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Musica Vita (Birmingham, UK)

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The Legendary Dame Janet Baker
The Legendary Dame Janet Baker
Offered by barneys_cds
Price: £32.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Janet Baker, 23 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a compilation of mainly operatic arias recorded when Dame Janet was in her prime. The Elgar song was recorded by EMI and seems slightly incongruous amid these 17th and 18th-century pieces. Some are well-known, others less so. The Mozart pieces are very welcome, as there is very little of this composer in her recordings. Handel's "Dopo Notte" was a discovery for me, a wonderful aria, perfectly sung. Also Caccini's "Amarilli mia bella" is a lovely baroque piece. Unreservedly recommended.


Brother HL3140CW A4 Colour Laser Wireless Printer
Brother HL3140CW A4 Colour Laser Wireless Printer
Offered by Printerland
Price: £118.80

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, sturdy printer, 23 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I ordered this printer late one afternoon and it arrived the following lunchtime. 100% to Printerland -- and that was free delivery. Make no mistake, this printer is heavy and I had to "walk" it up the stairs to my study. I hope the sturdy construction is reflected in a long life. Unpacking and physical assembly was easy and a standard UK mains lead was included.

Setting it up to use my wireless network on Windows XP was very straightforward, following the instructions, although the CD made strange noises in the drive. Getting it to work on my Linux computer involved downloading the driver from the Brother website and installing it manually, and I had a problem finding the IP address of the printer. Eventually I found that once set up, the printer would print a network configuration sheet using the menu. With this information it was soon configured properly on Arch Linux.

It is not a photo printer but so far I have had very good colour and black-and-white printing of documents from both operating systems. I am glad to say good-bye to clogged nozzles and other ink-jet horrors. The Brother replacement toners look expensive but I shall try compatible toners when the time comes to refill.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money, 18 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first brush in the pack I bought started to break up within a few days and failed completely within two weeks. The second one lasted two days. Moral: buy the genuine Oral-B product.


Mendelssohn: Lieder
Mendelssohn: Lieder
Price: £16.44

3.0 out of 5 stars Not at his best, 10 Dec 2013
This review is from: Mendelssohn: Lieder (Audio CD)
Normally I am a great fan of the late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and I treasure his interpretations of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Mahler. But I have found this disc disappointing. There is in some quarters a conception - or rather misconception - that Mendelssohn's songs are inferior to those of other German Lieder composers. It seems to me that DFD may have shared this view and in this recital tries to make up for the alleged shortcomings in the music by adding over-expressive vocal mannerisms, and in some instances, adopting very fast tempi. In fact these do not enhance, but detract from the enjoyment of the music. And if I am not mistaken there is at least one simplification of the vocal line: in "Im Grünen", where he avoids a sustained high note.

Not very many singers have recorded these songs, so it is good to have them. But for some outstanding Mendelssohn singing, listen to Janet Baker.


Anthology Of English Song
Anthology Of English Song
Price: £6.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Half a century, and still as good as they come, 7 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This recording actually was first issued in 1963 and may be the first of Janet Baker's commercial recordings. Fifty years on it is still a front-runner in the field of English song, now that it has been re-issued in decent stereo. True, the acoustic is more resonant than was normal for the day, although quite common nowadays, but this does not detract from the music.

In this disc of early twentieth-century songs Janet Baker already showed that she would explore the lesser-known repertoire just as much as the well-known works. The composers Michael Head and Thomas Dunhill are hardly well-known even today, and Finzi and Howells were hardly ever heard in the early sixties.

As for the performances, there is nothing much to add to the comments of other reviewers here. They stand comparison with any other recordings of these or similar works, and in most cases excel. You may grumble that there is less than 45 minutes of music on the disc, but then that was the ten-and-sixpenny Saga LP. In any event such quality as this is priceless.


Schumann, Schubert, Brahms: Favourite Lieder
Schumann, Schubert, Brahms: Favourite Lieder
Price: £8.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Still wonderful after all these years, 7 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Transfers of vinyl LPs to CD are not always an improvement, but this one is. The balance on the vinyl, which I have owned since it was issued in 1966, (it was the first Janet Baker recording I ever bought) is almost two mono channels, voice on one side and piano on the other. This CD is much better, with well-integrated stereo. I sense a slight lack of high frequencies but maybe this has been done to minimise tape hiss.

