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Gerard Lynch "paddingtonw2bear" (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
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Teach Yourself Turkish Complete Course
Teach Yourself Turkish Complete Course
by Asuman Celen Pollard
Edition: Paperback

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Turkish course on the market, 19 Aug. 2003
I've been learning Turkish for three years now, and am reasonably fluent. In that time I've encountered many language courses and Teach Yourself Turkish is the best I've come across. It's also one of the best in the Teach Yourself series.
It provides a good grounding in the basic structure of the language and key vocab in the first 8 chapters. It explains things clearly without getting lost in complex grammatical terms. With a bit of determination you could probably get through this section in 6-8 weeks by yourself in a little spare time. Combine this with a few stock tourist phrases from a guidebook and Turkey is your oyster.
Where it does lose it's way a little bit is in the second half of the course, where it tries to cover a little too much material for the space it has. Because of this the explanation can get muddier, and the subject matter is presented a little bit too densely for easy self study.
While my Turkish is now well beyond the level of this course, it was an important part in helping me get to this level.


Music of Howard Hanson, Vol.1
Music of Howard Hanson, Vol.1
Price: £12.71

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compser who deserves to better known in Europe, 16 Aug. 2003
Howard Hanson (1896-1981) is one of the most popular composers of the 20th Century in the USA. He rejected the serialism and atonalism of his time and continuted writing warm, romantic, music long after it ceased to be fashionable among 'serious' composers, drawing strongly on his Nordic roots.
Sadly, he has never really established a reputation on this side of the Atlantic. If this fantastic twofer CD gets more of airing though, that could all change.
If people know anything by Hanson, it's most likely to be the Second Movement of the Second Symphony, which was used as the theme for the film Alien. The Second Symphony is his most popular piece with American audiences and with it's warm, rich, harmonies and many delightful passages, especially on horns, it's not hard to see why.
Three other symphonies are in this collection of which the outstanding one is the semi-choral Seventh, "A Sea Symphony".
A number of other pieces fill the CD, with the pick of the bunch being the deeply moving and clearly personal Elegy for Hanson's friend Serge Koussevitzky. Koussevitzky championed Hansons' music as chief conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anyone who likes late-romantic music (think of a warmer Sibelius or a mellower Mahler) or is interested in the music of the USA. I also hope that Hanson will start to get his due recognition in the concert halls of this continent
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2010 12:23 PM BST


Glass: Violin Concerto
Glass: Violin Concerto
Offered by Naxos Direct UK
Price: £5.99

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good showcase of Glass' virtues - and vices!, 16 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Glass: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
Glass' violin concerto is the core of this selection and the reason why I bought it. Glass can be magnificently meditative at his best and Tasmanian Adele Anthony pulls this out brilliantly with the sort of pure tone and crisp playing this piece needs.
The problem is with the accompanying pieces. Company, which precedes and the two excerpts from Akhnaten, which follow, are fine in their way. In fact the Prelude to Akhnaten is one of the finest pieces of one of the finest operas of recent times. It's just that the trouble with Glass is that be can be so... well, repetitive. The filler works sound too much like the Violin Conerto to be paired successfully with them. If Naxos were to pair this off with something suitably mellow by another contemporary composer - say Rutter or Pärt - they'd have a much stronger proposition.
As a Belfast man born and bred, I might be biased, but the Ulster Orchestra and their principal guest conductor Takuo Yuasa gave a good enough account of themselves here, and given the super budget price of this CD, the competition would have to be something special to justify the extra cost.


Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus / Piano Concerto 1 / Symphony 3
Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus / Piano Concerto 1 / Symphony 3
Price: £7.27

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good account of Rautavaara's most distinctive work, 16 Aug. 2003
Cantus Articus was the work that got me into Rautavaara's music - the second movement, Melankolia, is for me one of the most beautiful pieces of classical music produced in the past 50 years. In this unusual work, tape recordings of arctic bird song are superbly mixed in with orchestral playing. The effect can be simply magical and one can picture oneself by a lake in Northern Finland, watching the swans fly and the midges dance on an endless summer evening. This was the piece with which Rautavaara abandoned his adherence to the rigid forms of post-war atonalism and, to my mind at least, his masterpiece.
The Piano Concerto is a more angular, atonal, work with lots of clashing harmonies. However it also has a real energy and verve with some ravishing interplay between the strings and the piano, especially in the middle movement.
Finally there's the 3rd symphony, the first two movements of which are full of gorgeous broad chords on string and brass, very reminiscent of Sibelius. In the latter movements the pace picks up as the sympony heads towards a rousing finish.
The RNSO, who seem to be Naxos' specialist Rautavaara orchestra, give a good account of all of this. With this CD at such a low price there's no better introduction to this composer.


