi - Dies Natalis (Audio CD)
Tenor James Gilchrist, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Hill follow up their Naxos recording of Gerald Finzi's Intimations of Immortality with this fine recoding of Finzi's Dies Natalis. The first thing to say is that is a quality digital recording with Naxos fine presentation hallmark. It that sound like faint praise it is not meant to.

It is also a fairly leisurely recording with the first movement `Intrada' almost 1.30 minutes slower than some alternative recordings. The slowness does sometimes have a strange affect on the words with unnatural emphasise and Finzi's word painting, which is known for its natural speech patterns with the bar lines almost irrelevant, broken up in this recoding.

This recording was made in 2007 and as I comparison I returned to an EMI recording made in 1963 with Wilfred Brown, the English Chamber and conductor Christopher Finzi. This earlier recording is obviously not as clean being digitally remastered. Additional Wilfred Brown's singing can appear mannered at first hearing, however in all other respects include his vocal timbre, the orchestral playing and particularly the speeds taken by Christopher Finzi, the 1963 version is my preferred recording with Finzi's natural word painting far more successful at tempo.

This is an attractive new recording and Naxos must be congratulated for continuing to champion the work of Gerald Finzi. Some will prefer a modern recording with one of Britain's finest singers and the recording will stay in my CD Library, but for the reasons stated above I will return to Wilfred Brown's EMI recording more often.

For some the additional tracks that make up the recording will affect the choice of recording. This new Naxos recording includes Two Sonnets for Tenor and Orchestra and Farewell to Arms as well as a some orchestral gems.

Handel: Messiah (1751 version) (Edward Higginbottom) (Naxos)
Handel: Messiah (1751 version) (Edward Higginbottom) (Naxos)
Price: £8.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not at all comforting, 19 Feb. 2011
From the reviews already listed this 2006 recording by the Choir of New College Oxford and Edward Higginbottom obviously polarizes opinion, with comments from pious and pure to 'white' and bland and this review is no different.

There is no doubt that this is a cleanly recorded version of a technically correct performance, however it is not a recording that I return to with any satisfaction. It is not bland and it is not the lack of female voices, but it does not carry any emotion or provide any uplift. For me it falls at almost the first hurdle when Toby Spence sings 'Comfort Ye' in a way that carries no comfort or the meaning of the word comfort. This is the first vocal line of the work and as such sets the stage, or in this case fails to.

And so it continues, with 'He was despised' the aural equivalent of watching paint dry. As I say technically it is correct, and from a choral scholarship perspective may enthuse, however the art world is full of technically correct performances but very few that move the audience. This unfortunately, for me at least, is the former rather than the latter.

Light And Gold
Light And Gold
Price: £11.65

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burnished gold and blazing light, 18 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Light And Gold (Audio CD)
Never has a choral recording been more appropriately titled than Eric Whitacre's new CD `Light and Gold'

It is a selection of pieces polished to burnished gold, with tonal and harmonic beauty. Look further within those tight harmonic lines, which almost sit in each others laps, and the intricacies of the works become apparent as well as the shining simplicity and deeply personal meaning behind these pieces.

The Eric Whitacre Singers make a highly polished debut, obviously bathed in this composer's music, supported on this recording by Laudibus and The King's Singers. The other star of the recording is the almost Cathedral-like acoustic of St Silas' Church, Kentish Town, London. The warmth and clarity of the recording and acoustic add to the awe of the pieces and provide Light to that burnished gold.

The pieces themselves are a veritable rainbow and I would encourage you to read the accompanying booklet before you listen, which put the pieces into context. Some booklets are simply marketing / promotional bumph, but not this one....

My particular favourites are `The Seal Lullaby', based on a Rudyard Kipling story, and `I thank you God for most this amazing day'

When listening to new choral music, as well as intricate highly professional pieces, I also seek pieces that offer repertoire to amateur choirs and the piece that I hope will be taken up by choirs across the UK is the beautiful Hebrew love song `Kala Kalla (Light Bride)'.

Howells: Hymnus paradisi; Sir Patrick Spens
Howells: Hymnus paradisi; Sir Patrick Spens
Price: £7.96

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars World Premiere Recording, 25 May 2007
English composer Herbert Howells was born in 1892 in Lydney in Gloucestershire, England, the youngest of eight children in a family that struggled to maintain a livelihood. In 1915 at the age of twenty-three, he developed a severe case of hyperthyroidism and was given six months to live. With this death sentence, he agreed to try an untried new experiment with radium. He was given radium treatments twice a week for two years. The treatments proved to be effective as Howells lived to age ninety. In 1920, he married Dorothy Dawe, a young singer. In 1923, they had a daughter, Ursula, and on April 12, 1926, a son, Michael. Nine years later on September 5, 1935, Michael died from Spinal Meningitis.

Hymnus Paradisi was the composer's response to the tragic loss of his son Years after his son's death, brought about by his daughter's persuasion that he should write a piece in his memory as a catharsis for his grief. The resulting work includes Psalm 23 and uses some of the text and music from an earlier requiem written in 1932, but which had never been performed. The Latin and English texts are taken from the Psalms, the Missa pro defunctis and the Salisbury Diurnal. The work was completed in short format in 1938 and having used its to achieved a personal peace at the loss of his son, the score was put away until 1949 when Herbert Sumsion approached Howells for a work for the 1950 Three Choirs Festival. Within the encouragement of Vaughan Williams, Gerald Finzi and Sir Adrian Boult, Howells orchestrated the work, composed the Preludio and with a title of Hymnus Paradisi suggested by Sumsion the work received its first performance in September 1950.

The other major work in this fine new recording, under the direction of David Hill, is the world premiere recording of Sir Patrick Spens. A traditional Scottish ballad for huge forces. It was written around 1922 when the composer was around 30 years of age, before Howells became anchored in his distinctive 'Anglican' style. It shows a very different side to composer's output, with very melodious almost folk-like tunes. It shows strong influences of Stanford in his use of folk-songs The story as told in the ballad has multiple versions, but they all follow the same basic plot. The King of Scotland has called for the greatest sailor in the land to command a ship for a royal errand. The name "Sir Patrick Spens" is mentioned by a courtier, and the king despatches a letter. Sir Patrick, though honoured to receive a royal commission, is dismayed at being put to sea in the dead of winter, clearly realising this voyage could well be his last. Versions differ somewhat at this point. Some indicate that a storm sank the ship in the initial crossing, thus ending the ballad at this point, while many have Sir Patrick safely reaching Norway. In Norway tension arises between the Norwegian lords and the Scots, who are accused of being a financial burden on the king. Sir Patrick, taking offence, leaves the following day. Nearly all versions, whether they have the wreck on the outward voyage or the return, relate the bad omen of seeing "the new moon late yestreen, with the auld moon in her arms". The winter storms have the best of the great sailor, sending him and the Scottish lords to the bottom of the sea. Naxos continues to warrant the gratitude of the English Choral Tradition for providing new and vibrant recordings of both well known and new pieces.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2012 12:57 PM BST

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