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E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough)
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Wagner: Götterdämmerung
Wagner: Götterdämmerung
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £55.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Version of Wagner's Epic "Gotterdammerung", 3 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A few years ago, I purchased the DVD box set of Wagners Ring of the Nibelungs which had been filmed at the New York Metropolitan under the directorship of Brian Large and James Levine. This CD recording has been around since 1991 and was recorded shortly after the filming of Gotterdammerung. I never really bothered to purchase this CD however, because I had always loved listening to the Solti/Culshaw version recorded in Vienna as part of Decca's huge project of Wagner's Ring. This version remains to this day, the definitive version and I always thought it would be difficult to surpass.

Recently, I decided to purchase this CD Box Set because it was being offered at a really good price. I am glad I did. Listening to it, it did not take me long to understand why it won a Grammy Award in 1991, for it is a superb recording. Under the directorship of James Levine, the work is beautifully paced, and sung. The clarity of the various parts of the orchestra is amazing, and not once at any time, did the music drown out the singers. The star of course, is the late Hildegard Behrens. Make no mistake, this is a superb performance. Her voice is lighter in tone than Nillson, Jones, and even Evans and Polaski. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her interpretation of Brunnhilde's Immolation, and I must admit, I had a few tears in my eyes as she sang the final verses.

As for the other singers, the great Bass Matti Salminen who sang the role of Hagen on the stage to critical acclaim in New York and elsewhere, reprises his role here to great effect. I put him on par with that other great Bass, Gottlob Frick, who sang the role for Solti in 1964. Cheryl Studer's role as Gutrune is also very good, although she did have a hard act to follow Claire Watson whose softer and warmer voice was perhaps more suited to the role of Gutrune. I particularly liked Bernd Weikl as Gunther. Dietrich Fischer Deskau who sang the role for Solti was always going to be another difficult act to follow, but Weikl here is wonderful in the role. Hanna Schwarz sings Waltraute, and Ekkehard Wlaschina sings Alberich along with Helga Dernesch, Tatiana Troyanos, and Andrea Gruber as the Three Norns; and Hei-Kyung Hong, Diane Kesling, with Meredith Parsons as the Rhinemaidens make up the rest of the cast.

And now, for the weaknesses. I have to agree with some reviewers elsewhere, that Reiner Goldberg's role as Siegfried is a disappointment. During the first two acts, Goldberg makes Siegfried sound like a wimp rather than the hero he is supposed to be. His voice lacks the strength and depth of a real Heldentenor which is a pity. He is certainly no Windgassen, nor Jerusalem. In fairness, however, during Act Three, he shows a marked improvement, and does manage to convey more strength to his voice particularly during the final moments leading to his death by Hagen.

James Levine, the master that he is, coaxes some beautiful playing from the orchestra. I was moved to tears by the final bars as he got the tempi just right. Some conductors tend to rush the final coda, robbing it of its beauty. The music describing the burning of Valhalla and Wotan, the Gods and all the warriors as Twilight of The Gods reaches its dramatic end. At times, Levine's tempi is a little slow, bit slower than Solti, but it works beautifully, and I cannot praise this section of the Opera highly enough.

My only other quibble though is that Act Three begins on Disc Three rather than Disc Four, when many other versions have the entire Act Three on one disc. Still, it is a minor quibble and does not distract from this worthy version of a great Opera.

An excellent version of Gotterdammerung, despite its minor weakness, and well worth the price it is being offered. I would imagine copies are becoming rarer these days and may end up as collectors items demanding high prices. Even if you already have other versions, go for this one if you can.


BT Inspire 1500 Trio Digital Cordless Phone with Answer Machine - Black
BT Inspire 1500 Trio Digital Cordless Phone with Answer Machine - Black
Offered by liGo
Price: £69.99

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Useful Phone Package, 26 Oct 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I had been needing some extra phones for my homes for some time now, so I decided to give this package a try. There are three handsets available in this package.

First impressions were favourable. Three neat looking handsets with clear interface, and slightly larger than normal keypad making it easier to read the numbers. They were also easy to handle once lifted off the base, fitting comfortably in the palm of my hand. Moreover, since they were free standing, there were no telephone lines restricting movement. It should be noted that all phones need to be fully charged for at least 24 hours before plugging the main phone line into the telephone connection socket on the wall, otherwise they may not work.

Once the phones are fully charged, the setting up was quite straightforward. The instruction leaflet was very clear and precise. It was no 40 page booklet which would drive any would be user nuts attempting to analyse it; thank goodness!! Just a simple folded leaflet which was more than adequate.

As for calls, just type in the numbers, or if you prefer, you can create a name/number list in the directory which can be found on the menu page clearly highlighted on the interface. You can create a directory of up to 100 entries if you wish. Useful if you are running a small business.

There are also some useful features on the phone as well. For those with hearing problems there is a volume control on the handset. There is also an alarm set. And also a Texting service feature. However, you will have to subscribe to Caller Display service with your network provider if you wish to use this service. I would imagine though, that since most people use mobiles phones for texting, this may not be necessary.

