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Reviews Written by
Paul Capell (Lancaster, England)

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Felling the Ancient Oaks: How England Lost its Great Country Estates
Felling the Ancient Oaks: How England Lost its Great Country Estates
by John Martin Robinson
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book., 5 May 2014
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This is an excellent book and has some fine photographs and the text is informative, without too much detail. Very highly recommended for those with a specialist interest and those who are just intrigued with the subject.


Antony Morato Men's Vest, Grey, Large
Antony Morato Men's Vest, Grey, Large

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the cost, 5 May 2014
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This is a quality product and a nice fit and comfortable to wear. It can be recommended even though it is a bit more expensive than other vests.


G-Star Men's Tank Top 2-Pack, Blue, Large
G-Star Men's Tank Top 2-Pack, Blue, Large
Price: £27.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A very nice vest, 13 April 2014
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Excellent fit and looks good on. It arrived before the advised date and I can highly recommend this product, and there are two vests in the pack.


Mercadante: Flute Concertos Nos. 1, 2, 4 [Patrick Gallois] [Naxos: 8.572731]
Mercadante: Flute Concertos Nos. 1, 2, 4 [Patrick Gallois] [Naxos: 8.572731]
Price: £7.72

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All a bit ordinary..., 2 April 2014
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I read favourable comments about this disc in a recent edition of the Gramophone. I also thought that I had heard these works before and liked them. In fact I had mistaken these concertos for some clarinet concertos by the same composer.
I cannot drum up much enthusiasm for these flute concertos, and I have listened to them many times. Perhaps they are 'pretty' but they are not very interesting nor original. One very annoying feature is that Mercadante is very fond of repeating phrases .
Some melodies are quite pleasing but there is not enough contrast. The flute writing is often virtuosic, but to little effect.
The chamber orchestra accompanying Patrick Gallois is not at all special and does not seem particularly involved in the music.
Of course Patrick Gallois' playing is excellent and I suppose that it is good to have more flute concertos to listen to and it is enterprising of Naxos to give us the opportunity to hear them. It would, of course, be a shame if Naxos ever scaled back their readiness to explore little known music.
Though I am not really recommending this disc it is very cheap and anyone interested in this genre will not be losing much, if like me, they find it all a bit ordinary. I am a believer in trying rare works.


Scharwenka: Piano Concerto No.4 / Polish National Dances
Scharwenka: Piano Concerto No.4 / Polish National Dances
Price: £7.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shame on Naxos..., 24 Feb. 2014
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...for not signing up Francois Xavier Poizart to record more Romantic Piano Concertos. He has a formidable technique and gives a wonderful performance of the magnificent Scharwenka 4th piano concerto.
I have and admire Stephen Hough's performance on Hyperion. Poizart's performance is easily the equal and in many ways perhaps a bit more satisfying.
What has to be said is that Hough also gives us the lovely Sauer concerto whereas the Naxos fillers are not very interesting in comparison. But at the price, and if you like the concerto, it is worth purchasing, even if you have the Hyperion disc.
Each movement in Poizart's performance is longer than in Hough's performance. This does not mean that Poizart is in way sluggish. He sometimes broadens the music as in the slow movement which is getting on for almost 2 minutes longer. In no way does it drag but seems more profound for it. Similarly he takes the lovely long second subject section of the first movement more leisurely.
The frenzied last movement may not be as high octane as in the Hough performance but there are passages to relish like the pounding tarantella section, and at 4 minutes 20 when the second subject of the first movement re-appears. Here the orchestral contribution is more prominent and brings out the yearning of the music. It sings beautifully above the piano in a way that the Hyperion disc misses it. The final double octaves in Poizat's hands are far more prominent and electrifying.
In fact there is nothing to criticise in Poizart's performance at all. It is a fine example of a little, or unknown, pianist, conductor and orchestra pulling out all the stops and giving a wonderful performance.
No one ever seems to see that everything in this concerto is all derived from the first short orchestral statement. And, at the end of the finale, the second subject of the first movement returns to battle with the first subject of the finale, which is a variation of the opening of the first movement. [!] And, the piano battles it out with the orchestra. The first subject and the piano win, of course.
The fillers are ok but Naxos missed an opportunity to employ Poizart's talents more effectively.
I give this disc 5 stars : 4 for the overall programme, but 6 for the concerto, an average of 5 stars !