Smetana: The Moldau / Sibelius: Finlandia; Pelléas et Mélisande / Liszt: Les Préludes
Smetana: The Moldau / Sibelius: Finlandia; Pelléas et Mélisande / Liszt: Les Préludes
Price: £7.69

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karajan superb in a piece that deserves to be better known, 14 Aug. 2003
The centrepiece of this CD is Sibelius' Pelleas and Mellisande, written as incidental music for a Finnish theatre production. UK readers will recognise the first movement as the theme from 'The Sky at Night'.
Karajan did much to promote Sibelius, and this is a fantastic rendition of his most neglected masterpiece, full of ravishing broody chords in the string section and haunting brass.
Finlandia, on the other hand is one of his best known pieces, and this is a rendition with lots of of energy and flowing forward movement.
The CD is topped and tailed with Smetana's Vltava and Liszt's Preludes, which fit well. The Preludes is a particularly lovely recording.
All and all this is a lovely collection from Karajan and the Berlin Phil in stunning form. If you like Sibelius's symponies and shorter tone poems you'll enjoy this.


Adès: Powder Her Face
Adès: Powder Her Face
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £14.95

11 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Harsh and unimaginative music, 14 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Adès: Powder Her Face (Audio CD)
When I saw this opera at my local record shop at half price, I lept at it. After all wasn't Thomas Adés the future of British classical music, the new Benjamin Britten? And wasn't this the opera with the famous oral sex scene?
I was so disappointed when I listened to this drivel. I wish I'd have spent my money on something more worthwhile, you know like cigarettes or hamburgers. I'm not necessarily averse to the charms of atonality, but this was so unimaginative and dull. Most of the musical techniques used in it were being used by people like Krenek and Berg in the '20s, only they were being used a lot better then. Adés seems to think that driving voices and instruments to the extreme limits of their ranges is the way to create excitement. Instead it sounds shrill and harsh - and utterly unremitting, with, to my ears, no change in mood in any part of the opera.
This is not to dis the players, who respond to the extreme demands placed upon them admirably. My worry is that people hear things like this and abandon the idea of contemporary music altogether. For some quality modern opera, save the money you would spend on this and listen Glass, Adams, Judith Weir or Rautavaara instead.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2013 5:57 PM BST


Walton/Britten: Violin Conc
Walton/Britten: Violin Conc
Offered by shakedownrecords
Price: £24.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing!, 14 Aug. 2003
This CD has been hyped to the gills by the Classical Music press, and for a change the hype is absolutely merited. Vengerov's touch is absolutely perfect, bringing every subtlety of tone from his instruments. The Britten is ravishing, especially the finale, but the Walton is what really makes this recording stand out. It's difficult to believe Vengerov only learned to play the viola for this piece. His tone is by turns heart-meltingly warm and heart-breakingly mournful, and I can only hope it helps give this Viola Concerto more recognition for the masterpiece it is.
Rostropovich's conducting is also masterful.
I've had this CD for 2 months now and it still gets an airing more or less every week. The new release of 2003 so far, to my mind.


Ferrero - La Nueva Espana
Ferrero - La Nueva Espana
Price: £7.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cinematic style music - pleasant but no masterpiece, 14 Aug. 2003
Ferrero tries to paint a picture of the Spanish conquest of Aztec Mexico with pleasant, if unadventurous, music very much in the cinematic style. Both the tragedy and the adventure are conveyed clearly by solid playing from the Ukraine National. There's nothing earth shattering in the music, but it is pleasant.
It's good to see solidly tonal neo-romanticism gaining more and more ground, however, and if it heralds a return to themed music and the tone poem, I'm all for it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2012 9:11 PM BST


Walton/Britten: Violin Conc
Walton/Britten: Violin Conc
Offered by shakedownrecords
Price: £24.00

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing!, 14 Aug. 2003
This CD has been hyped to the gills by the Classical Music press, and for a change the hype is absolutely merited. Vengerov's touch is absolutely perfect, bringing every subtlety of tone from his instruments. The Britten is ravishing, especially the finale, but the Walton is what really makes this recording stand out. It's difficult to believe Vengerov only learned to play the viola for this piece. His tone is by turns heart-meltingly warm and heart-breakingly mournful, and I can only hope it helps give this Viola Concerto more recognition for the masterpiece it is.
Rostropovich's conducting is also masterful.
I've had this CD for 2 months now and it still gets an airing more or less every week. The new release of 2003 so far, to my mind.


Rautavaara: Symphony No. 7 - Angel of Light
Rautavaara: Symphony No. 7 - Angel of Light
Price: £8.79

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another decent effort by Rautavaara, but nothing special, 14 Aug. 2003
I bought this on spec when I spotted it at a local record shop, having been blown away by some of Rautavaara's earlier works. It isn't his greatest piece, but nor can I say I was disappointed in it. The Presto is the highpoint - Angels can be jolly too, apparently, and there's lots of chromatic fun here.
The RSNO put in a solid performance, but again, there's no real magic. If you like Rautavaara, then this is certainly worth a fiver. If you're unfamiliar with him, Cantus Articus or the 6th Symphony are better introductions to his music.


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