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Rob Davies

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Leopold Stokowki: The Stereo Collection 1954 - 1975
Leopold Stokowki: The Stereo Collection 1954 - 1975
Price: £28.36

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, don't hesitate, 26 Jan. 2015
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Ridiculously good value, at around £1 per disc. Stokowski is never less than interesting and often is reallly compelling - this recording of the New World I had never come across before, but is perhaps the best I've ever heard. He is also one of the few conductors to take the marking of the 4th movement of Brahms Symphony #4 ("Allegro energico e passionato") seriously - nearly all modern conductors treat it as "Allegro moderato e pomposo". There are many recordings of standards here but also some more obscure pieces - Khachaturian Symphony #3 and Menotti's Sebastian, for example. Recordings are good ones, mostly from the 1960s and early 70s, including several made in the UK not long before Stokowski died.


Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
Price: £3.96

3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but EMI CDs would be better., 26 Jan. 2015
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I bought this to replace an old LP I had with lots of clicks (the CfP reissue from the early 1970s). This download is a big improvement on that, but it could be better. As the Kurtz recording dates from the late 1950s (and is out of copyright), I think the download is likely to be a transfer from an LP, but surface noise is not obtrusive. On reflection, I would have been better to buy the double EMI CD of Kurtz's recordings of Swan Lake + other Tchaikovsky, obviously using the original EMI master tapes. That, for less than £10 second-hand, would be better value than this recording (only Swan Lake) for £5.


Dame Janet Baker: The Great EMI Recordings
Dame Janet Baker: The Great EMI Recordings
Price: £54.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, great performances., 26 Jan. 2015
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Ridiculously good value. I already had several of the recordings in this box (either as CDs or LPs), but this was still well worth buying. Baker was such a good performer across such a wide range of music: Schubert, French, song, Purcell, Mahler, etc., etc.

My only very minor quibble is the choice of artwork that EMI chose for the sleeves - why have they gone for the Goth look?


EasyAcc UK 40Pin 15V 1.2A AC Adapter ASUS Wall Charger for ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101, Prime TF201, SL101, Pad 300 TF300 TF700T-with EMI CORES
EasyAcc UK 40Pin 15V 1.2A AC Adapter ASUS Wall Charger for ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101, Prime TF201, SL101, Pad 300 TF300 TF700T-with EMI CORES
Offered by EasyAcc.U Store
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the one originally supplied with the tablet, 26 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The adapter supplied with the EeePad looks like a good idea, as it's very light, but it is unreliable. This is much better.


WHITBY HAND WARMER
WHITBY HAND WARMER
Offered by Outdoors365
Price: £13.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for winter rock-climbing!, 26 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: WHITBY HAND WARMER (Misc.)
On brief trials so far - I use it for rock climbing on really cold days, placed inside a chalk bag - this works well. It is much more effective than the powder type of hand-warmer, as the warmth in those fizzles out far too quickly. The burner inside the Whitby warmer did go out after I accidentally dropped it on the ground, so carrying a lighter with you as well to re-ignite the burner is probably a good idea.

It took me a while to work where to buy liquid lighter fuel, as I'm not a smoker - newagents, it turns out, not hardware stores. As it is sold only in small cans, it seems relatively expensive (compared to petrol or meths, for example), though the cost per fill of the warmer is still modest.


BalanceFrom High Accuracy MemoryTrack Premium Digital Bathroom Scale with "Smart Step-On" and MemoryTrack Technology, Extra Large Dual Color Backlight Display [NEWEST VERSION] (Silver)
BalanceFrom High Accuracy MemoryTrack Premium Digital Bathroom Scale with "Smart Step-On" and MemoryTrack Technology, Extra Large Dual Color Backlight Display [NEWEST VERSION] (Silver)
Offered by BalanceFrom UK
Price: £69.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Scales I can read!, 26 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These work well. After putting up with mechanical bathroom scales that are almost impossible to read due to faded paint, I wonder why we didn't buy these scales sooner.

They need to be placed on a hard surface for a reliable reading.


Offenbach: Overtures
Offenbach: Overtures
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One track missing, 26 Jan. 2015
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Only ** because one of the tracks - the Overture to La Belle Hélène - refused to download. The recommendation came back that I contact Amazon Customer Services about the problem, but life's too short to jump through that hoop.

The other performances that I was able to download seem fine, though maybe the BPO and Karajan aren't the obvious choise for this repertoire.


