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Sandra "the_gentleman_hunted" (Rome, Italy)

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Rome: Profile of a City, 312-1308
Rome: Profile of a City, 312-1308
by Richard Krautheimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £32.23

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recounting the making of a city, 3 Mar 2006
A fascinating reading, "Rome: Profile of a City, 312-1308" reconstructs the way in which events and passions reshaped the city of Rome after the end of the Roman Empire, from the insertion of Byzantine buildings and churches in the urban tissue to the progressive release of land from monasteries to build the medieval Rome, from the refusal of St. John in Lateran as symbol of Christianity to the increasing favour of pilgrims and local people for the holy sites of St. Peter's and St. Paul's. Roman ruins became the main walls of early Middle Ages buildings. Ancient temples turned into marketplaces. Towers flourished everywhere - for aggression and defence - even one (now destroyed) to spy into the Palace of Popes at St. John in Lateran. Monasteries enlarged immoderately in territory and power, then scaled down giving up land for building the core of the historical centre of present-day Rome - from Circo Massimo to Piazza del Popolo. Krautheimer's narration helps readers regain the historical reason behind streets, churches and buildings of pre-Renaissance Rome.

Mrs Brown [DVD] [1997]
Mrs Brown [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Judi Dench

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Remains of the Day" in Victorian Age, 3 Mar 2006
This review is from: Mrs Brown [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
What an intriguing film maker John Madden is. His Oscar-winning "Shakespeare in Love" is centred on the path of young Shakespeare from anonymity to greatness - a period in writer's life about which we know practically nothing. From a subject equally elusive and much gossiped at its time - the nature of relationship between servant John Brown and Queen Victoria of England - Madden elicits in "Mrs. Brown" a powerful, sadly cruel and incredibly fascinating fresco of the eternally torn relationship between men and institutions, power constraints and individual drives. In a film with many qualities, the greatest is that Madden films as he breathes, drawing the maximum liveness and emotion from actors, photography, scenery and music for a Story always in motion. Scenes like Sir Henry Ponsonby introducing John Brown to the rules of service for the widowed Victoria, the cat-and-mouse power game between Brown, Private Secretary Ponsonby and the Queen, the fictional "historical interview" of the subtle prime minister Disraeli with a restless and increasingly disillusioned Brown, the impact of the servant with the Queen's coming back to public life are all moments of great cinema. They reminded me of the best achievements of Italian film maker Luchino Visconti. Not casually Visconti, like Madden, took inspired, unconventional choices for key roles in "Senso" ("The Wanton Countess") and "Il Gattopardo" ("The Leopard") to avoid having the main characters entangled by the rhetoric of History. Composer Stephen Warbeck and cinematographer Richard Greatrex teamed up again with Madden for "Shakespeare in Love".

Master Serie
Master Serie
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £40.02

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Alan Stivell, 13 Feb 2006
This review is from: Master Serie (Audio CD)
Starting with the irresistible "Ian Morrisson Reel", this album is a series of instrumental and vocal ballads, representing the major achievements of musician Alan Stivell at the beginning of the seventies - from the breton arrangements in "Broceliande" and "Reflets" to the celtic rock of "Pop-Plinn", from "Renaissance de la harpe celtique" and the concert at the Olympia in Paris to the album "Chemins de terre". Elegance of touch and purity of sound emerge from the instrumental ballads. This is especially true of the delicate and beautiful "Suite des Montagnes", where infinitesimal harp variations enliven the composition with poetical or dramatical moments. From the same album - "Reflets" - comes the exquisite "Suite Irlandaise", with sound effects anticipating compositions like "Children of the River" from Secret Garden or "Comb Your Hair and Curl It" from Kim Robertson. The vocal ballads - "Tri Martolod", "Suite Sudarmoricaine" and "Marig Ar Pollanton" in breton, "Reflets" in french, "Wind of Keltia" in english - are the expression of an encounter between celtic, rock and country music. In "Tri Martolod", singing spreads out brightly. In "Reflets", a chanted singing seems to emerge literally from the harp, gaining from it in trend and rhythm. "Wind of Keltia" is a ballad with a traditional taste, performed with an intense singing. Curious, but beautiful the mocking style of "Suite Sudarmoricaine". The harp solo at the beginning of "Marig Ar Pollanton" melts with guitar and harmonica into a country music hint that turns into a wide-ranging singing, a true hymn to music, gaining more and more charm all along the listening.

