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Ballerina "Charlotte" (Somerset, England)

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Howard Blake: Violin Concerto "The Leeds"; A Month in the Country Suite; Sinfonietta
Howard Blake: Violin Concerto "The Leeds"; A Month in the Country Suite; Sinfonietta

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Violin Concerto written since Korngold's in 1945, 10 Dec 2014
The most astonishing Violin Concerto I have heard in the last 30 years! This blows all the "modern" pieces off the map. It is an absolute disgrace that beautiful works like this languish unheard and un-played. Truly real music lives! Just listen to this marvellous piece for two minutes and you will know. This is a rallying call to composers who hear music but are afraid to write what they hear because they think they will be classed as "irrelevant" by the likes of Pierre Boulez and the BBC. Ignore them. Write with your heart as Howard Blake has and reach out to everyone. And to violinists like Hilary Hahn I say - dump your modern pieces in favour of something that is truly beautiful. Get out of your head and listen to your heart.

Seriously - buy this cd if you can find a copy - you won't be disappointed. It may even change your life. At the very least, the Concerto will restore your faith in beauty...


Blackwood plays Blackwood
Blackwood plays Blackwood
Price: £14.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Real, Beautiful Music at LONG last!!!, 3 Dec 2014
At last! A 21st century classical composer is brave enough to write beautiful, inspired music in clear diatonic keys, and say so too!!! This album is an absolute revelation. Easley Blackwood plays this wonderful selection of his recent piano music beautifully. And the music is marvellous from beginning to end. I have nothing but praise for everything here. My special favourites are the most recent works, from 1996, the two Nocturnes op.41, especially the first, in C major. Music does not get any better than this. Now, a challenge. Blackwood has proved here, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is still possible to write music in the diatonic key system. More composers need to come along now to, like him, challenge the inherent fascism in the world of contemporary music and focus on sheer beauty of sound and form once more. Rachmaninov is my favourite composer. Blackwood here in this album comes closer than anyone since the great Russian's death in 1943 to writing real, beautiful, inspired music. Long may he continue to do so.

Just one warning. If you are tempted to find out more about Blackwood, be aware that his music prior to 1981 is the complete opposite of what he writes here. It is dissonant, noisy and very uncomfortable. But in a recent interview, he admits that he realised that this kind of music was in fact a dead end creatively, which is why he returned to diatonic tonality. In this he had a similar epiphany to the great Finn Rautavaara. I urge you to check his works out too, especially the 7th Symphony, "Angel of Light", first performed in 1994, two years prior to Blackwood's Nocturnes op.41. Blackwood however goes even further into Diatonic Tonality than Rautavaara. He has done wonders here and thrown down a mighty challenge which deserves to be emphatically answered in the affirmative.

I only wish I could have given this magnificent CD 10 stars. He has restored my faith in Classical Music.


Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 4
Price: £7.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Shows Modernism Up!!, 5 May 2014
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This review is from: Symphony No. 4 (Audio CD)
See - it IS possible to write tunes in serious concert works in the 21st century. This piece inhabits a timeless and beautiful world far removed from the ugliness of Modernism. Let's have more of this. Now that Schmidt-Kowalski has shown the entire world how to do it, can there not be more young composers out there willing to take up the challenge of writing concert works of substance again that people can actually like? Come on!! Let's DO IT!!!

This is a wonderful CD of two absolutely beautiful works. Please Naxos, record his ENTIRE WORKS. And do it SOON!!!

This is revolutionary stuff. Joyful, beautiful and uplifting. And BOTH pieces were written AFTER the year 2000!!!

If there was any justice in the world, these works should be the beginning of a revolution that would see ugly Modernism swept away. Hopefully forever!

Buy this! You will not be disappointed!


Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel: The Year
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel: The Year
Price: £6.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanny Deserves to be Heard!, 5 May 2014
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Felix Mendelsohn's beloved elder sister was no slouch as a composer. This wonderful cycle, brilliantly played, shows exactly why. She has been shamefully neglected, along with many other highly accomplished female composers of the Romantic era. It is high time that ended. Hats off to Lauma Skride for bringing this piece out. It is wonderfully played and beautifully recorded. Buy it! You won't be disappointed and maybe new horizons will open up for you too...now please Lauma, record Clara Schumann's Piano Concerto and couple it with Fanny Mendelsohn's...

...a challenge for you...