It should be mentioned also that phones two and three can be placed anywhere in the home without the necessity of trailing phone line extensions. This is extremely useful and worthwhile. The base on which the phones stand however, should be kept near a wall socket since the batteries (supplied with the set) need to be re-charged occasionally. The cable required to recharge the phone in the wall socket is also provided with the set.

The answer phone is one of the easiest I have ever used. Quite straightforward with any calls being clearly numbered. To sum up, this is a very nice package and will satisfy any user. I found it a pleasure to use.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2012 1:10 PM GMT


Berlin: The Downfall, 1945
Berlin: The Downfall, 1945
by Antony Beevor
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Book on Berlin in 1945, 24 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Being a historian I was pleased to be given the opportunity to read this extraordinary book detailing those final terrible months of world war two, culminating amidst the ruins of a once great city which became socially, economically and politically divided until November 1989 when the communist system collapsed and Berlin and Germany was united.

It is not easy reading, it is not meant to be. The rules of war and civilised behaviour on the eastern front had ended long ago, from 1941 onwards. Soviet troops hell bent on vengeance after the terrible slaughter in Russia by German troops swept through eastern Germany inflicting terrible losses on both military and civilian personnel. Stalin, determined to get to Berlin first, had no reservations about Soviet casualties. As it turned out, the Russians lost 300,000 troops taking Berlin itself. The greater tragedy however, befell ordinary civilians, especially women. Thousands were raped, suffering appalling indignities. Such was the horrors of war as it was at that time.

Antony Beevor certainly pulls no punches in his long narrative about the final battle itself. However, his description of the final hours of Hitler and Eva Braun is rather vague. As Traudl Junge, Hitler's secretary explained in a TV interview many years ago, she and others did hear the final shot ending Hitler's life. Here, he explains that no one heard the shot. Nevertheless, despite this quibble, it is a must read book. Needs to be read.


Wagner: Gotterdammerung
Wagner: Gotterdammerung
Offered by dkempost
Price: £10.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Live Performance of Wagner, 24 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wagner: Gotterdammerung (Audio CD)
Recorded live during 1995, it is not a bad performance or recording. I am not familiar with the orchestra and singers, but I did enjoy listening to this.

It does not match some of the great performances and recordings of previous years, but it is a Live performance and it is a worthwhile listen. Some scenes perhaps lack the extra finesse of other performances, the tempi is variable which does affect the atmosphere of certain scenes such as the prelude to Act Two for instance. However, the Immolation is very well done and Carla Pohl sings extremely well.

The other point about this box set is the price. It is one of the lowest prices ever offered for a version of Gotterdammerung, and Wagnerians should seriously consider purchasing this to add to their collection.


'Allo 'Allo! - Series 8 & 9 [1992] [DVD]
'Allo 'Allo! - Series 8 & 9 [1992] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gorden Kaye
Price: £10.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine End To A Wonderful Series, 23 Aug 2011
Having bought the entire series of 'Allo 'Allo, and thoroughly enjoyed watching them right through, albeit over a period of a few weeks, all 85 episodes, I have to say it was one of the best and one of the most popular comedy series ever devised by BBC. I must admit however, that by the time I started to watch series 8, I did notice it was becoming a little stale, even though there are more than enough laughs to keep the fans happy. Sadly, some of the original cast had moved on by then. Italian Captain Bertorelli had disappeared, and so had the British airmen, although Carstairs and Fairfax did make a cameo appearance almost near the end of Series 9. Richard Gibson had moved on at the end of series 8 to be replaced by David Jensen who did a fine job though. Jack Haig whose amazing portrayal of Leclerc had been one of the highlights of the series had sadly died a couple of years previously. Still, some of the original cast were still around to provide more laughs right up until the end of the series when British commandos stormed into Cafe Rene, a scene which was pure farce by the way.

The series ended with a sentimental scene as years after the war, Lt Gruber, now married to Helga, (now that was a surprise!) visit Nouvion to look up Rene and Edith and to catch up on old times. I bet some fans had tears in their eyes, for the reunion was very touching, and quite funny too!

My only quibble with the final set though was that there are no extras to speak off, and the 1991 Christmas Special was added to Disc 3 at the bottom of the episode list when it should have been on at the beginning of Disc 1. Sloppy BBC!


Falla/Albéniz/Turina: Nights In The Gardens Of Spain
Falla/Albéniz/Turina: Nights In The Gardens Of Spain
Price: £17.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finest Version Ever?, 2 Aug 2011
A sublime work composed by Manual De Falla, it is one of my favorite all time pieces of music. I first heard this version during the 1980s and to this day, after numerous hearings, it never fails to excite or move me. The performance is beautifully paced, never rushed, it just flows. The recording is very good too, you can hear the hushed string tones at times, and during the final bars as the strings start to soar, the lower piano keys can be heard quite clearly, music which brings a lump to the throat. I cannot recommend this version highly enough.

The remainder of the CD is very good too, and even though it may seem to be an expensive purchase, it is extremely worthwhile.