The choice of songs by Schubert and Brahms is imaginative and the Schumann of course is standard repertoire for a mezzo-soprano. Janet Baker's performances are basically beyond reproach. Her singing sounds so effortless yet there is immense technique there, from delicate pianissimo to powerful climaxes, all accurate and beautiful. She gets to the heart of the music in every song, so the final song of the Schumann does sound grief-laden, while the delightful Schubert Minnelied is so happy.

Comparing the Schumann with her later version with Barenboim is very difficult; they are both excellent. It is the usual choice of freshness and spontaneity versus experience and subtlety. Even though Frauenliebe und -leben is not my favourite song-cycle, I am very content to have both of her recordings. The Schubert and Brahms are to be treasured.


The Complete Butterworth Songbook
The Complete Butterworth Songbook
Price: £14.86

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 16 Sep 2013
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I have to disagree with many other reviewers here. I am in full agreement that Butterworth's compositions are among the best of early 20th century English music, and it is good to have all his songs recorded on one disc, with excellent notes and texts. Yet I am not impressed with this disc. First of all the recording is peculiar; there is echo around the voice but not the piano and it sounds that the microphone placements were wrong and the voice amplified to try to compensate.

More important, Stone's singing style is idiosyncratic. Maybe he is trying to be expressive, but there is too much portamento, and more than one instance of dubious intonation. Also - and this is entirely personal - the quality of his voice is not to my taste.

There are better recordings of the Housman songs, especially by Bryn Terfel, whose imaginative, passionate approach and Welsh accent seem to suit Housman so well. If you want the folk-songs, try Roderick Williams.


Dame Janet Baker: The Great EMI Recordings
Dame Janet Baker: The Great EMI Recordings
Price: £54.65

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest!, 23 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this box set despite having well over half the music already, some on 60s and 70s vinyl. There is in fact little I can add to the other reviews here. These discs are a treasury of the consistently wonderful recordings made by the greatest female singer of her time (IMHO).

Some of these performances are so outstandingly good that they deserve to be issued in 24/96 format. I hope EMI see fit to make them so available.


Nikon Coolpix L120 Digital Camera - Red (14MP, 21x Optical Zoom) 2.7-inch LCD
Nikon Coolpix L120 Digital Camera - Red (14MP, 21x Optical Zoom) 2.7-inch LCD

4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 14 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this camera for Xmas 2011 and have used it for hundreds of photos since. The zoom lens is wonderful, for the most part the camera is easy to use and it has produced some superb photos. The colour rendition is good in both bright and dim light, and the flash does not wash the colour out. Close-ups are also very good using the macro setting.

It uses AA batteries, and it is worth getting lithium cells as they last a long time - I have just had to replace my first set after 16 months. Learning how to use the menus takes some doing, but most digital cameras are like that. I have found that you must keep it dry at all times; while out on a rainy day recently the camera got splashed and condensation appeared inside the viewing screen, which took a few weeks to dry out properly although the camera continued to work.

The major drawback is the lack of an optical viewfinder. The Nikon L120 is only one of many like this, but in bright sunlight the image on the viewing screen is more or less invisible and you have to resort to guesswork to frame the scene. In contrast, the image on the screen in poor light is very good. (My previous, much cheaper, Canon digital had both viewfinder and screen so it is difficult to understand why both are not provided more widely.) If you do a lot of outdoor photography then look elsewhere, even if it means paying extra for an SLR.


Handel:Messiah/Excerpts
Handel:Messiah/Excerpts
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £12.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent excerpts, 10 July 2012
This review is from: Handel:Messiah/Excerpts (Audio CD)
This disc has 14 excerpts from Mackerras' ground-breaking recording, which is now difficult to find. (Time for a re-issue, EMI.) It uses Basil Lam's edition, who re-examined Handel's score and helped sweep away a lot of the entrenched opinions about Messiah and how to perform it. Yet there are none of the excesses of some of today's "historically influenced" performances, and some of the tempi are quite leisurely in comparison. The chorus is of moderate size but with convincing weight, the orchestra likewise and it is all performed with expression and vitality and well recorded.

The full recording features the countertenor Paul Esswood in some of the arias but he does not appear on this disc. The four soloists here are first-class, and Elizabeth Harwood's singing of the 12/8 version of "Rejoice greatly" should not be missed, nor should Raimund Herincx's "Why do the nations". The real jewel, however is Janet Baker's "He was despised". I have never heard this famous aria sung better (and I have heard dozens of performances). The disc is worth the money for this alone.


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