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chris hall (Abergavenny, Wales)

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A Lesson in Dying (Inspector Ramsay 1) (Bello)
A Lesson in Dying (Inspector Ramsay 1) (Bello)
Price: £1.79

4.0 out of 5 stars well-written yarn, 1 July 2014
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A fast-.moving and intriguing yarn, set in the. North East of small mining towns and coastal villages, with the way of life and the people who live there very well-observed.


Schubert Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9
Schubert Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely complete Great C major, 30 Jun 2014
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This is that rare thing, a version of the 9th Symphony in which every repeat is observed. It transforms the work, making listening to its inexorable progress absolutely hyponotic, like an expansive mantra, especially in such an idiomatic and unaffected performance. Definitive.,


Mahler: Symphonies 4-6
Mahler: Symphonies 4-6
Price: £11.20

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maazel's unique Mahler, 6 May 2014
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphonies 4-6 (Audio CD)
This landmark live cycle continues, probably the conductor's last recorded word on the composer, quite unlike any other versions of these infinitely multi-faceted works. The most expansive readings I can remember hearing of all three symphonies, the effect is utterly hypnotic, transcendental in scope, the drama emerging from within the music itself rather than being a predominating feature, without the slightest hint of neurosis or excessive emotionalism. As for the Philharmonia's playing, they are flawless, fully living up to their Klemperer-led predecessors, equally unsurpassed in idiomatic fluency and consummate virtuosity.
There are other, more overtly dramatic ways to interpret this music. For that we have Gergiev, Solti, and Kubelik to turn to, and for a more lyrical and direct approach, Vaclav Neumann's very under-rated versions.
Nevertheless, these new recordings provide a complementary and uncompromising alternative to whatever other favourites you may have in your collection, and should be snapped up at this price by all Mahler lovers who wish to explore all aspects of the composer's genius.


Gustav Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde
Gustav Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde
Price: £4.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Das lied that surpasses all others., 19 Aug 2013
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I have countless recordings of this supreme masterpiece, Walter (three versions), Klemperer, Solti, Barenboim, Guilini, Kletzki to name just some of them, but none surpasses this miraculous live performance, very well recorded and restored. The most wondrous element is, of course, Janet Baker, whose rendering of Der Abschied is heart-breaking and takes us into a realm of emotional and spiritual profundity that is beyond even Ferrier or Ludwig. This is her definitive reading, the studio-bound and prosaic Haitink version being completely eclipsed by the power and passion of Kubelik's masterly conducting, and Kmentt proving vastly superior in the tenor songs to the lightweight James King. The playing of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra is consummate and faultless, and this interpretation must rank as one of the greatest Mahler documents of all time.


Mahler - Symphony No 6
Mahler - Symphony No 6
Price: £9.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding bargain, 5 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Mahler - Symphony No 6 (Audio CD)
That it is possible to find some real gems hidden away on Amazon downloads is demonstrated by this astounding bargain. The conductor is not a great celebrity (though he will be familiar to Radio 3 listeners as a splendidly versatile musician)and the orchestra is unknown to me, but they combine to provide quite the finest interpretation of this difficult symphony I have ever heard. There is a freedom and unforced vitality about the playing and a deep integrity and an idiomatic empathy in the conductor's reading that time and time again reveal fresh insights and previously unrealised dimensions to the work that are genuinely inspiring and full of verve. That this should be available for a fraction the price of a ticket to a live performance is astonishing. And that this is a live performance itself does not mean that the recording is anything other than wonderfully resonant and natural. A pity about the missing repeat in the first movement, but this was common practice until recently, and I am probably in the minority when I say that the scherzo - andante movement order seems to me to be the most appropriate in terms of meaningful narrative flow. Whatever, at this price only a fool would hesitate.


Sibelius: The Symphonies & Tone Poems (Decca Collectors Edition)
Sibelius: The Symphonies & Tone Poems (Decca Collectors Edition)
Price: £18.53

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seminal set, 21 Feb 2013
This is a seminal set of these works. If you want windswept forestscapes and lakes, then go for Berglund or Segerstam; high drama, Rozhdestvensky; mythic romantic narrative,Barbirolli, Ashkenazy or Ormandy; but if you want to reach deep into the dark heart of the Sibelian imagination, delved into and explored with utter intellectual rigour, uncompromising passionate engagement and a truly revelatory spiritual journey, then these have never been surpassed. Nor are they likely to be, even by Davis himself whose quest to perfect and refine his interpretaion has produced two further cycles with the LSO. Both are utterly superb cycles, but neither have the edge and improvisatory relish of this set, which has a sense of discovery and freshness that the later, perhaps wiser, but less spontaneous readings cannot replicate. Also, the LSO, though masterly, just can't match the fervour and aplomb of the Boston players with their scintillating strings, lucid woodwind and sonorous brass, underpinned by a percussion section whose dynamism is without parallel. As a result, the symphonies emerge with a cogency and compacted energy that even these terse works do not quite possess elsewhere, however idiomatic and exciting those performances may be. Indeed, I would suggest that whatever favourite readings you may possess (and I have many) it essential to supplement them with these truly historic accounts, which receive the best recording of any of the Davis versions.


Zoom APH-2n Accessory Pack
Zoom APH-2n Accessory Pack
Price: £25.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars essentials masquerading as extras, 12 Feb 2013
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This is a real swizz. The wind-shield, the mains adaptor,the remote control and the extension lead are essentials and should have been included with the recorder kit itself. The rest is pure tat, the kind of stuff you can get from a pound shop. To charge an added thirty quid for this is a total rip-off.


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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb tablet, 5 Jan 2013
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This is outstanding. Ignore the Apple hype for the mini, which takes no cards or has any physical input slot. This is a bargain.


Storage Options 55263 Scroll Pocket 4.3 Inch Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Capacitive Touch Screen Tablet
Storage Options 55263 Scroll Pocket 4.3 Inch Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Capacitive Touch Screen Tablet

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant miniature tablet, 27 Dec 2012
First of all, if you want a smart phone, buy one. This is very much a computer and not a phone. For me, its clinching feature is that I can load all the apps I use on other tablets for sophisticated art work on to this and share the resulting files. As an artist, this is my priority, and I can now have a permanent sketchbook with me at all times. the same applies to paint and photo editing programmes, along with the ability to save on an external disc. The little machine also works a treat.

For an artist, a godsend. For a chatterer/texter/gamer, maybe not.


Symphony 5
Symphony 5
Offered by wolfhound57
Price: £4.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Shostakovich, 4 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Symphony 5 (Audio CD)
This is 'horse's mouth' stuff, as authentic as Mravinsky, with a level of virtuosity in the playing unmatched on any other recording


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