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Stuart C. Clarke "stueybear" (Burton-on-Trent, England)

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Inner Aspects of Faith
Inner Aspects of Faith
Price: 3.30

3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, poorly transferred, 8 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a brilliant book for anybody interested in the path of tasawwuf, the 'inner' aspect of Islam. Faridi has the gift of being able to start from first principles in accessible language, yet at the same time give a satisfying account as such difficult concepts as predestination. Most importantly perhaps, he emphasises how the various disciplines are transformed (and transforming) when undergone for the love of Allah, rather than out of habit or duty. The final, more abstruse chapter is very difficult reading indeed, but worth persevering with.

Unfortunately I found this version to be so riddled with errors that it looks like I'll have to buy a paper copy too. I tried my hardest to submit corrections through the Kindle system, but there are so many I think it needs a thorough check from start to finish.

Formatting is way below par, so buyer beware.

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro
Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro
Price: 14.07

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With your clothes on, it doesn't get much better..., 1 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The most wonderful recording of probably the most fun opera there is. Great singing, a comic plot that Shakespeare would've been proud of - and the most sublime, incandescent music beautifully-recorded and zestfully-conducted. Simply put, there has never been a better set of Figaro and it's never been such wonderful value.

Buy this and don't be put off by the picture of Gary Glitter on the cover!

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
Price: 5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Play it in the night!, 1 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'd had this disc for months before I finally got around to listening to it properly - and it wasn't until last week, when the sun began to head south that my thoughts started to return to Russia, Russian art, vodka, suicide in birch forests etc. So, after a row with the wife I took this disc on a pointless fuel-wasting trip along the slow lane of the motorway and cranked up the volume to the point where the local rappers/bass & drum crew were thinking about complaining.
And guess what, it's a real revalation - 'les ballons du chien', as they say across the water.
OK, so what's first? The band. So, let me tell you that these scousers play very, very well, and certainly embarrass some of the 'Premiership's' efforts in the same music. I'd probably reserve my special praise for the horns in the last two movements, but basically it's all very good indeed.
Next, the sound is clear, deep and broad; but you can't appreciate its fine quality properly until you crank it properly and firm up the bass without making it muddy (I recommend a techno setting, punchy not throbby). Suddenly you can hear the rasp of bows and really appreciate the space surrounding Naxos's sound picture which has 'the room' beautifully caught.
Now then, VP himself. Well, I confess that my personal desert island choice for this music is Mavrinky's 1970s recording. And like Mavrinsky and Haitink, Petrenko knows how to get more with less in this music: restraint pays off especially in the long sloping inclines of the first movement. And Petrenko's climaxes maintain that all-important emotional ambiguity with the upper strings blended beautifully with the woods - yet keeping the individual timbres and not lapsing into blandness and homogeneity as both Karajan's recordings sometimes do.
Petrenko's tempi are perfect. The first movement - just a shade quicker than Haitink on Decca - moves with a relentless impetus, brooding, stately but never plodding - generating real tension. The Allegro is brisk and muscular but not headlong, with the all-important percussion and trumpets beautifully captured. (It would make a killer soundtrack for a film about the Kursk and knocks spots of Walton's Battle of Britain dogfight stuff IMHO.)The third movement tempo is difficult to get right, but again Petrenko has it so that it swings yet never plods and maintains that all important gravitas. The fourth mvt is beautifully done, opening with a truly bleak sound picture where the clarinet evokes images of the endless steppe, the smoking hulks on the horizon, the fallen comrades, the onset of the merciless Russian winter and the tattered uniform which begins to seem vulnerable and pointless. Great.
The final, upbeat major-key allegro is dispensed with with romping aplomb, confidence and virtuosity across the whole orchestra; in fact I gave such a cheer at the end of it that I almost crashed into a Sainsbury's lorry.
If you listen to this symphony often you'll naturally have your own favourites that you'll return to for emotional reasons above all - and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you don't know this work yet want to explore it there's simply nothing better on the market because - apart from its World-class artistic and technical merits - the Naxos offering is great value for money and beautifully packaged too.

But don't forget to crank up the volume a bit.

William Shakespeare: The Complete Works
William Shakespeare: The Complete Works
by William Shakespeare
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 21.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for bedtime reading!, 22 Aug 2011
I'll keep this short. This is a scholarly and beautifully produced edition of the writer who created our mind-map. If, like me, you're constantly re-reading or teaching these plays, it's not especially convenient to sit down and enjoy - too heavy and the wrong size. I love to sit up and read Shakespeare and/or Dickens in bed, especially during the winter months; from that point of view I find the Everyman edition in several volumes unbeatable, primarily because it has larger, clearer print and one column of text per page for my tired old eyes.
If all of that doesn't bother you however, and you want the plays in one volume, this handsome tome may suit you well!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2012 4:57 PM BST

Mahler - Symphonies 3 & 4
Mahler - Symphonies 3 & 4
Offered by shakedownrecords
Price: 15.90

