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Mr. V. Thurgood (UK)

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Doctor Who - The Enemy of the World [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Enemy of the World [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick Troughton
Price: 11.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Daft Bond Homage, 12 May 2014
I have just sat and watched all six episodes of this story from 1967-8. It has some of the funniest moments in any Who story ever but they are unintentional. The best way of summing it up is a kind of am dram low budget James Bond homage. It the ancestor of the Pertwee first season classic Ambassadors of Death with all of the budget going on episode one. There's surprisingly minimal padding and some genuinely inventive ideas that will be reused later. The episode endings are quite dramatic, probably out of all proportion to the story. A lot of the peril Pat Troughton is in is social embarrassment. The security guards are obliged to be inept in every episode. Some Who stalwarts Milton Johns, George Pravda, Christopher Burgess are on show.The ending is laugh-out-loud daft and a bit throwaway.

Finnissy: Photo. In Sound [Ian Pace] [Divine Art: MSV77501]
Finnissy: Photo. In Sound [Ian Pace] [Divine Art: MSV77501]
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 24.75

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Complete Recording of this important piano work, 25 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Michael Finnissy's 'The History of Photography in Sound' was first performed in 2001 and the recording here dates from between 2004 and 2006. It is a five and a half hour solo piano work in eleven movements. Some of the movements (North American Spirituals, Alkan-Paganini, Etched Bright with Sunlight) have been recorded before by Marilyn Nonken and Nicolas Hodges. Here Ian Pace plays all eleven of them. This allows the listener to hear the degree of self reference and contrast within the work.

The movements are:

1) le demon de l'analogie
2) le reveil de l'intraitable realite
3) North American Spirituals
4)My parents' generation thought War meant something
6)Seventeen Immortal Homosexual Poets
7)Edweard Muybridge-Edvard Munch
8)Kapitalistisch Realisme (met Sizilianische Mannerakte en Bachsche Nachdictungen)
9)Wachtend op de volgende uitbarsting van repressie en censuur [Waiting for the next wave of repression and censorship]
10)Unsere Afrikareise [Our African Journey]
11)Etched bright with sunlight

HOPIS is a wide-ranging work that takes in not only the History of Photography but poetry, politics, sexuality, colonialism, autobiography, musical history. The music is equally wide-ranging: It may help to listen to some of his earlier work as a guide to what to expect: English Country Tunes and the Fourth Piano Concerto, for example.

The music is difficult to characterize but varies from extremes of volume and violence to terse episodes with pauses or Bach inspired orderliness or lyricism. It is more absorbing the longer you listen to it. The contrasting movements contain contrasts within themselves. It is a challenging but rewarding listen and can be bitten off a movement at a time or as one big three or four part work.

Ian Pace has also produced a 98 page booklet of notes on the work which is extremely helpful in explaining the origin and influences upon the work.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2014 6:38 PM GMT

Country Music
Country Music
Price: 6.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome re-release of the 1990 Factory album FACD326, 19 Feb 2014
This review is from: Country Music (Audio CD)
You have to admire the range of Rolf Hind's repertoire. This edgy pastoral' set for solo piano (a Boesendorfer) starts with a jaunty pair of Percy Grainger tunes, Mock Morris and Shepherd's Hey, setting the mood up nicely to immediately challenge it with meditative (Midsummer Morn) and in turn increasing challenging then meditative, then challenging but lyrical (I'll give my love a garland, Come beat the drums and sound the fifes) extracts from Michael Finnissy's fabulous 'English Country Tunes'. This is followed by James MacMillan's 1986 Piano Sonata, which is perhaps more 'experimental' than more recent vintage MacMillan - compared with the recent Viola Concerto -Janacek's In the Mists (1912) and Bartok's Out of Doors (1926).

Whether you prefer the original artwork (Hind in a waistcoat, braces over them, head down and gazing down at his shoes with an out-of-focus piano keyboard at the left of image) to the more sensible update is a moot point.

Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room
Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room
by Geoff Dyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Zona: a book about Geoff Dyer, 19 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If this book makes you go and watch Tarkovsky's film Stalker, and Dyer would certainly want you to watch it in a cinema and not on DVD, then Dyer's book is half-justified.

This book is a candid but self-regarding offloading posing as a commentary on a film. It will please Dyer's fans but is probably more important because of the way it raises questions about the end of the culture that spawned the film and Dyer's appreciation of it. We (I am 45) did not appreciate the freedoms we had until we lost them.

String Quartets (Arditti Quartet)
String Quartets (Arditti Quartet)
Price: 26.97

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Quality Low Price Recording, 6 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have to be honest. When I saw a CD by the Arditti Quartet for sale new for a pound I thought 'this can't be a very good CD'. I was wrong.

It turns out to be a two disc set of quartets from the 1980s by Danish composers Karl Aage Rasmussen and Bent Sorenson, recorded for Danish Radio in 1988 by the line up of the quartet at the time: Irvine Arditti, David Alberman, Levine Andrade and Rohan de Saram.

As with a number of the Arditti releases we get a snapshot of a pair of composers from a particular place at a particular time. In this case the price is ludicrously cheap, which is not a reflection on the quality of the music but rather the time elapsed since the original release of the CD. The comparative obscurity of the label should not put you off. Rasmussen's quartets 'Solos and Shadows'(1983) and 'Surrounded by Scales'(1985) are featured on the first disc. Bent Sorensen's quartets 'Alman'(1983-4), 'Adieu'(1986)and 'Angel's Music'(1987-8) are featured on the second.

