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Things to Come [Blu-ray] [1936]
Things to Come [Blu-ray] [1936]
Dvd ~ Raymond Massey
Price: £14.56

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Blu-ray transfer., 17 Aug 2014
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A disappointing Blu-ray conversion. Having recently purchased All Quiet on the Western Front, an even older film than Things to Come, and been very impressed by the quality of both picture and sound I had hoped for more of the same here. I can't remember what the picture quality of the original film was like and so don't know what sort of material the technicians had to work with. The picture isn't bad but it's nothing like what we have to come to expect with Blu-ray refurbishments. It has quite a grainy quality having nothing like the sharp clarity Blu-ray normally provides. The sound, however, is even more of a problem. The wonderful music of Sir Arthur Bliss is reproduced with a harsh distortion that eventually becomes fatiguing to listen to. Surely a better job could have been done to clean up the sound here. Also the dialogue has an alarming tendency to come and go, almost giving the impression that actors are moving away from the microphones - I'm reminded of those hilarious sequences in the film 'Singin' in the Rain' where the actress Jean Hagen attempts to come to terms with speaking movies. Again I can't remember what the sound was like on the original film but I'm sure it was not as bad as this.

The film itself is of its time but despite the holes that can be picked in it still remains a classic. The set designs are wonderful and the war sequences are very well done. The attack on the moon gun is particularly fine. Some of the dialogue, however, will require a little tolerance, particularly the grand speeches that sound somewhat like preaching. HG Wells was obviously trying to get a message across here but it is conveyed in a somewhat portentous manner. Cedric Hardwicke, in particular, sounds like he is delivering a Shakespearean monologue from a Victorian Stage. Very hammy. All in all then a classic film disappointingly refurbished for Blu-ray.


Scriabin: Le Poeme de l'Extase; Piano Concerto; Prometheus
Scriabin: Le Poeme de l'Extase; Piano Concerto; Prometheus
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £14.72

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to Scriabin, 19 Jun 2014
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I used to have these recordings on vinyl but never got around to purchasing them on CD. In the interim many new releases of these works appeared but none quite matched my remembrance of just how good these performances were. The performance of the piano concerto in particular is a real gem and has not been matched by anything I've heard since. I can't understand why this work is not heard more often in the concert hall. It's a quite beautiful concerto, the slow movement being particularly earcatching. This is an early work and so the other two later works are rather different but not at all difficult to listen to. The Poem of Ecstasy is just that, almost orgasmic and building to an enormous climax. Some critics have equated this to the musical equivalent of love making. I can hear what they mean. Prometheus is a much more mystical work with a substantial part for piano and the late entry of a wordless chorus at the end, together with organ. Scriabin wanted some sort of a light show to accompany the music but the technology of the day meant that this could not be carried out with any great success. It could probably be done today quite spectacularly. Nonetheless, strip away all the mysticism and you have a very colourful work that too, builds to a massive climax. These two works are also given wonderful performances by Maazel and the whole disc benefits from superb analogue Decca engineering. Strongly recommended.


Rozsa: Film Music Suites [Rumon Gamba, BBC Philharmonic] [Chandos: CHAN 10806]
Rozsa: Film Music Suites [Rumon Gamba, BBC Philharmonic] [Chandos: CHAN 10806]
Price: £14.46

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing sound spoiling what would have been a great compilation., 11 Mar 2014
This would have been a great compilation, Rumon Gamba and the BBC Phil give their very considerable best to some splendid music, but have been let down by the recorded quality. I would go much further than the previous reviewer who said that the sound could have more brilliance, I think it sounds positively murky. The general effect is an homogeneous rather distanced sound. Where are the violins, they are so recessed that they lose the sumptuous quality so important in this music, the brass lack the necessary brilliant edge and the woodwind are buried within the overall sound picture. The bass drum makes an impressive thump but doesn't sound very realistic and the timps sound like they are rattling away in a cupboard. One only has to play a few bars of Rozsa's recording of Ben Hur, currently available on a Decca Australian Eloquence issue coupled with a tremendous account of the music from Quo Vadis, to be knocked sideways by the magnificent recorded sound, recorded in the 70's and analogue to boot. This is not what one expects from a Chandos recording but I have noticed that many of their issues in recent years, particularly from Manchester, all share similar qualities to those I've described. I remember Chandos in their early days produced some of the finest recordings going, matching warmth and brilliance in ideal proportions. A disappointing issue then, I think Chandos should go back to the mixing desk with this one and try to produce a recording that lives up to their former high standards.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 10, 2014 3:28 AM BST


Icon - Paavo Berglund
Icon - Paavo Berglund
Price: £30.58

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful recorded collection of the work of the late lamented Paavo Berglund, 31 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Icon - Paavo Berglund (Audio CD)
As a long time supporter member of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra I was overjoyed when this box set was released. I just had to have it. I have great memories of many of these performances both in the concert hall and on vinyl. Their reappearance on CD is most welcome and I have to say that, for the most part, the recorded sound as remastered is superb. The highlights are surely the Shostakovich performances. Anyone who still thinks of the Bournemouth orchestra as a mere provincial band will surely change their mind on hearing these performances. Bearing in mind that the recordings were made in the Seventies it was already evident what a superb orchestra they were then and still remain. The quality of their work is down to the efforts of first, Constantin Silvestri and, second, Paavo Berglund. They laid the foundations for the splendid orchestra the BSO has now become.

Apart from the Shostakovich the Nielsen 5th Symphony also receives a gripping performance and I was also much taken with the Franck Symphony, one performance and recording that I was not familiar with. There is also an outstanding performance of the Sibelius Kullervo Symphony this with Helsinki forces, although the earlier recording with the BSO is also very fine and recorded in a slightly more sympathetic acoustic, the Helsinki performance seems to have taken place in a rather dry environment. Finally, there are two very fine performances of symphonies by Vaughan Williams, the 4th played by the Royal Philharmonic and the 6th by the BSO. It's not surprising that Berglund chose these two particular works. Their powerful and somewhat bleak qualities do reflect his Nordic character. The lighter fare also shows that the rather stern looking Berglund could also do lollipops in the Beecham style. The Shostakovich Symphonies are the centre piece of this set and these performances and recordings are more than a match for any of the more recent issues of these works. The whole box is thoroughly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 29, 2014 3:40 PM BST


Tellurium Q Blue Speaker Cable 2.5m Pair Terminated with 4mm Z Banana Plugs
Tellurium Q Blue Speaker Cable 2.5m Pair Terminated with 4mm Z Banana Plugs
Offered by Analogue Seduction
Price: £95.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This speaker cable lives up to the all the hype surrounding it. Strongly recommended., 29 Nov 2013
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The cables arrived within the estimated delivery dates. The Tellurium Q Blue Speaker Cable is the entry level speaker cable from this company and has been very well reviewed by various hi-fi publications with the suggestion that they were something a little bit special. On the basis of the reviews I decided to give them a try. Even straight from the packaging I was impressed and as they have burnt in I have become just a little bit amazed by the improvement in the sounds emanating from my speakers. This is even more so as I have been using for some time speaker cable considerably more expensive than the Tellurium. They have been blown away by the Tellurium cables. I don't know what kind of snake oil the company has employed but I'm now listening to my collection all over again and hearing detail that I didn't know existed. Also very impressive is the bass clarity and punch that these cables produce. I can hear every note that the bass guitar player is plucking, That adds immeasurably to my listening pleasure. The company makes a range of cables and one wonders what revelations might appear by going more upmarket.


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