Judge John Deed Series 5 - Episodes 1 - 4 [DVD]
Judge John Deed Series 5 - Episodes 1 - 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Martin Shaw
Price: £5.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Season Five The Best Of Judge Deed?, 2 Aug 2011
I have always thought that season five of Judge Deed contains some of the best episodes in the entire series. It is a pity of course that the final two parts are now unlikely ever to be seen. So, be content with four strong story lines which are some of the best. The highlight is the first story Hard-Gating which is one of the strongest in the entire series. I found that some of the scenes were a little distressing bearing in mind the nature of the case being heard, an act of cannibalism in a prison cell. And some of the other scenes were profoundly moving as the mother of the murdered prisoner struggles to come to terms with what had happened to her son; and the barristers in court struggled to find the words during their summing up which they had to abandon. A remarkable episode.

The other episodes are also very good indeed and fans will find much to enjoy. The usual cast play above themselves, Martin Shaw, Jenny Seagrove, Sir Donald Sinden, Caroline Langrishe and other regulars. Picture quality and sound, courtesy of BBC Television is first class.


Judge John Deed (BBC) - Series 6 [Import]
Judge John Deed (BBC) - Series 6 [Import]
Offered by brrsales
Price: £9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final Season For Judge Deed, 2 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been a great fan of Judge Deed since I first started to watch them on BBC a few years back. One thing struck me though was the consistency of all six series regarding performances, and story lines. Criticized for being far fetched which is probably true since it is unlikely that any high court Judge would behave in this way. Nevertheless, it is just television drama, and a damn good one too.

The final series contains two episodes split into four parts. Both are extremely watchable and thought provoking, especially the story set in The Hague around a war crimes tribunal. With good supporting casts such as Kim Thomson, Juliet Aubrey and Murray Head. Picture quality is also very good, and enhanced by a dolby digital soundtrack. For those die hard fans who have enjoyed the previous five series, I am sure they will add this one to complete the set.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2011 10:04 PM BST


The Stud/The Bitch [DVD]
The Stud/The Bitch [DVD]
Dvd ~ Joan Collins
Offered by fabfilmfactory
Price: £48.24

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 1970s Sexy Romp, 1 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Stud/The Bitch [DVD] (DVD)
I recall seeing these two films on my local ABC Cinema during the late 1970s and remembering enjoying them too. Although they have dated badly, they are still worth seeing today just to see how life has changed for many of us who lived in those far off days, especially the costumes, cars, music and locations. I particularly liked the background disco music which brought back a lot of memories. It was of course, during the same era as the classic disco film Saturday Night Fever which had been released in 1978.

Joan Collins portrays Fontaine Khalid(some name eh?) a wealthy disco owner who also has a voracious sexual appetite. Becoming involved (not emotionally) with Tony Blake, played by Oliver Tobias, an ambitious young man who desperately wants to own his own disco. They share a strong sexual relationship which eventually destroys her marriage to a wealthy businessman. There are some hilarious scenes in this, and some rather raunchier scenes too. Guest stars are Emma Jacobs, along with Sue Lloyd and Mark Burns.

The Bitch I rather enjoyed as slightly better of the two. Once again, Fontaine Khalid wheels and deals her way through various men for sexual pleasure, and others for business purposes. Set around the high class area behind The Hilton and Park Lane Hotels, it provides glimpses of what London was like in those far off days. Guest stars are Michael Coby, Ian Hendry, Sue Lloyd and Mark Burns. An enjoyable romp.

As for the DVD presentations, I found the picture quality and sound not too bad at all considering that the ages of both films are more than 30 years old. There are trailers available and little else.

Worth buying considering the low price which is great value.


Dynasty Season 1 [DVD] [1980]
Dynasty Season 1 [DVD] [1980]
Dvd ~ John Forsythe
Price: £10.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good First Season for Dynasty, 3 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I agree with most of the reviews here that there is much to enjoy in this very first season of Dynasty which eventually ran for nine seasons during the 1980s. I recall watching these episodes during the first transmission on BBC from 1981 onwards. They had more than enough good storylines to keep fans happy until the final season when it eventually died a slow death as many of the original cast drifted out of the series, including Linda Evans and Joan Collins who by that time was only making occasional appearances.

Of course, this first season was about setting the tone of what was to come. One of the key storylines concerned Blake Carrington struggling to come to terms with his son's Steven homosexuality. Another was his daughter, Fallon, whose strange marriage to Jeff Colby highlighted his rivalry in business with Cecil Colby. On top of all that, there was the relationship between Matthew Blaisdale and his mentally unstable wife, Claudia and their daughter. Guest starring was Dale Robertson so well known from his Wells Fargo days made during the 1950s, a veteran actor who sadly only stayed for one season.

Including the first episode "Oil" which was a 135 minute episode with the pilot and first two episodes crammed together, there are 15 episodes all told. A short season then until later seasons which were made up of about 26 episodes on average. The opening theme music is brilliant, and it was changed slightly for later seasons.

Picture quality is rather good on my copy with a decent soundtrack. A good first season for Dynasty. Roll on Season Two when Joan Collins playing Alexis makes her presence known.


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