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Peter Bracken (France)

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Piano Concertos (Santiago Rodriguez, piano)
Piano Concertos (Santiago Rodriguez, piano)
Offered by marvelio-uk
Price: £11.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can do better, 19 Jan 2008
Rodriguez's discs of the Rachmaninov Third and his Piano Sonatas and Preludes are simply stunning, which is why this CD is such a disappointment. I mean, it's a decent enough recording of each concerto, but it falls well, well short of the 'high voltage' performances we've come to expect. The Rachmaninov Second lacks finesse and passion, the two ingredients it most essentially needs. The Chopin is better in these respects, but there is better on record.

Reluctantly (for I am an admirer of the artist) I advise buyers to avoid this disc.

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
by Steven Pinker
Edition: Hardcover

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful words, 19 Jan 2008
Pinker has done it again; another book of mesmerising intelligence and very smart ideas. But be warned: this book is not easy to digest, notwithstanding the lucidity of the writing. But then it deserves to be read very closely indeed: there is so much punch and weight on almost every page.

Pinker has already destroyed the simplistic notion that human nature is a social phenomenon, demonstrating how much of our behaviour and psychology is a product of our genetic evolution, and therefore instinctive.

In this book, he shows how language has evolved to reflect the mental concepts we have developed to make sense of the world: that is to say, although the real world may exist 'out there', it is mediated through our senses and the brain's interpretation of the data that they send to it. The concepts relate to time and space, matter and causality - and these concepts have been woven into our language. Pinker shows how, and does so in his characteristically enthusiastic, witty fashion.

A fabulous read and an intellectual treat.

Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier
Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier
Price: £21.75

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bach for all seasons, 19 Jan 2008
Hewitt's paying is perfect for this genre: intimate yet emphatic - she knows what she wants to convey and sets about it with gusto. The sleeve notes add to the sense that this is a personal odyssey - there is no detached reserve to this playing. This is a disc (beautifully recorded) that ripens and enriches with the playing of it. What more could anyone want? Don't miss out: buy it.

Haydn - Piano Sonatas - Marc-André Hamelin
Haydn - Piano Sonatas - Marc-André Hamelin
Price: £13.25

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haydn and Oysters: the perfect evening, 19 Jan 2008
This CD is like a plateful of oysters; delightfully light yet deeply satisfying. Much of Haydn's music conveys a sense of the joy of living, and this disc has it in spades. Hamelin's effortless, filigree-like control of the composer's characterisitc spangle of notes is astonishing, all beautifully captured by a recording of demonstration quality.

I became an admirer of Hamelin having acquired his recording of Brahm's Piano Quartets. His mastery of both composers' music is simply dazzling.

Scriabin: Piano Works
Scriabin: Piano Works
Price: £15.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant Scriabin, 19 Jan 2008
This review is from: Scriabin: Piano Works (Audio CD)
This is a front rank disc, the selection widely appealing and the performance and recording excellent. Don't be put off too much by the overblown sleeve notes, written by performer himself: although they are pretentious, Sudbin's playing is not. If you're used to Pogorelich's big-boned passion in the second piano sonata you might find Sudbin a little understated, but not me: I preferred the sheer romantic elegance of his approach.

In short a disc to buy and savour.

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