London's Lost Battlefields
London's Lost Battlefields
by Robert Bard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Highly Recommended Book, 2 Nov. 2013
This excellent book was recently given to me as a present. The author takes notable battles and skirmishes in London and sets them clearly and concisely in the context of the times they occurred. He describes many of the battles and their aftermaths with frightening detail and backs up his research with many eye witness accounts and references. This does not mean that it is in any way a dry, academic book. In fact the author has a knack of making it all come alive and in many instances it is almost unbearable in the shocking detail. In no way does he sensationalise the events, but imparts his enthusiasm for history to the reader. The chapter on zeppelin attacks on London in the first world war is very interesting.

The amount of research that he must have done must have been enormous, but he seems to have distilled it to give just the right length and depth of information. Despite this, I really wanted it to go on and on. I hope that he gives us some form of sequel, perhaps The Lost Battle fields of England, or even of Europe?

This book is very highly recommended.

It should appeal to those interested in history and those who just like a good read.


Nutcracker Suites - Tchaikovsky / Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn
Nutcracker Suites - Tchaikovsky / Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn
Price: £15.63

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Uninspiring, 21 Oct. 2013
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The Gramophone this month gave this disc a very good review. If you are a fan of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn or jazz, you may be interested in it.
I am very disappointed. I find it rather tedious and certainly not for repeated listening. It may be that the arrangements stray too far from the originals and so it becomes any old jazz. I know that jazz is improvisation, but to stray too far from the original seems to me to be rather pointless in this case. At least it makes me realise that Tchaikovsky's melodic inspiration and orchestration are very special. The performance of the original suite is very ordinary and there are many other better performances. None of this is helped by the very dry acoustic. It is no fun.
Not recommended at all.


Dvorak: The Symphonies (Decca Collectors Edition)
Dvorak: The Symphonies (Decca Collectors Edition)
Price: £15.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As great as Kertesz, perhaps greater ?, 5 Oct. 2013
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I had all the Dvorak symphonies on L.P. conducted by Kertesz in the 60'. More recently I have I bought recordings, though not complete sets, by Barbirolli, Kubelik, Dorati, Neumann and Guzenhauser [extremely good]. I borrowed the Kertesz set on C.D. from a friend with a view to purchasing it and to renew my memories of these fine performances. I also remembered hearing one or two discs in the 60's from the Rowicky set and being very,very surprised how fine they were, even better than the Kertesz versions. I listened to the Kertesz set many times, but decided to go for the Rowicky set, as a new set would mean that I would listen very carefully to the performances.
I have no regrets at all. These are wonderful performances. The sound is wonderful too, with much depth and clarity. There isn't the slightly glassy quality of the Kertesz set. The bass lines and inner detail are superb and the overall balance is perfect.
Rowicky knows when to push ahead and when to relax. His performance of 8th is as fine as Kertesz's legendary 8th [and so are the versions by Barbirolli and Dorati].Rowicki's versions of 4,5,6 and 7 are finer than Kertesz's.
My only reservation was the Carnival overture which I felt was a bit dull and plain compared with Kertesz. The other day I played it and turned up the bass and volume and it seemed a different recording, and just as fine.
I really recommend this set. The Kertesz is very fine, but these performances by Rowicki do have the edge over him, and in superior sound.


Czerny - Symphonies Nos 1 and 5
Czerny - Symphonies Nos 1 and 5
Price: £7.68

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment, 27 May 2013
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Sadly I am very disappointed with the music on this disc. I purchased Symphony No.2 by Czerny ( with the same orchestra and conductor ) a while ago and I had high hopes that these symphonies would be as lovely as No. 2, and they are not. No.2 is fresh and melodic and was quite a revelation to me. Symphonies 1and 5 are much the same in many ways, but in comparison are very dull and hard driven. There is no development through these symphonies.
I can definitely recommend No.2 but not Nos. 1 and 5.
I will persevere with them, but I think that I have gone beyond the point of no return !


2013 Adidas ClimaCool 3-Stripes Blocked Golf Polo Shirt White/Oasis Large
2013 Adidas ClimaCool 3-Stripes Blocked Golf Polo Shirt White/Oasis Large

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent shirt for Sport, 10 May 2013
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This is a nice shirt to look at and very comfortable to wear, and it does not crease nor need ironing, so if it is thrown in to a gym bag it will not come out all creased..I shall probably buy another from this Adidas range.


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