Fools of Fortune
Fools of Fortune
by William Trevor
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "You can pass by anything and not know", 8 Feb 2006
This review is from: Fools of Fortune (Paperback)
"Fools of fortune" is the drama of an Anglo-Irish Protestant family, recounted by Irish novelist William Trevor - born in 1928 in the same County Cork at the centre of this story. Because of the ideological and economical support given from Mr. and Mrs. Quinton to Michael Collins and the Irish cause, when an Irish spy of the Black and Tans is found hanged on Quinton land, the retaliation of the Black and Tans against the house of Kilneagh is terrible - plunging the surviving son Willie, his mother Evie, his love interest Marianne and their illegitimate child Imelda in a spiral of pain, revenge, terror and madness through generations. But while the other Trevor novel on the Irish cause, "The Story of Lucy Gault", is a master-work and already an enduring classic, "Fools of Fortune" is powerful in plot but broken in carrying it out. There are many - maybe too much - genres of novel in this book, following the different characters: historical all along, in a background reconstruction exact in details, but too often devolved to the simple suggestion of famous names; pseudo-autobiographical in Dickensian style for Willie's youthness (the worst part of the book); sickly romantic for pregnant Marianne wandering in search of her lover (the best part of the book). Other notable sequences are the scene in which Evie gives a name to the slayer of her husband and daughters, and the horror narrative of little Imelda plunging into a ghastly past. Another weak point of the novel is Willie's change - at first willing only to forget, then bloody avenger - a turn that is not in Willie's character as largely described in the book. "Fools of fortune" resembles the red and blue kite of little Imelda: beautiful and sometimes lively, but too often losing height. If you like William Trevor style and/or are interested in the central theme of "Fools of fortune" - the devastation brought on individuals from the state of war in Ireland between 1916 and 1923 - try the heartrending perfection of "The Story of Lucy Gault" for better fortune.

Price: £6.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No more bitter winds, no more troubles seas ..., 30 Jan 2006
This review is from: Landmarks (Audio CD)
"Landmarks" is a miracle of class, marked by a stylization and rarefaction of sound from celtic tradition, but without the nullification of music and performers of the deceiving "Macalla". "Landmarks" is also a personal triumph for lead vocalist Máire Brennan. She signs here words and music of the ballads "Of This Land" and "Let Me See", and gives life to some of her most striking interpretations. Song texts are a fine work of poetry in this album - other notable contributions coming from Noel Duggan for "The Bridge of Tears" and from Ciarán Brennan for "Autumn Leaves Are Falling". In the ballad for guitar and low whistle "Fadó" the voice of Máire, cradling the song words of Padraig Duggan, turns regret into melody. "A Mhuirnín O" is a rhythmically playful record of a fancied celtic ritual, very much a Clannad tradition. "Of This Land" is a vocal ballad on Ireland for low whistle, uillean pipes, spanish guitar and bodhrán, with a slow, beatiful cadency. A joyful guitar record, "The Golden Ball" creates a musical break before the magnificent romanticism of the poetical "The Bridge Of Tears" where, in a musical aura of guitars and uillean pipes, the limpid voice of Máire tells us of hurting emotions from 'The last embrace, the final touch' - rendering the end of a love with intense, haunting tone. A sax solo introduces "Autumn Leaves Are Falling", where you can touch with hand the level of confidence and maturity of her performer. My heart goes to Máire's ballad "Let Me See", performed upon a splendid text with a quality of voice that defies any description. "Loch Na Caillí" ends the album as it begins - under the sign of grace. I own "Landmarks" in the 1998 edition, so I don't honestly know the effect of the remastering on the sound quality of the original.

A Better Man
A Better Man
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A roller coaster experience, 23 Jan 2006
This review is from: A Better Man (Audio CD)
I bought this CD after listening to Brian Kennedy's performance of "You Raise Me Up" in Secret Garden album "Once in a Red Moon". The impressive tone-beginning of "Better Man" accentuates the disappointment for the excessive role of musical accompaniment in this and the following record, "For One Kiss", where the gifted voice of the singer is subdued by an instrumentation not always in tune with song and performer. "A Better Man" begins to be a Brian Kennedy album with the third record, "Won't You Take Me Home", where the complexity of tones in his voice comes out as the song centerpiece. After gaining confidence in "No Other Words", Brian lands to the British/Nashville love song "And So I Will Wait For You", where vocal and musical performance, strikingly low-keyed in the crystal clarity of the beginning, lose their way in a series of easy effects alien to the tone and situation of the song - preserving only the intense crescendo rendition of the refrain. After clashing in "Life Love And Happiness" and "Oldest Dream In The World", musical and vocal register match again in "Put The Message In The Box", a nineties lyric by Karl Wallinger, with a Brian Kennedy perfectly at ease with the vein of the song: his voice takes possession of the record and is able to get vocal energy from its rhythmic strength. The following song "By The Mountain Road" adds to this mixed album a splendid record of great purity, dominated by a voice extending itself effortlessy and endlessly all along.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2013 12:58 PM GMT

