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Beethoven: Violin Concerto; 2 Romances
Beethoven: Violin Concerto; 2 Romances
Offered by vinylandcds
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars period performance, grand scale, 11 Nov 2012
Really inspiring for me - this recording made me listen again to a piece I had heard many times before and thought I was tired of. I heard it playing on the radio one Saturday morning and I had to drop everything I was doing till it had finished. The interpretation is lyrical and tender but it is also BIG, in an architectural sense. No 'miniature' period-type performance here. It is spacious, full of light and shade, and conveys the grandeur of this piece.

Strongly recommended. Not everyone likes the recorded sound, I know, but it is perfectly adequate for me. This recording gets five stars from me for musicianship and interpretative insight.


Rough Mix: Deluxe Edition
Rough Mix: Deluxe Edition

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an adventurous album, 13 July 2012
Pete Townshend's Who Came First, from a few years before, is a personal favourite of mine. 1977's Rough Mix is a fascinating document. On one hand you can hear Pete experimenting as a composer in a way that was becoming more and more difficult for him in The Who. At the same time, in the company of Ronnie Lane, Clapton and others, you can hear him relaxing and enjoying himself as he re-immerses in blues and roots music.

I don't like all of Pete's songs. Heart To Hang Onto seems very effortful, somehow, and I dislike the lyrics of Street In The City. Keep Me Turning, however, is gorgeous - a spiritual parable delivered with joy and self-mocking humour. Misunderstood is also very clever and beautiful. The other stand-out tracks for me are Ronnie's - Nowhere To Run, and especially the sublime April Fool. I expect Clapton plays slide on the latter. Ronnie's voice is a joy throughout.

I'm so pleased to rediscover this record, years after I first heard it. There are tracks on it I skip but I would still not be without it.


Mahler: Symphony No.9 & Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen -Tod und Verklärung
Mahler: Symphony No.9 & Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen -Tod und Verklärung
Price: £10.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars peerless, 11 July 2012
Klemperer regarded the Ninth Symphony as Mahler's most significant statement, and this great recording was made in the face of scepticism from the record company who feared it would not sell. I think it is one of the finest Mahler recordings ever made. It combines deep feeling and a titanic sense of scale with a merciless clarity and attention to detail - the close-balanced, analytical recording is very fine indeed and fits the reading well. Conductor and orchestra were on a high when this was recorded and many individual takes were very long - notably in the finale, where apparently they chose not to patch one or two "fluffs" in order to keep editing to a minimum.

As others have noted, the old boy is slow at times. This doesn't matter at all, though, as he knows how to keep the momentum going like no-one else. Especially in the first movement - by resisting the temptation to mould or fuss over phrases, or accelerate into crescendi in the way that so many conductors do instinctively, he often creates an extraordinary air of suspense. When I first heard the recording, at many moments I found myself absolutely gripped as I simply did not know what was going to happen next. The climax of the first movement has a frightening intensity. The last minutes of the Finale, too, are gripping as the music fades from the world.

I have several other Mahler 9s - with music as great as this, I don't think that monogamy pays! - but this is the one I'd chose above all of them.


Fragile [Expanded & Remastered]
Fragile [Expanded & Remastered]
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More than just Roundabout ..., 11 July 2012
This may not be the greatest of all Yes albums. It is not as perfectly realised as Close To The Edge, nor does it have the passion and drive of The Yes Album. Some of the solo tracks are best described as fillers - but the whole album is far more than the sum of its parts.

