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Paracelsus1966 (Somerset, England)

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Solo Concerts: Bremen and Lausanne
Solo Concerts: Bremen and Lausanne
Price: £24.98

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 July 2005
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If anyone asked me why I love Keith, I would play them the last 15 minutes of the Lausanne Concert. This music means more to me than almost anything else he's recorded, and is one of the most moving and beautiful things I have ever heard.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2009 1:23 PM BST

Tavener: Eternity's Sunrise
Tavener: Eternity's Sunrise
Price: £14.09

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars His Best Blake Setting, 3 July 2005
Eternity's Sunrise is Tavener's third Blake setting, after The Lamb (1982) and The Tiger (1987). It is tbe best thing on this CD, and is one of the best things he's ever done. Indeed, I find it so moving that I almost dread listening to it (if that's not some sort of oxymoron!). An awesome piece of music, featuring Patricia Rozario on scintillating form.
Of the other pieces, Song of the Angel is a five minute version of Tears of the Angels, from the CD of the same name (also brilliant), while Petra: A Ritual Dream is a wonderful setting of a poem by Seferis.
This is apparently Sir John's favourite of his own CDs. On the basis of the first three tracks, I would have to agree. The last two pieces are good, but it is the first three that form the heart and soul of this album.

Tavener: Choral Works
Tavener: Choral Works
Price: £13.08

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Exceptional, 30 Jun. 2005
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This review is from: Tavener: Choral Works (Audio CD)
In 2003, Stephen Layton and Polyphony released the brilliant 'Triodion', a CD of (mainly) never-before recorded pieces by Arvo Part. That album was a masterpiece.
Now they have repeated the favour for the composer most usually associated with Part (although they have little in common stylistically), Sir John Tavener, and the results are equally exceptional.
This CD contains almost exclusively world premieres, and it is utterly stunning. Indeed, there are moments on this CD where Sir John has outdone himself. I'm thinking mainly of the awesome 18 minute 'Shunya', which is less a piece of music than a temple ritual that he as received and transcribed. I cannot describe this piece any further, only to say that I am grateful that someone like Sir John has had the bravery to be simple, as this piece is.
The rest of the CD is equally striking: 'secular' pieces by Vernon Watkins, WB Yeats and a remarkable short requiem for those fallen in war make up the bulk of the rest of the CD.
But aside from theses pieces - and it is always a pleasure to hear Tavener tackle the supposedly 'secular' (ha! if anything is) - are two pieces that, like Shunya, betray his new direction into a more universalist phase, or, as they might say on Father Ted, 'an ecumenical matter'! These pieces are Butterfly Dreams and Schuon Hymnen.
The first of these takes as its starting point the famous story about Chuang Tzu dreaming he was a butterfly, and then, upon waking, not being sure that he was not now a butterfly dreaming he was a man. The suite is lovely, and includes a wonderful setting of a Native American poem. Schuon Hymnen sets a poem by the Sufi Frithjof Schuon, who was something of a teacher and inspiration for Tavener, and deals with the Song of Songs.
Although this disc is more challenging than 'Triodion' (and that's not to belittle Triodion, which I absolutely love), I can recommend it, especially if you want to hear some of the best pieces to come out of Tavener's new phase.
And buy it above all for Shunya. Take the phone off the hook, disconnect from the internet, don't answer the door, and submerge yourself in these 18 amazing minutes.

Criterion Collection: Joan of Arc [DVD] [1928] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Criterion Collection: Joan of Arc [DVD] [1928] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Renée Maria Falconetti
Price: £19.57

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Edition of One of the All-Time Masterpieces, 25 Jun. 2005
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Criterion have come up trumps again with this great DVD of Carl Dreyer's legendary 1928 silent film. This is the most complete print known to exist, the so-called 'Oslo version', which was discovered in a Norwegian mental hospital of all places in 1981.
The transfer is superb, made all the more so by the option of playing the film with Richard Einhorn's superb 'Voices of Light' score. The DVD also features a commentary and an interview with Falconetti's daughter. If you love great films, this is a must-have.

The Wandering Soul: Glimpses of a Life - A Compendium of Rare and Unpublished Works: Essays and Letters by William Hope Hodgson
The Wandering Soul: Glimpses of a Life - A Compendium of Rare and Unpublished Works: Essays and Letters by William Hope Hodgson
by Jane Frank
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning collection of rare Hodgson, PLUS HIS SEA PHOTOS!, 7 Jun. 2005
This book is, for a Hodgson afficionado, little short of spectacular. Ship's logs from his days at sea, his non fiction, unpublished poems and short stories, PLUS THE LEGENDARY PHOTOS HE TOOK WHILE AT SEA. This last element is what attracted me to this book, and I was not disappointed.
A stunning book, one that I never believed could be published. A huge tribute to Hodgson's singular and powerful genuis, and a touching portrait of the man behind the legendary fantasies.
Huge kudos to Tartarus Press and PS Publishing for doing this book. It's that stunning, really.
(PS There's little if any of WHH's horror stories in here, this is the other stuff. If you want the horror, stick to the Night Shade Complete Fiction.)