Play Gaelic
Play Gaelic
Offered by MMT-UK
Price: £36.72

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A gentle diving into Gaelic Seventies, 18 Jan 2006
This review is from: Play Gaelic (Audio CD)
Released in 1978, this first Runrig album it's a time machine - taking you back to the kind of eeried folk-rock atmospheres styled by musicians like Simon and Garfunkel or America all along the Sixties and Seventies. A special mention for the energetic "Duisg mo Run" and "Tillidh" and for the set of ballads "Sunndach", "An Ros" and "Chi mi'n Geamhradh". Not exactly what I expected. It's a pleasant, fine-sounding, relaxing listening that still retains the original freshness - but if you love celtic music taking root in your soul, you should navigate other waters.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2010 4:38 AM GMT

The Gab O Mey
The Gab O Mey
Price: £12.13

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a refreshing Scottish breeze blows from this album .., 5 Jan 2006
This review is from: The Gab O Mey (Audio CD)
"The Gab O Mey" encounters my liking for instrumental and vocal performers with a strong sensibility in rendering the musicality of their native language in all its subtlety of accent and sonority. Scottish lead singer and songwriter Jim Malcolm is particularly elegant and distinctive under this aspect, and he is well served by the band. "Monymusk Lads/The Grappa Groove" and "Wild Rumpus" open the album with a musical panorama in crescendo on the style of singer and performers. The following "Bogie's Bonny Belle" is a particularly fine ballad - Jim Malcolm performs here with vocal elegance and an intense, not rhetoric expression of sentiment. The traditional ballad "Wisest Fool" is at the centre of the album and also at the centre of Jim Malcolm's heart, and you feel it. In "Archie Beag" and "Breton and Galician Set" the instrumental performers free their virtuosity, with a lot of energy in the first composition and a particular lightness of touch in the second one, while "Lads o the Fair" and "Lochanside" are more traditional, but equally enjoyable. What about the final "Rolling Home" ? It's a sea ballad that will please all Patrick O'Brian fans .. If you like Lunasa, you will also like Old Blind Dogs - Lunasa playing style is more aggressive while Old Blind Dogs have a lighter touch, but they are all equally lively and impressive in their approach to celtic music.

Sensus [Us Import]
Sensus [Us Import]
Price: £18.93

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jazz and blues singer rented to fado - to our blessing, 5 Jan 2006
This review is from: Sensus [Us Import] (Audio CD)
"Sensus" is a splendid exercise of virtuosities - from singer, lyrics writer and music performers. Cristina Branco is not a traditional performer of fado, nor fado is her only musical experience - a fact that adds richness and complexity to this album. "Soneto de Separação" opens the album with an eerie and doleful passage from love to loneliness. "Se a Alma Te Reprova" is a sonnet of William Shakespeare transposed in Portuguese music and words - a masterpiece of richness and soulfulness in voice, with an intense musical accompaniment in Elisabethian style. "Ninfas" is a pagan and labyrinthian passage of Camoes poem "Os Lusíadas" - put in music to offer to Cristina a brilliant opportunity to enlighten the complex sonority of Portuguese language. "Um Fado: Palavras Minhas" is a traditional, strongly cadenced, beautiful fado composition. Finally in "Ca Mi Queria" the joyful voice of Cristina Branco has its last occasion to play with words, sentiments and music in her magnificent album. "Sensus" is also a very good introduction to Portuguese guitar: if you like it, try "Guitarra-O Melhor De Carlos Paredes" or "Canto" by Misia.

Price: £12.80

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A collection of vocal gems, 5 Jan 2006
This review is from: Crosswinds (Audio CD)
The instrumental part of Capercaillie album "Crosswinds" is the kind of old-fashioned records that are typical of the beginnings of many celtic bands - Clannad is a good example. But "Crosswinds" is also a not-to-miss album for the vocal part - because it is blessed by five of the most outstanding solo performances in Gaelic language from the lead vocal of the Capercaillie band, Scottish singer Karen Matheson. You will fall in love with the soprano-like "Soraidh Bhuam Gu Barraidh", the airy "Am Buachaille Ban", the soulful and sweet "Ma Theid Mise Tuilleagh", the solemn "Urnaigh A 'bhan Thigreach" and the celestial "An Ribhinn Donn". If you like soulful voices with a lyric and limpid richness of tone and a strong ability to illuminate the accents and sonorities of their native language - like Portuguese performer Cristina Branco - the superior voice of Karen Matheson will be with you forever.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2012 3:09 PM BST

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