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D. M. Ohara "Dan O'Hara" (Cleveland, UK)

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Haydn: Piano Trios nos. 39, 43-45 (Trio Wanderer)
Haydn: Piano Trios nos. 39, 43-45 (Trio Wanderer)
Price: £11.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer delight!, 9 April 2016
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This CD is a delight from start to finish. If anyone wants to become aware of the sheer inventiveness of Haydn's music, and hear it performed with such brio and affection, there is no better place to start. Four enchanting masterpieces, all in major keys, sparkle here like diamonds in the hands of the Wanderer Trio. Not to be missed


Busy Body: My Life with Tourette's Syndrome
Busy Body: My Life with Tourette's Syndrome
by Nick van Bloss
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A candid and heart-warming memoir, 1 Mar. 2016
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It is now ten years since this book was published, and friends to whom I lend it are still enthralled and moved by the author's candour, wit and courage. There are not many who could chronicle a life of such highs and lows with half as much insight and good-humour, and not a hint of self-pity.

In the past decade Nick has resumed performing in public - albeit not very frequently - and has published 5 marvellous Nimbus CDs of music by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann. More are said to be awaiting release. His blog suggests he has recently had further - perhaps on-going - medical problems, and recently needed eye surgery. All his many fans must wish him a speedy recovery and a return to performing and recording. He is just too good a musician and pianist to be overlooked.

As a writer - well, his gifts of communication are very special. After reading this memoir, one feels a privileged guest in his life-story. Indeed, it is surely high time he followed it up with a sequel, telling us of all that has happened over the past decade.


J.S. Bach Goldberg Variations
J.S. Bach Goldberg Variations
Price: £14.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable, 28 Feb. 2016
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This is certainly one of the best recordings of the Goldberg Variations I have heard. The artist is really inside the work, and his technique is simply fabulous. There is a depth and seriousness - a gravitas - in his approach to the music which is most engaging and rewarding - nourishing, even.
I also like Jeremy Denk's recent recording - which is possibly more playful and 'airborne' - a view from above, as it were, rather than, as here, from the grass roots. These two recordings complement each other splendidly, and I would not wish to be without either.
If it doesn't sound too fanciful, one might compare Nick van Bloss to a really good claret, and Jeremy Denk to Champagne.

His live performance in Miami, in which he includes a few more ornaments, is also on-line [YouTube] and comparisons are interesting.


Bach: Partitas 1, 3 & 6
Bach: Partitas 1, 3 & 6
Price: £6.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite top drawer, 23 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: Bach: Partitas 1, 3 & 6 (Audio CD)
I was encouraged by reviews to order this CD. I had heard the pianist play in London and thought him very good.
These are interesting performances, but I do not find them as memorable or as satisfying as those by Murray Perahia, or Andras Schiff in his later ECM recording. There are many fine Bach pianists before the public today, and this CD does not quite achieve a top recommendation.


Lehar: Zigeunerliebe (highlights)
Lehar: Zigeunerliebe (highlights)
Offered by Boyrecords
Price: £8.11

3.0 out of 5 stars Charming score let down by the tenor, 9 Jan. 2016
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It is a great shame that Robert Stolz did not have a better tenor than Rudolf Schock available when he recorded highlights from some of the best operettas for Eurodisc in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Tauber and Schmidt were long dead, Peter Anders had died young in 1954 and Fritz Wunderlich had barely arrived on the scene.
Zigeunerliebe has a splendid score with wonderful melodies and a rich orchestration, showing Lehar a master of his art. Margit Schramm is OK, if not in the same league as Hilde Gueden or some of her contemporaries; but it is Schock who lets the side down here with his tendency to force the voice in the upper range and at higher volumes. Very unpleasant. The disc makes an inexpensive introduction to the score [if you shop around, it can be had for a penny!]; but if you love the music you will not be content with it.


Bach - Partitas Nos 5 and 6
Bach - Partitas Nos 5 and 6
Price: £7.72

3.0 out of 5 stars Too agogic!, 5 Nov. 2015
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Interesting, but too idiosyncratic to be satisfying. Rubsam pulls the tempo to bits, as if doing his utmost to defy the metronome. Not that one wants to hear an unvaried, mechanical approach to tempo: but when hardly a bar does not contain some wilful agogic bending, one feels as though in a 'house of mirrors', and the effect is to induce a queasy feeling of seasickness. Give me Schiff or Perahia or Nicolayeva any day!


Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Tapiola, Karelia suite, Finlandia, The Bard
Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Tapiola, Karelia suite, Finlandia, The Bard
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent re-masterings!, 23 Oct. 2015
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I do not need to enlarge on the merits of these performances, which I have known and loved for many years.
Just read the other reviews if you need to be convinced. But I do need to add a word about the excellence of these startling new re-masterings. It is as though an old master had been cleaned and presented anew. Don't hesitate to acquire this set!


Chopin Sonata in B minor and 24 Preludes
Chopin Sonata in B minor and 24 Preludes
Price: £14.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Hats off, gentlemen: a Genius!, 27 July 2015
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Nick van Bloss is a genius. His thoughtful approach to the music, and his wonderfully crisp articulation, has given us perhaps one of the best three or four performances of the B minor sonata ever committed to disc, and the most fully integrated account of the Preludes I ever remember hearing.
It is all too easy to view - and play - these twenty-four miniatures, in each of the major and minor keys, as a series of vignettes; but van Bloss has conceived - and presented - them as a single work in which the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts - a masterpiece, in fact. This is compelling musicianship of the highest order, and a delight from start to finish. I can't think of another contemporary artist whose next disc I await with keener anticipation. He has already recorded Schumann's Kreisleriana and Symphonic Etudes, due for issue in November 2015: and there is a promise of more late Beethoven and some Mozart sonatas and concertos. Watch this space!


JS Bach Keyboard Concertos
JS Bach Keyboard Concertos
Price: £13.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph, and a delight!, 23 July 2015
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Nick van Bloss has coped bravely with Tourette's Syndrome since he was seven years old, and overcome cancer more recently. His moving and witty autobiography 'Busy Body', published in 2006, describes his triumphs and tribulations, and reveals him as a gifted writer, as well as a first-rate pianist and musician. His condition has prevented him from following the usual career trajectory of such a gifted pianist, and for 15 years (from age 26 to 41) he was not heard in public. Thankfully, that has now changed with a series of concerts in various parts of the world and a recording contract with Nimbus which has so far produced 4 CDs, all of which have received well-deserved plaudits.

In these five Keyboard concertos by JS Bach (numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7) he reveals a vivid musical personality and exemplary technique - the music flows naturally and has an irresistible buoyancy. His decision to double the bass octave in places usually enhances the music, but may cause some eyebrows to rise in the Andante of the G minor concerto BWV 1025. I doubt, though, whether anyone's enjoyment of this wonderful disc will be adversely affected. Nick van Bloss is clearly an artist to be cherished, and one looks forward to more records - and a further instalment of his autobiography - from this committed and engaging man and musician.


Vienna Master Series: World-famous Sonatas
Vienna Master Series: World-famous Sonatas
Offered by hessleoldbooks
Price: £13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A most impressive Scarlatti recital, 11 July 2015
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The pianist Dubravka Tomšic may not be as well-known in the West as many of her contemporaries, though she has an impressive presence on YouTube. She plays these Scarlatti sonatas with all the musicality, verve, panache and technique one could wish for. These 1989 recordings have been issued in at least 4 different incarnations, some of them now offered on this site at very high prices. For a modest outlay (if one shops around), this is a way of acquiring a most desirable disc that will give endless pleasure. The jewel-box inlay gives only Longo numbers for these 13 sonatas, so it may be helpful if I add here the more familiar Kirkpatrick Numbers: K.1, 146, 19, 551, 259, 125, 9, 159, 11, 14, 299, 466, 39. Some of these are quite familiar, others less so.
Potential purchasers may be interested to know that there is no overlap with the selection of 15 sonatas included by Andras Schiff in his Decca CD made around the same time. There is, however, quite an overlap with the Pogorelich selection on DGG; where I have compared them, I find her more compelling. The recording quality is excellent. This CD has quickly become my favourite single-disc Scarlatti sonata selection [excepting only Horowitz, of course!].


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