Part: Collage
Part: Collage
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £13.31

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb collection of early and mid-period Arvo, 10 May 2005
This review is from: Part: Collage (Audio CD)
Neeme Jarvi is one of Arvo Part's long time collaborators, and did the first all-Arvo album back in 1969. Since then, he's done the Symphonies (on BIS), which is a CD I've never warmed to (although he's since re-done No.3 brilliantly for DG), and then this, perhaps his best Part album.
Essentially, it's a collection of early collage pieces, with one serial piece (Symphony No 2), and early tintinnabuli pieces. The collage pieces - Collage, When Bach Was a Bee-Keeper and Credo - are all based on Bach, and are among the most accessible of his non-tintinnabuli works ('Bee-Keeper' in fact dates from the early tintinnabuli period and sounds a little like a dry run for Tabula Rasa). Credo is arguably the turning point in Part's whole career. Growing tired of serialism, the piece is a portrait of the composer having a major crisis. The piece starts loud, and then in comes the theme from Bach's C Major Prelude. Disquiet appears, however, and the ever more cacophonic orchestra builds up and up until it is producing virtually white noise, eventually resolving into tonality and Bach again. This sums up in a few minutes a journey that took Part almost a decade to undergo, from 1968, when Credo was premiered (and immediately banned for its religious content) and 1976, when the tintinnabuli works started to appear. I have come to find this performance of Credo extremely moving, much more gripping than Helene Grimaud's recent version. This is a major Part piece, and is worth buying the CD just for this.
Of the tintinabuli pieces, stand outs are the orchestral versions of Summma and Fratres. I love these versions, especially the way the kettle drum builds up in Fratres.
Overall, this is one of the best non-ECM Arvo albums (others would include I Am the True Vine, Triodion and Beatus), dominated as it is by the powerful and explosive version of Credo. That Part has come through the crises that produced this music is a testament to his resilience and stature as an artist.

La Rue Missa & Motets
La Rue Missa & Motets
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £19.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hilliard Ensemble in top form, 2 May 2005
This review is from: La Rue Missa & Motets (Audio CD)
This is classic stuff - the Hilliards singing Pierre de la Rue. I bought this when it was out on EMI Reflexe, and I've always thought it's one of the best things the Hilliard have done, and also one of the best de la Rues. It was recorded at the same time as their Leonel Power album, which has always sounded a bit sore-throaty to my ears, in comparison to this one. But on this album, they shine.

Codex Speciálník
Codex Speciálník
Price: £16.81

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best things the Hilliards have ever done, 2 May 2005
This review is from: Codex Speciálník (Audio CD)
I'm doing this review quickly as I see no one's reviewed it at all. Put simply, this is one of the best Hilliard Ensemble CDs ever. A fantastically obscure repertoire - C15th Czech/Eastern European stuff (I didn scour the sleeve notes for whiffs of heresy but didn't find any) - plus a rendering of Josquin's Ave Maria that will stop your heart it's so beautiful, recorded with ECMs usual precision. If you like the Hilliards, and/or polyphony, you ought to consider giving this a listen.

Pärt: Triodion
Pärt: Triodion
Price: £13.25

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Album of Part Premieres, 5 Sept. 2003
This review is from: Pärt: Triodion (Audio CD)
A worthy follow-up to their 1998 Part CD, Berlin Mass, Triodion sees Polyphony and Stephen Layton tackle short choral works from the last few years, only two of which (I am the True Vine and Triodion) have been recorded before.
The opener, Dopo La Vittorio, is a wonderfully light, dancing piece followed by the more sombre Nunc Dimittis. ...which was the son of... is a setting of Christ's genealogy going back to Adam. Textually about as boring as you can get, although Part's setting is anything but: I've never heard a Part piece before where I have had an almost uncontrollable urge to sing along. The two other stand outs, for me, are the two other settings in English: Littlemore Tractus, based on a sermon by Cardinal Newman, and My Heart's in the Highlands, a setting of the Robert Burns poem. Both have an otherworldly sadness to them that is unique in Part's ouevre; the Burns in particular is incredibly haunting.
After a few less than top notch ECM releases, this CD sees Arvo back on top form. Buy it at once.

Price: £13.81

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes!, 21 Mar. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Concerts (Audio CD)
It doesn't get much better. This is Keith's heyday of groaning and piano thumping, and the musical variety on this concert is amazing, from ragtime to romanticism. Shame ECM have never released the orginal triple LP version, featuring the equally brilliant Munich concert. Still, until they do, this is one to get. God bless Keith.

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