This might be a good first recording to buy if you want to sample the Arditti Quartet of the period without spending a vast sum on a difficult to get hold of deletion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2013 9:57 AM BST

Room 237 [DVD]
Room 237 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rodney Ascher
Offered by videosanddvds
Price: 3.85

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking or trivial?, 28 April 2013
This review is from: Room 237 [DVD] (DVD)
When a justly acclaimed filmmaker produces a work that many people initially react to as `disappointing' then usually that is the end of the matter and that filmmaker's reputation suffers. This film shows the more dedicated viewers of such a film attempting to convince us that not only is this not a `disappointment' but that it is an unacknowledged masterpiece which is rich with content that we are unlikely to find in the usual multiplex horror offerings. Whether the film actually needs rehabilitating is a moot point. This could simply be an exercise in humouring obsessive cineasts.
Other reviewers have discussed the details so I won't repeat them here.
I personally think that the 'craziness' of some of the points raised by the commentators in the film doesn't matter. The contributions could have been edited and a shorter film produced but the point of this film is that it is audacious and a little 'whacked out'. It offers the viewer a number of alternative and unofficial readings of 'The Shining'. You are free as a viewer to ignore all of them or accept them in part or as a totality, if you so wish, although they can't all be right but we will never know which of the apparent continuity gaffes in the film are just gaffes and which were intended to bear meaning, if in fact any of them were.
You could argue that all of this could have stayed purely on the blogosphere (and there seems to be one potential contributor to the film who declines to contribute and by so doing confirms that they feel this way).
The Room 237 tag on this film is a little deceptive, implying that some resolution to all of the discussion will be found there.
This isn't a five star film and is an expensive indulgence at 9.65. Pay 5 or wait for it to be broadcast on the TV.

Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s
Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s
by Shanay Jhaveri
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spirit of the Times..., 23 Sep 2012
This is the catalogue for the exhibition running at the Barbican Gallery in London until January 2013. It features work by a dozen international photographers: Larry Burrows, Ernest Cole, Bruce Davidson, William Eggleston, David Goldblatt, Graciela Iturbide, Boris Mikhailov, Sigmar Polke, Malick Sidibé, Raghubir Singh, Shomei Tomatsu and Li Zhensheng. I knew very little about some of these photographers and the essays in the book supplement the information in the show, providing historical context, biography and critical assessments. The photographs are beautifully reproduced. While I would point you to the show first before recommending the book this is a powerful survey of photography of the 1960s and 1970s and much of the work is a harrowing reminder of past injustices. The range of subjects from documentary photographs of the Vietnam War, the Cultural Revolution in China, the Civil Rights marches of the US, Apartheid South Africa to more experimental works from Mexico, Russia, Japan and India. Highly recommended.

Glass - A Portrait Of Philip In Twelve Parts [DVD] [2007]
Glass - A Portrait Of Philip In Twelve Parts [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Philip Glass
Price: 8.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Useful Tips on Pizza Making from Philip Glass?, 4 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This film is better than you might think. Rather than being a hagiography of Glass, it simply follows him around as he meets friends and gets on with his work. The overall impression is of a driven, even obsessive, man who by hard work has achieved the status he now enjoys. That his wife separates from in in the course of the film shows the downside of this work ethic. My favorite scene has Glass making a pizza.

Glass does not think that we should like his music and advises us to listen to something else if we don't like it.

The extras on the film are a set of longer interviews which are wider ranging than the feature and the source of some of Glass's voice over commentary in the film and also performances of works or parts of works from Australia - Metamorphoses, the opening of Einstein On The Beach and Orion.

Jack Quartet: Ligeti, Pintscher, Cage, Xenakis
Jack Quartet: Ligeti, Pintscher, Cage, Xenakis
Price: 9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live recording of the Jack Quartet's Wigmore Hall debut, 4 Jun 2012
This CD features live performances of four string quartets: György Ligeti's String Quartet No.2 (1968), Matthias Pintscher's Study IV for Treatise on the Veil (2009), John Cage's String Quartet in Four Parts (1950) and Iannis Xenakis's Tetras (1983).

For me, while all performances are very very good, the standout performances are the Cage and the Xenakis. The Cage can sometimes be a bit tedious or lacking in impetus but here a balance is achieved between precision and propulsive force. The Xenakis is invested with exactly the controlled explosiveness it requires. The Pintscher quartet is very quiet, the Xenakis ferocious and loud, Cage's quartet sounds medieval and the Ligeti is a strange mix of agitation, calm and clockwork winding down.

I was at the concert in July 2011 and the energy of the performances is well-captured on this disc.

This is a quartet that is seriously committed to new music, as their recent follow-up concert (Ives' 2nd Quartet, Glass's 5th Quartet and Gòrecki's 2nd Quartet) amply demonstrated.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2012 2:25 PM BST

Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
by Bojan Bujić
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Illustrated Popular Biography of the Composer, 3 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Arnold Schoenberg (Hardcover)
This is a welcome addition to Phaidon's Twentieth Century Composers series. In a short (240 page) popular study there is a limit to what can be said and Bujic's book doesn't attempt the kind of musical analysis you'll find in studies like that of Charles Rosen (Fontana Modern Masters series, 1976, ISBN 000633558Schoenberg (Modern Masters S)). What we get instead is a good general introduction to the historical background and events of Schoenberg's life and a pointer to which are his most significant works and to further reading and recordings. Bujic tries to distinguish between Schoenberg's take on his work and that of critics like Adorno and Thomas Mann who have, by accident or design, played a part in the process of walling him out of the mainstream musical culture in a way that, say, Igor Stravinsky hasn't been. Schoenberg and the compositional process of serialism adapted from his ideas was adopted by a younger generation of composers probably in a less flexible way than he himself actually used it. The character of the man, as with anybody, was full of paradoxes, but here we get a less stern and formidable Schoenberg than in some accounts. I came away from this book appreciating his achievements as a composer who was gifted but did struggle to get his vision over to an audience and I found myself wanting to go back to the music again, so for me it succeeded.

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