Frank Martin: Music for Piano & Orchestra
Frank Martin: Music for Piano & Orchestra
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Approachable Modernism, 5 May 2014
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Modern Classical music isn't really for me. I love the Classical and Romantic eras best. But this has come close to changing my mind. Martin is an approachable modernist. He doesn't exactly write tunes, but he does write beautiful and atmospheric music that lingers in the mind long after it has been heard. So if you have an open mind, try this. It is haunting and beautiful music that deserves a place in the sun, especially the rarely heard Piano Concerto No.1 which I have now listened to many times. I shall now buy more from this composer. Maybe old Schoenberg had a point after all...


Brahms: Violin Concerto In D, Op.77 - 3. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace - Poco più presto
Brahms: Violin Concerto In D, Op.77 - 3. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace - Poco più presto
Price: £0.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Ditto!! More wonderful!!, 5 May 2014
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See my review of mvt.2. You have to buy this. It is one of the most sublime pieces ever written!!


Brahms: Violin Concerto In D, Op.77 - 2. Adagio
Brahms: Violin Concerto In D, Op.77 - 2. Adagio
Price: £0.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 5 May 2014
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I bought this to try it out. I wasn't disappointed. The slow movement is the crucial moment of repose in the Brahms and Lisa has absolutely nailed it!

Now I'm buying the rest!!


Tchaikovsky: Souvenir Russe, Violin Concerto op35
Tchaikovsky: Souvenir Russe, Violin Concerto op35
Price: £7.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Heavenly!, 5 May 2014
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This is, without a doubt, the most beautiful rendition of the Tchaikovsky concerto that I have ever heard, and I have heard hundreds of performances of this piece over the years. I never get bored though. But this performance brings something very special to it, a sense of intimacy and romance that in some routine recordings is missing. But what really makes this special is the coupling, especially the excerpt from Swan Lake, which is the best actual version of this that I've heard too! I only wish there was a DVD of Ms Skride doing this on stage with the couple from the Pas de Deux. Now that REALLY would send me into orbit, and I would never want to come back - EVER!!

I doubt very much whether there will ever be a better CD of this concerto!


A Heaven on Earth (The Barbara Cartland Pink Collection)
A Heaven on Earth (The Barbara Cartland Pink Collection)
by Barbara Cartland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, 5 May 2014
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This wonderful novella has just about everything. Romance, intrigue, a wonderful setting. But it also has profound spiritual depth, surprising in a book this size. Barbara Cartland was evidently a very deep character who was far more spiritually aware than she is given credit for. An awesome and stunning read. You won't be disappointed. I only wish I could give it 10 stars!!


Elgar: Cello Concerto In E Minor
Elgar: Cello Concerto In E Minor
Offered by MEGA Media FBA
Price: £10.41

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Single-handedly rescuing the Elgar Concerto, 16 Feb 2014
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I didn't think it was possible. I have known the Elgar's music and in particular the Cello Concerto for well over 40 years. The benchmark has always been the DuPre recording. But I have always had a problem with this piece because of that very thing. In many ways the spectre of Jacqueline DuPre has hovered relentlessly over Elgar's late masterpiece rendering it almost unplayable and virtually unlistenable for me since the late 1960's. In fact listening to the Elgar at one time made me feel almost physically ill and in the end I just stopped listening to the piece altogether. That was about 30 years ago. Then, gradually things began to change. I was wowed by the 3rd Symphony in 1998, and then by the Piano Concerto in 2005 and I realised that Elgar was not who I thought he had been at all.

This is where the wonderful Sol Gabetta comes in. This concerto was written in 1919 and thus belongs to the time of the sketches for Symphony No.3 and the Piano Concerto in C minor. It is Late Elgar. Still Romantic, but much tougher. His language was changing after World War 1, evolving into something immeasurably greater than he had been. This performance of the Cello Concerto in E minor has placed it squarely in the same place as those other two last works, the ones he didn't live to finish. And WHAT A PERFORMANCE!! Electrifying! Beautiful! And so full of heart and soul that it made me cry. If you aren't moved to tears by the opening movement in this performance, you have a heart of stone!

Sol has single-handedly retrieved the Elgar Concerto from the performance oblivion to which DuPre's recording had consigned it. I suspect that people, and not just me, will now at last be able to see the work for what it really is. A powerful, searing masterwork from a giant of a composer whose evolution into new tonal territory had not ended in 1919, but was just in its glorious beginning.

If I could give the 10 stars, it would not be enough, and I can never thank Miss Gabetta from rescuing my favourite Cello Concerto from the darkness to which I had had to reluctantly consign it.


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