The Delius Collection
The Delius Collection
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 10 May 2014
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Conventional wisdom is that you either love Delius's music or hate it. However, my own reaction varies widely - amongst the items included here there are some wonderful large-scale pieces like The Song of the High Hills and Paris. On the other hand, the world-weary texts set in The Songs of Sunset seem to me to have brought out the least attractive side of the composer. And I've tried to get to grips with the Violin Concerto several times over 40 years in various recordings and live, but it still seems to me to meander on and on: with this download I will give the music another chance. Occasionally VW's barbed comment about Delius's music made to Michael Kennedy comes to my mind: "Sounds like the curate improvising, I'm afraid." But he was surely wrong about the best of Delius.

This set is worth the price (£8 - buy the download before someone notices the mistake!!) for Song of the High Hills alone - I paid about £12 for this CD in the mid 80s. If you're a Delius agnostic try this recording and it may convert you to at least a partial believer. This is a classic early digital Unicorn Kanchana recording from 1983. The record producer, Christopher Palmer, did a great job in getting the perspectives and balance right, though this means that the dynamic range is very wide. There is one track for this work (nearly 30 minutes long) but that is a very good idea as it avoids the risk of the blips that sometimes occur when continuous music is broken into several MP3 files.

I can't agree with the reviewer above who said that the recording quality is of historic interest only - just the opposite, most of the recordings are really excellent. More professional reviewers (Gramophone, MusicWeb International) seem to agree with me. Maybe there is a slight edge to the violin tone in the Violin Concerto, but I'm not sure that is due to the recording engineers.

The selection of music is very wide: the set includes some, but not all, of the short popular Delius pieces and some, but not all, of the composer's masterpieces (no Sea Drift, for example). There are some recordings of hard-to-find pieces, several of which Fenby helped to bring into the light of day. The presentation of information in the downloads is a bit clumsy (Did no-one in Heritage with a bit of knowledge check the presentation?), as noted and corrected by the first reviewer above, but that is not a major drawback.

There is a lot of music here and this set is ridiculously good value. If you buy this and you're new to Delius you will have some work to do tracking down texts. The Chandos online site Classical Shop is very helpful for these! (also try the Ezust Lieder site.)


100+ Piano Classical Essentials
100+ Piano Classical Essentials
Price: £4.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great performances but poorly documented, 8 May 2014
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Most of the recordings included here are from the 1950s, and the live recordings in particular need to be listened to with a tolerant ear - on a few tracks you even here occasional pitch wobbles due to defects in the original tapes, I would guess. Others are, I think, DG studio recordings from the late 50s or early 60s - out of copyright, I assume - and these sound a lot better.

Because I already knew some of Richter's recordings of composers such as Schubert, Schumann, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofieve I didn't hesitate to buy. His Liszt and Scriabin are less familar to me. Good to see he also played a relatively neglected Weber sonata.

There is no information beyond the track title to help you. Only by digging around in an online Richter discography have I been able to figure out which orchestra/conductor participate in the concerto recordings and make a guess at when the recordings were made. Even the track listings are not 100% reliable - I think the Prokofiev sonata tracks (7 & 8) have been jumbled up, though this is easy to sort out when you know the correct order! The Franck piece ("Symphonic Poem") included here is unfamiliar to me but is, I think, actually Les Djinns.

Definitely great value for money if you are a fan of Richter. I paid 34/11 nearly 45 years ago for the Rachmaninov 2nd Concerto alone!


Vaughan Williams: Carols, Songs & Hymns
Vaughan Williams: Carols, Songs & Hymns
Price: £14.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Great interest to VW collectors, 8 May 2014
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Surprisingly successful - I say this as someone who has a huge number of recordings of VW's music. Contrary to what some other reviewers have suggested, all these pieces are original VW compositions, even if some of them do sound very like "Traditional".. It's a pity that credit is not given in the note to whomever made the arrangement and made the selections - someone clearly must have had a wide knowledge of VW's music to put this collection together. The Blake Songs, for example, would be well of the radar of anyone who isn't a VW fan. The hymn-tunes and carols included here were written by VW for larger collections (Engish Hymnal, Oxford Book of Carols, Songs of Praise). Many of the other tunes he included in those collections were his arrangements of folk-tunes or traditional sources, but those have not been included on this CD. I prefer to listen to the hymn-tunes sung this way by a clear solo voice than to the way the way they would normally be performed, sung by a congregation lagging a fraction of a beat behind an organist! "At the Name of Jesus", for example, is turned here into a rather jolly march instead of the usual dirge.

Linden Lea is of course a hardy perennial for singers, but it's a pity the text used here was not the Dorset dialect version, which would have fitted better with the "folky" approach of the CD. "Back and Side Go Bare" abstracted from the opera Sir John in Love / In Windsor Forest when sung by the men of the Carnival Band really does sound like a traditional tune, with only some peculiar key shifts giving the clue that it's original VW.

This is the only recording of "The Willow Whistle", as far as I know.


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