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Musica Vita (Birmingham, UK)

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Janácek: Glagolitic Mass (Cambridge Music Handbooks)
Janácek: Glagolitic Mass (Cambridge Music Handbooks)
by Paul Wingfield
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.76

5.0 out of 5 stars All you ever wanted to know about the Glagolitic Mass, 3 July 2011
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Janacek's Glagolitic Mass has fascinated me ever since I first heard it, ages ago on a vinyl recording by Karel Ancerl. There are now many recordings available, and if you too love this work then I recommend this book.

The product description says just about everything, but I can add that Wingfield's style is easy to read, something you can't take for granted in this type of book. Even when he discusses the quite esoteric topic of the Old Church Slavonic text he avoids jargon which might make it incomprehensible to the average music-lover.


Hi-Tec Men's Britton Hill Brown/Brown/Gold Hiking Shoe P001213/043/99 9 Uk
Hi-Tec Men's Britton Hill Brown/Brown/Gold Hiking Shoe P001213/043/99 9 Uk
Price: £60.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, good grip, but hardly waterproof, 13 Jun 2011
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I bought a pair of these to replace some trusty but worn-out Hi-Tec walking shoes. They are very comfortable and I can walk in them all day without getting sore feet, even though they are still quite new. The grip is very good, even on damp surfaces. But don't imagine that they will keep your feet dry in a downpour. I walked six miles in the rain yesterday and they ended up soaked, and they have not dried out yet. Good fair-weather shoes.


Netgear DG834G 54Mbps Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Firewall Router with 4-port 10/100 Switch
Netgear DG834G 54Mbps Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Firewall Router with 4-port 10/100 Switch

5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable, easy to set up, good with Linux, 6 April 2011
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I bought this router in 2004 and it has performed almost faultlessly for nearly 7 years. Once or twice I have had to reset it because of a weak wireless signal but otherwise it has needed no attention. Setting up with an ethernet cable is a doddle, and quite easy using wireless. It handles a home network very well, and sometimes I have four devices connected, one wired and three wireless. There have never been any problems with downloads or bit-torrent or streaming. It works well with Linux although the wireless range does not seem to be quite as great, but that may be because of the computer card drivers, not the router.

Now it is beginning to show its age, and seems to lose the ADSL connection in a few hours, but after 7 years what is there to criticise?


DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Rome
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Rome
by Adele Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and concentrated, 8 Mar 2011
There is so much to see and do in Rome that it is difficult for a guide-book to cover it all. However this one makes a good attempt, and gives a brief description of just about everything that most visitors will want to see, and how to go about seeing it. It is quite a sturdy little book which should stand up to a lot of carrying around (and it's fairly heavy too). My main criticism is that Amazon supplied me (in the UK) with an American edition, which contained irrelevant information, and baffled me with some unfamiliar vocabulary - for example I did not previously know what "having your car booted" meant.


TP-Link TL-WN781ND 150Mbps Wireless PCI Express Adapter + Low Profile Bracket
TP-Link TL-WN781ND 150Mbps Wireless PCI Express Adapter + Low Profile Bracket
Price: £8.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap but effective, 26 Feb 2011
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This card was delivered promptly by Amazon and was easily fitted into my dual-boot Windows XP / Linux computer. Setting up under Linux was easy - you need kernel module ath9k and madwifi - but it did not work with WinXP using the driver on the supplied CD-rom. However it worked perfectly after downloading the latest driver off the TPlink website. Very cheap and highly recommended.


Chopin: The Nocturnes
Chopin: The Nocturnes
Price: £20.48

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Interpretations, 5 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Chopin: The Nocturnes (Audio CD)
Having read the other reviews, I see that these performances are controversial. I find myself firmly on the "pro" side. Chopin has never been a favourite composer of mine, but these interpretations of the Nocturnes have done what those of Ashkenazy, Argerich, Vasary and Pizarro (good though they all are) have not: convinced me of the greatness of Chopin. In her hands he is up there with Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Schubert.

There is something about her interpretations that just convinces me at least that her view of this music is right. And if you don't know them listen to some of her Mozart, Bach or Schumann recordings, or the Brahms violin sonatas with Augustin Dumay. (I don't enthuse about her Schubert, so don't think I'm an uncritical worshipper.)

DG's recording is, as usual, first-class, and if you want to demonstrate your hi-fi, you may choose to use one of these CDs.


Creative Live! Cam Socialize Webcam with Microphone
Creative Live! Cam Socialize Webcam with Microphone

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neat, easy to use webcam, 26 Oct 2010
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This is a neat unobtrusive webcam which will sit on top of a monitor or on a table as needed. The picture quality (800x600) is better than many and the sound is more than acceptable. It worked immediately on Windows XP and on my Linux computer as soon as I installed the right kernel module (gspca_zc3xx). I use it for Skype with very satisfactory results.


