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marcus_cheshire "johnnylondon"

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Vienna Concert
Vienna Concert
Offered by Film_&_Music
Price: 9.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required listening, 8 Mar 2014
This review is from: Vienna Concert (Audio CD)
FIrst of all, I can't believe there are only four reviews for this seminal recording.

I've owned a copy ever since it was released - and to me, it's the finest of Keith Jarrett's solo recordings. The first half is just sublime, and so well balanced you'd almost think he'd worked out the ideas in advance (!). A meditative groove opens up and doesn't modulate for 15 minutes - Jarrett lovingly explores it in a way I can only describe as a prolonged caress. Then, the music shifts, and loses any tonal centre, before he unleashes the most incredible torrent of notes that gradually assemble themselves into a huge tune - it's like a massive flock of migrating birds that despite the confusion, make beautiful patterns. The closing minutes become a hymn.

If I had my way, I'd have this played at my funeral, and insist that they played every last bloody note!

It doesn't matter what this music is: it's essential, life-affirming, and deserves an hour of your best quiet attention.

Classic CD, Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 'pathetique' & 12 Romance for violin and piano[002kr]
Classic CD, Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 'pathetique' & 12 Romance for violin and piano[002kr]
Offered by Softbayglobal
Price: 18.52

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Recording, 9 Dec 2013
Sometimes, when you look at new classical releases, and see yet another Beethoven cycle, yet another Mahler pairing, yet another "Marriage of Figaro", it's tempting to think "why on earth do we need this"?. Very often, the answer is that we don't.

So why did I buy yet another recording of Tchaikovsky's brilliant 6th Symphony? And was it worthwhile?

Well, both questions are easy to answer. I bought it because I have heard Yannick Nezet-Seguin's work before, and really admired it. This recording was not a disappointment, nor does it take up any more shelf space than it deserves. The sound of the Rotterdam Philharmonic is beautifully captured: the dynamics are caught at both ends (the first movement's stormy central section falls like an avalanche) - and the musicianship is first rate. The central movements maybe don't quite live up to the superlative standard set by the first, but the heartbreaking fourth is caught to perfection: neither hurried nor self-indulgently laboured, it's brought off just beautifully.

If you enjoy the 6th (and I find it hard to understand how anyone wouldn't) - then don't hesitate to treat yourself to a copy of this recording, however many you might already own.

There's a surprise too: Nezet-Seguin accompanies Lisa Batiashvili in settings of Tchaikovsky's songs (Op. 6 and Op.73) arranged for violin and piano. If I were you, I'd skip the earlier Op. 6 arrangements if you've just had your emotions trashed by the fourth movement of the symphony: but the Op. 73 settings make an apt and moving addendum to the symphony: the violin playing is first-rate, as you'd expect - and Mr Nezet-Seguin is an accomplished partner.

There aren't any other reviews yet: I hope that those who follow enjoy this disc as much as I did.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 8, 2014 10:43 AM GMT

Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 [Vasily Petrenko] [Naxos: 8.573188]
Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 [Vasily Petrenko] [Naxos: 8.573188]
Price: 6.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A superb achievement, 21 Nov 2013
As I'm sure a lot of people will know, Vasily Petrenko and the RLPO have been recording all the Shostakovich symphonies over a period of a few years now. What fewer people outside the Liverpool area might know is that this is not simply a recording project: all of the symphonies have received live performances (often more than once), and the recordings have as far as I know been made around the same time as the live performances (although they are not "live" in the sense of concert recordings).

In other words, a lot of work has gone into these interpretations and performances.

In this fantastic recording of the 4th Symphony, the best evidence of the thought and care that's been put in to this performance comes about half way through the first movement, in the frenetic and dizzying string fugue. I've never, ever heard such a clear and exciting recording of this passage before.

Of course, you may already know and love the earlier "Russian" recordings of Shostakovich 4- and yes, this sounds very different to Kondrashin or Mravisnky. It's pointless to debate what might be "authentic" or not: the fact is that this is a highly skilled and motivated orchestra, captured in perfect sound, playing the music to the very highest standards. I can only recommend that you buy it and listen to it - and hope that you enjoy it as much as I do,

How Music Works
How Music Works
by David Byrne
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but...., 29 April 2013
This review is from: How Music Works (Hardcover)
...the title flatters to deceive. "How Music Works for Me" would have been a more accurate description. This is really no more than a loose collection of David Byrne's musings on the music biz with a little bit of pseudo-science thrown into the mix.

As it is, it is an entertaining, but sometimes loose-knit and rambly selection that could have done with some serious editing. Unfortunately, Byrne draws no distinction between drawing on his own experiences (which is interesting), and drawing on accepted knowledge (which is infuriating). For example, admitting that he has next to no knowledge of Western Classical music does not stop him from comparing its performing tradition unfavourably with his own brand of "music for the people" based purely on the (supposed) demographic of its audience.

