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Fahrenden Gesellen (Norfolk, England)

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Mozart: Horn Concertos Nos. 1-4
Mozart: Horn Concertos Nos. 1-4
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful., 1 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Beautiful music. Excellent sound quality. Impeccable, lush, velvety playing. I am impressed with so many Naxos releases.


Mozart: Die Zauberflote [Blu-ray] [2008] [2010] [Region Free]
Mozart: Die Zauberflote [Blu-ray] [2008] [2010] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ David McVicar
Price: £24.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic., 1 Dec. 2014
Fantastic. Great performances throughout. The Queen of the Night stole the show. Loved the music.


Shostakovich: Symphony No. 2 to October, Symphony No. 15
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 2 to October, Symphony No. 15
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 11 Nov. 2014
The fifteenth symphony, Shostakovich's last and indeed one of the last pieces he was ever to write, contrasts with his other symphonic works in that it is personal, intimate and introspective in the extreme. His other symphonic works subversively cast a light on what was happening in and to Soviet Russia and it's people at the time (and before) they were composed under the insanity of Stalin's tyranny. In the 15th, the allegory shifts to the reflections of a composer in his later years, suffering ill health.
The four movements contrast each other to the point of discord, and yet, when taken in context, the entire work is a sombre, haunting, sometimes terrifying whole with it's own unique beauty.
The first movement is playful and sinister, harking back to the 1st symphony's 'people as puppets' analogy. Perhaps a reminiscence of the concept conceived of in the composer's youth, the image, with borrowed Rossini passages, has a twisted shadow of experience cast over it now.
The mood of the long second movement is one of deep personal sorrow and regret. Quiet, heartbreaking passages by solo cello interspersed with low brass tones full of grief and regret from one who lived in a time and place where such emotions were forcibly internalised.
Anger then in the short third movement, from one who had surely had enough of all the torment and nonsense. Acerbic as ever: it's pure, raging Dmitry.
The finale borrows from Wagner (albeit loosely) this time as well as Shostakovich's own 11th symphony. The movement puts in mind the old man on his deathbed, wondering to himself if things could have gone better for him had he submitted to the whims of his oppressors. He could have perhaps led a life of luxury by compromising his creativity for the benefit of Stalin's warped version of communism. I doubt it though and I'm sure Shostakovich must have too. Stalin was a paranoid madman who would have found fault with him in some form, no matter what he composed. The incredible symphony cycle ends with eerie quiet clockwork sounds fading away into the ether. The body's own mechanism ceasing to function.
The second Symphony is on here too, but I don't really like it.
The interpretation by Petrenko works for me. He clearly knows his Shostakovich.


Ainsley Harriott's Meals in Minutes
Ainsley Harriott's Meals in Minutes
by Ainsley Harriott
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Ooh its a green pepper day!, 4 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fantastic recipe book which I've used so much over the last 13 years that the pages have stuck together and I've had to order a replacement copy. It was my first cookbook and it's disarming style made great cooking seem very doable and enjoyable. Great weekday recipes for really delicious easy dinners. I would highly recommend the Acapulco Chicken, Doodle Chicken Spinach Noodles, Chang Mai Thai mince, Wan Kai Thai fish curry, and the spaghetti meatballs recipes. All very tasty and easy to prepare with ingredients which are easy to find. Ainsley is even good enough to provide nutritional information about each recipe. Ooooh - give that meat a good ole rub!


50 Moments That Rocked the Classical Musical World (Classic FM)
50 Moments That Rocked the Classical Musical World (Classic FM)
by (Pianist) Sam Jackson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.94

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More of the same from Classic FM, 29 Oct. 2014
I liked this book. It was fun and it told me the odd fascinating thing I hadn't already learned from the other Classic FM books or Howard Goodall's Story of Music. Therein lies the problem for me. Classic FM do a wonderful job of making classical music approachable and interesting for everyone. Unfortunately, all their books tend to regurgitate the same things in the same ways using different formats (A-Z, factoids, 50 moments). This is a great book to have and I am happy to award it five stars but, honestly, if you've already read "Everything You Wanted to Know..." or "The Story of Music", don't bother. In addition, the music from the Cadbury's "Everyone's a Fruit & Nutcase" is not from the Nutcracker's, Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, its from the Nutcracker's Dance of the Reed Pipes.


Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 Babi Yar [Vasily Petrenko, RLPO] [Naxos: 8.573218]
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 Babi Yar [Vasily Petrenko, RLPO] [Naxos: 8.573218]
Price: £5.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 13th Note., 30 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Petrenko and the RLPO have done a superb job with the Shostakovich symphonies over the past six years. This and the previous release of the 14th Symphony are no exception to the excellent standard throughout the cycle. 13 and 14 would have perhaps been better with the more foreboding sound of Russian singers, but I still think these are fantastic. The recording quality is crystal clear throughout. The playing is weighty, angular, intense and precise as you would expect, having heard others in the cycle. Vasily Petrenko has helped transform the RLPO into a world-class orchestra. I hope he remains with them for years to come and I look forward to hearing their next CD.


Bleak House (Wordsworth Classics)
Bleak House (Wordsworth Classics)
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 10 Sept. 2014
I spent a month reading this, my first Dickens novel. I was delighted with it and have since purchased more. The huge story is complex and full of symbolism. Told from the perspective of two different narrators, the structure and language relate ingeniously to the story's main themes of interpretation and the social issues of the day. The book itself is a puzzle to be solved, much like the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce.
I loved the huge cast of characters and the humour was top-notch. Who would have thought a book over a century and a half old would have me laughing out loud? A brilliant book. I can't wait to read more Dickens.


Bernstein, Symphony No 3 'Kaddish', Weill, Das Berliner Requiem, Schoenberg, A Survivor from Warsaw
Bernstein, Symphony No 3 'Kaddish', Weill, Das Berliner Requiem, Schoenberg, A Survivor from Warsaw
Price: £12.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb., 6 Sept. 2014
I found this disc incredibly moving and count is as a highlight of my collection. The play-order is well-considered. As I progressed through the album, I went from enjoying it and realising that I would be listening to it regularly, to then having to sit-down and fully absorb the immense gravity and turbulence of Bernstein's 3rd symphony and it's message. The subject-matter is dark and harrowing; It explores a holocaust-survivor wrestling with his faith and confronting God on man's inhumanity. How could He allow such horrors? Written in the 1960's during the advent of the Cold War, the narrator fears more horrors to come. The world remains a troubled place today and this music has lost none of its poignancy. Everyone should hear it! I loved it.


Norwegian Wood [DVD]
Norwegian Wood [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rinko Kikuchi
Price: £8.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Unsure, 20 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Norwegian Wood [DVD] (DVD)
An adaptation of a much-loved book must be a tricky undertaking. How to appeal to those who have read the book as well as those who haven't? Being one of the former, I was disappointed. The film was not a total failure by any means, but it could have been so much better. There were hints of greatness, but ultimately that just made it all the more frustrating. The first hour is not good. Long, dark, drawn-out scenes where the boy sleeps and the girl cries... a lot. The detail, nuance and richness of the novel appear mostly lost at first and the whole thing feels flat. I was almost ready to give up, but I persevered. The second hour is more satisfying. The story takes strange turns, emotions are evoked and the look, sound and feel are more visceral. Johhny Greenwood's score is disturbing, eerie and excellent; the choice of songs is dreadful. The Donovan-style 'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary' made my skin crawl. The cinematography is often beautiful with the utilization of some stunning locations, though at times the direction is laughably clumsy. The screenplay is lifeless in some scenes and elevates the narrative tremendously in others. Those who have not read the book may feel bewildered by many aspects of the story. The film omits a lot of the novel's pertinent detail. The student protests are only hinted at. The relationship Wantanabe builds with the girl's sick father is reduced to a single wordless scene. The acting is excellent throughout and the performances help to carry the film along. One wonders at the money-spinning cynicism of adapting a popular, but mainly cerebral book by an author with global acclaim. Making a successful movie from a book like this would be a tough undertaking for even the most skilled of writers. There is a good film in here somewhere. With more consistency, we might have seen it.


La Petite Mort
La Petite Mort
Price: £9.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., 20 Aug. 2014
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
Fabulous songs. James have been one of my favourite bands since I was 17. Their unique sound has always resonated with me. This album, their 12th, is no different. If anything, its gratifying to hear that their output is more honed and developed than ever. They never appear desperate to cling onto their youthful energy. Rather, they've grown-up along with the rest of us, whilst reminding us that the exuberance they so effectively project and encourage never has to go away. They haven't allowed themselves to become staid or tired. Curse Curse is as fresh and surprising as anything you could ever hope to hear from a band half their age. Walk Like You is a journey through defiance for grown-ups and I love it. Moving On, a song about death/departure chills me. I'm considering having it played at my funeral. The rest of the album is full of surprises and delights, I won't bore you with my opinion of each song, I'll only conclude by saying that it saddens me that popular music of this calibre is the exception rather than the rule.


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