Mozart Piano Sonatas
Mozart Piano Sonatas
Price: £21.14

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full-blooded, definitive and convincing, 19 Aug 2010
This review is from: Mozart Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
These are wonderful performances of Mozart's piano sonatas. Maria Joao Pires uses a modern piano and is not afraid to use its dynamic range, but without stretching the music beyond its limits. The early sonatas are played in a way that tells you that they may have been composed with performances on the harpsichord in mind, but in the later ones Pires explores the full range of Mozart's expressive power and leaves the listener in no doubt that the sonatas are no lesser works than his chamber or orchestral music. Where the style is cantabile, she makes the piano sing; where it is bravura, you get that, but with no harshness. The repeat marks are honoured, so many of the movements are quite long.

A few of the tempi are perhaps surprising, for example in K.331 the minuet is much faster than is usually heard, while the Turkish March finale is quite leisurely. And in K.475 she is very free with the tempo, as befits a fantasia as opposed to a sonata. Listening to that work and the C minor sonata K.457, it is very clear where Beethoven got some of his ideas from. Pires plays in such a direct and committed manner, while remaining faithful to the score and sensitive to the nuances, that she convinces me at least that her interpretation is the way these works should be played.

I also have Mitsuko Uchida's version of these sonatas, and the comparison is fascinating. Uchida also uses a modern instrument but seems to be constantly aware that Mozart's pianos lacked dynamic range, and often plays down the forte and piano markings, and in some of the sonatas she disregards the repeat marks. Yet her interpretations are also sensitive and intelligent, and I have never heard a more moving performance than hers of the andante of K.533/494.

If I had to choose between these two versions I would reluctantly go for Maria Joao Pires, despite the beauty of Mitsuko Uchida's playing and the inclusion in her set of the various short pieces. At Amazon's prices you ought to be able to afford both; they complement each other so well.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 28, 2010 7:54 AM BST


Mitsuko Uchida plays Schubert
Mitsuko Uchida plays Schubert
Price: £32.15

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, revelatory, idiosyncratic, 28 July 2010
The piano is a percussion instrument, but anyone who wants to play Schubert, or Mozart for that matter, must know how to make it sing, and avoid any hint of roughness of tone. Mitsuko Uchida's erstwhile mentor, Wilhelm Kempff, understood that perfectly, which is maybe why his interpretations of these works have been the standard by which others are judged for many years. Mitsuko Uchida has all the subtlety and delicacy of Kempff, but is less restrained in some of Schubert's fortissimo passages, which are in fact not of frequent occurrence.

Listening to these recordings, it becomes clear that Uchida loves this music, and we get very personal interpretations which suggest that she has studied and considered the execution of just about every note of each piece. You may expect to hear new revelations in this music, an example being the D major sonata D.850, which I never previously liked much, but Uchida has made me reconsider my opinion of the piece. Likewise she has brought new insights to the C minor, D.958, which I previously thought was not up to the standard of D.959 or D.960, especially in the finale.

Some people will find some of her tempi very slow; many andante movements being more like adagio, although that of itself is acceptable. What does irritate is her arbitrary changes of tempo; they are all very expressive and tasteful but do tend to upset both the structure of the music and the feeling of progression to a conclusion. The tendency is everywhere, but I especially disliked the first movement of the A minor sonata, D.784 in which she changes the tempo wildly, some episodes being suitably fast, but with many a prolonged slow passage, and the movement is hardly Schubert's indicated allegro giusto. This for me at least, spoils the piece. (I see that I am at odds with other reviewers!) By contrast the second and third movements of this sonata are beyond reproach.

These sonatas are among my favourite works for piano, and Kempff remains my clear preference, and his set has the added advantage that he includes many of the "unfinished" works, which contain some wonderful music (especially the F minor D.625 and the E minor, D.566), even though there may be movements missing from each of them. Of these Uchida only gives us the C major D.840 (a beautiful interpretation). But these are attractive and heartfelt performances and you should hear them.


Nokia 1208 Sim Free Mobile Phone - Black
Nokia 1208 Sim Free Mobile Phone - Black

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value cheap mobile, 30 May 2010
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If you, like me, only want a mobile phone to make calls and send texts then this fits the bill perfectly. It is small, light and easy to use. You don't expect frills at this price but you get a good basic phone with an easy-to-read screen and easy-to-use keys. Don't expect internet or any sort of downloading. Contrary to what some reviews here say, there is a keypad lock facility. (left menu key + star)


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