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get this, shelve it, then start listening to the greats!, 2 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This set is a terrific bargain for those like myself who haven't got the time or money to spend on multiple copies of Mahler symphonies. I'm not a huge Mahler fan to be honest, though I certainly have a soft spot for the wonderful song cycles which seem to me to represent his essence as a composer. In my 20s I hunted down so many alternative versions of this music that I was running out of shelf space - and patience. After all, there are many greater composers. Then there was the accompanying Mahler Mythology Industry with its irritating insistence on seeing the history of the 20th Century writ large, the angst at the centre of the human situation etc blah blah ad tedium. I remember the relief I used to feel at concert performances of this symphony, when I could finally get to the bar or the toilet depending on whether I'd been in the bar or the toilet before the gig started.
All the same, there are many great 'moments' in this music. Put simply this is a better recording than either of the Abbado versions I used to own; better too IMHO than Horenstein, Bernstein, Tilson Thomas and Rattle. Great orchestral playing in both symphonies to my ears and really well-engineered. Tennstedt I usually find too wayward, but these recordings are the best of his studio cycle for my money and certainly better than the 1&2 offering which is better done by Solti if you want that particular combination. I listen to this recording only rarely but always enjoy it when I'm 'hungry' for it. The 4th symphony is beautifully done and sounds great too - innocent and guileless. Mahler 3 is a flawed work it seems to me, conceptually chaotic and far too long given the source material involved. Like I said, if it's still available snap it up, don't bother with duplication - and save your money for more music by Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, who all 'mapped the human condition' with greater success and less futile posturing.

Beethoven - Symphony No.9 (Hybrid SACD)
Beethoven - Symphony No.9 (Hybrid SACD)
Price: 12.00

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but no cigar!, 2 April 2010
This is very good remastering of a really good performance of the Ninth, apart from the balance of the tympani in the first movement perhaps. But it certainly isn't WF's best recording of this work - neither is the Bayreuth'51 recording which is always slightly overrated in England because of the Philharmonia's involvement. There's no doubt at all that the one to hear is the March 1942 version with the BPO which has several 'extra' dimensions never captured before or since. That one really is the real deal.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2013 11:56 AM GMT

Mahler: Symphony No.10
Mahler: Symphony No.10
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 9.89

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bournemouth rides the Abyss while Berlin takes the Merc!, 1 Jan 2009
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.10 (Audio CD)
I must say I was astounded when I read David Hurwitz's splenetic and rather personal criticisms of Rattle at the end of his overview of this disc. Did Rattle push in on him once at last orders in the Barbican or is he just another of that species of British music critic who have always resented SR's phenomenal success? I was a student with a cheapo season ticket for the CBSO in the early eighties and I can tell you without hesitation that in those years both Rattle and Neeme Jarvi were working hard on their craft - and learning many lessons. But even then there was an obvious and identifiable 'Rattle sound' and a sense that a voyage of discovery was beginning. And of course all this is obvious from the discs released by the Rattle/CBSO combine subsequently, in the time before his appointment in Berlin - and believe me Mr Hurwitz, you don't get in there just because the Daily Mail happens to like you: no, you have to display some very special talent, determination and potential. Incidentally, what does 'fulfilled' promise really look like - and whom do you have in mind as an example?

Of course, this recording dates from before all of that, but it had been a cause celebre/obsession for Rattle from his student days and in this case there's little doubt that his deep knowledge of the score and clear idea of how he wanted it to sound got through to the players at Bournemouth along with a sense of passionate commitment and excitement. This recording captures the feelings of nihilism, despair and anguish involved perfectly whereas the later Berlin account is too 'civilised' and thickly recorded for my taste - the view of one who's moved on from youth and finds that his old jeans no longer fit. But who knows, maybe that anger and fire will move on too - and turn up in interpretations of other, greater composers.

And technique isn't the question here at all, it's the occasion and intention that communicates so wonderfully: listen to that huge and terrifying chord near the end of the first movement which makes me jump every time, or the thunderous tam-tam strokes of the last movement - and you'll see what I mean. The Berlin recording sounds tame by comparison. And if the Bournemouth band struggles a bit at the top end then so much the better for invoking that terrifying sense of disintegration you feel when looking at a familiar face that's been shattered and imperfectly reconstructed. If you like Mahler 10 at all - if you can bear looking into the abyss this piece teeters above - then this is the recording to have.

And lets hope Mr Hurwitz has subsequently found the Alka-Seltzer!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2010 6:47 PM BST

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (PSP)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (PSP)
Offered by SelectGames
Price: 6.14

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ghost recon2.......GHOST RECON 2 HELL!!!, 27 Dec 2007
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (PSP)
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (PSP)
Offered by GameExplorers
Price: 15.52

1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars please bring it out 4 360!!!, 27 Dec 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
this is a good game but it is realy disoriantatin if your uesd to playin it on ps2. many people dont own a psp but have 1&2 on ps2.WHAT A SELFISH GAME!also the levels anrt as good, the heros a crap compared 2 the first games and galactic conquest only has empire & rebels.but thank lord u can use Kit fisto but he fights realy wierd.ocverall this is a prety cool game and its still fun 2 play so if you have a psp and like sb1&2 then ied check it out.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2008 10:37 AM GMT

Medal Of Honor: Heroes 2 (PSP)
Medal Of Honor: Heroes 2 (PSP)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: 9.51

3 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!!!!for the psp........WHY THE WII, 27 Dec 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Why bring this game on the WII?
the first 1 was psp only
so it works like this:if you ruin a great game like call of duty 3 by putin it on wii, u should take a great game like medal of honor heroes 2 and ruin that 2.*$&%"%^!$?
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2008 11:34 AM GMT

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