I have always enjoyed David Byrne and Talking Heads' recorded music and rate "Stop Making Sense" as one of the very best music films ever made - but he is less than honest about his aims in this book - which makes it a frustrating read. Had he done a bit more research, and relied less on received opinions in some areas, it could have been a much more interesting read.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2014 9:53 AM GMT

Rachmaninov: Symphony No 3
Rachmaninov: Symphony No 3
Price: 13.58

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Rachmaninov, 14 Jan 2012
Late Rachmaninov is not early Rachmininov. It should be obvious, but some interpreters seem to try to shoehorn everything he wrote into the style of the young man who wrote the early piano concertos. There are flashes of brilliance in the third Symphony, but they are placed in the context of music which comes from a very different place, emotionally as well as physically, from the early works.

The RLPO has developed a particularly beautiful string sounds over the last few years with Petrenko, and it is present in this recording in all its splendour. The recorded sound is good, as you would expect, the only slight drawback being the high recording levels (although this seems to be the universal practice at the moment). It doesn't affect enjoyment of the recording though.

The reading of the 3rd Symphony is sublime and subtly original. Slower tempos, in places, allow the music to breathe and the detail to come through. Above all, this is a reading that allows the humanity of Rachmaninov's music to shine, without it being cuffed around the ears by over-showy playing in the "big" tunes.

If there were any doubt about the differing perspectives offered in Rachminov's work over time, the inclusion of the early Caprice Bohemien should make things plain. The playing here shows off the skills of the RLPO's musicians in a showy firework display. The Caprice is certainly not the most profound piece Rachmaninov ever wrote, but is fun, exciting, and of course the orchestration is superb.

Finally, there is an orchestrated "Vocalise". The performance is beautifully judged. Showy and exciting though his music often is, there is another side to Rachmininov, evident in both this tender interlude and the 3rd Symphony's regretful, but life-affirming arc.

A very recommendable recording.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2012 4:21 AM GMT

Beethoven: Violin Concerto / Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 4 / Horrace Silver: Creepin In /Nigel Kennedy
Beethoven: Violin Concerto / Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 4 / Horrace Silver: Creepin In /Nigel Kennedy
Price: 7.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disc of Two Halves, 30 May 2011
Let me say that I am a big admirer of Nigel Kennedy's work, right across the board. I love jazz, can cope with electric violin, and am all for personal interpretations of classic works. That said, the Mozart Violin Concerto no. 4 on this cd is a "once in a lifetime" experience. For me, anyway, as I cannot listen to it a second time. The performance of Mozart's written music is fine, if not of the highest order, but the "jazz cadenzas" are just awful and ruin the thing. They sound tacked-on, and it's not even good jazz. For me, no stars - a brave experiment but one you would rather he conducted in the concert hall rather than left for posterity on cd. The Horace Silver piece that follows it is pretty lacklustre too - and in a way even more disappointing because it's just the performance rather than a wacky idea that makes it lame.

Now for the good news. The CD is absolutely worth buying for the Beethoven Violin Concerto alone. Nigel not only plays it straight, with verve and attack rather than over-indulgent romanticism, but his orchestra keep up with him and the whole piece is a thing of joy. Beethoven definitely had rhythm - you only need to hear the 7th symphony to understand what rhythmic drive he was capable of, and Kennedy and his Polish players bring that to the party in the Violin Concerto. It's at least as good as his recording of the Brahms Violin Concerto, and probably better.

Nigel Kennedy is definitely a brilliant musician, but he should be taken "straight, no chaser" for the best results. Beethoven 5 ***** and warmly recommended. Mozart - only for the brave!

Wainwright's Highlands and Islands of Scotland [VHS]
Wainwright's Highlands and Islands of Scotland [VHS]
Offered by stephensmith_426
Price: 12.90

9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Grumping along, 8 Nov 2003 which famous old curmudgeon AW and his sidekick Eric Robson grumble their way through a loose selection of landscapes in North-West Scotland. The programs suffer greatly from the conceit that "eeh, it were all unspoilt when I first come up here and all the people were friendly now it's all tourists and people wanting money off you". Wainwright had some quasi-Victorian ideas about the countryside as the (largely empty) land of the simple peasant, through which he (AW) passes as a penniless cogniscant, somehow different from the other tourists that he so detests even seeing from a distance.
Then again, what would you expect? If you don't like AW, grumpiness, and outmoded ideas, you won't like this as it will spoil the scenery. If on the other hand you can tolerate his misguided musings and even take pleasure in them, there is a wistfulness about the set of four films (for lost youth) that might just redeem them.

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