And the highlights are stellar. In my humble opinion, this album is worth buying just for Bruford's drumming on Roundabout! A thrilling freedom and energy from the whole band in this track, as it moves from section to section and gradually builds and builds. People who stick to post-1977 orthodoxy that all prog rock is boring must have been listening to something else.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2013 11:19 AM BST


Linnaeus Väsen
Linnaeus Väsen
Price: £12.38

5.0 out of 5 stars peerless Scandinavian dance, 11 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Linnaeus Väsen (Audio CD)
I bought this CD as a present for my wife - she must be suspicious of my motives as I have played it to death myself. I can't speak too highly of it. Some pieces are raucous and kicking, others elegaic and serious (especially the polonaises). The harmonies, as well as the tunes, are inventive and haunting even when the music is fast and furious. On top of all this, it is based on a deep study of the musical world and tastes of that great Swede, Carl Linnaeus. True living history, brought to us with skill, taste, respect and (I think) affection.

NB - my wife likes it too!


Close To The Edge
Close To The Edge
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a remarkable album, 25 Jun 2012
This review is from: Close To The Edge (Audio CD)
Surely Yes's peak, in many respects - remarkably original sustained compositions, musicianship that is beyond any criticism (especially Steve Howe and Bill Bruford!). I can follow the soon-to-depart Bruford's reasoning that he might as well leave now, as it could get no better.

Speaking personally, I find that it is no longer the total fave for me that it once was. Perhaps it is the harmonic sweetness of much of the music, and the polish of Jon Anderson's vocals. As time goes by, I appreciate The Yes Album (two albums earlier ...) more and more - despite its moments of naivity it has a rawness and an almost exultant edge that had perhaps been smoothed away in Yes's studio work by the time they reached CTTE.

But this is still a great and unique album. My favourite track is the closer, Siberian Khatru - Steve Howe's guitar licks really burn, and the long fade-out makes a fine conclusion to the album as a whole.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2013 12:24 PM GMT


The Yes Album [Expanded & Remastered]
The Yes Album [Expanded & Remastered]
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a unique record, 17 Jun 2012
There's no other album quite like this in Yes's (or anyone's) back catalogue. How to describe it?

It's a real feel-good record. This band are really, really going for it full tilt - from the first few bars there is an almost reckless, up-tempo attack in the playing and singing. The end result is often really uplifting, for me at least. Much as I love Close To The Edge, nothing Yes did later touched this album for power and directness of communication (despite the strange lyrics!). As for the instrumentalists - Kaye on keyboards is understated and grossly underrated, Squire's bass pulsates and growls unforgettably, but it's the other guys who bring this close to greatness. Steve Howe understands how to play LEAD guitar in such a complex, glowing texture, and his long lines and melodies have a wailing blues edge. Bruford's drumming has a true jazz freedom - scarcely a backbeat to be heard! I am genuinely surprised that more rock drummers haven't tried to emulate this kind of approach over the decades.

I'm sorry, I love this album.


Before And After Science
Before And After Science
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars 25 years on ..., 16 Jun 2012
... I rediscover this album (after buying it on vinyl in the late 80s). It is enchanting - tuneful, mysterious, funny, downright strange. Absolutely beguiling.


Who Came First
Who Came First
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £24.75

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this album, 6 Mar 2012
This review is from: Who Came First (Audio CD)
Pete is actually a hugely under-rated singer. Much as I love The Who, I prefer these versions of Pure and Easy and Let's See Action to the band's - especially Let's See Action, which is delivered with a kind of passion that is quite different from Roger's. Many of the 'slighter' tracks are delightful too. This record is unique and deserves to be far better known.


ION Profile LP Vinyl-Archiving Turntable
ION Profile LP Vinyl-Archiving Turntable
Price: £69.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceeded my expectations, 9 Feb 2012
I took note of excellent reviews when I bought this ... but it has still worked out better than I hoped or expected. Quite literally, I just unpacked it, plugged it in and got going. No adjustment or fiddling of any kind. I have now used it to digitise dozens of LPs, rock and classical.

IMPORTANT - I suggest that you download the free Audacity sound editing software and use it instead of the bundled programme, which has quite severe limitations and seems to have a dependency on iTunes. Using Audacity you can save content as WAV or MP3 files, and Audacity's 'click removal' filter is very effective too.


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