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Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 - Sony Classical Masters
Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 - Sony Classical Masters
Price: £16.24

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A novice at sea, 22 May 2012
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These compilation sets are amazing value. I buy several versions at once and thoroughly enjoy the immersion in new unchartered waters. I found that playing through the classical composers and then the romantic ones that I am heading in a Wagnerian direction. Strangely I emerged from that composer into Bruckner and found a new sound which is etherial and almost perfect. As usual I can be confused as a non musician; my first purchases of Bruckner was Tennstedt ( which my computer said was Karajan) leading to buy full sets, based on excellent reviews, by the Jochum and Wand. I have just started on the Wand. The label says its the 1st symphony, my computer says its the 2nd. Apparantly the 1st was written before the 0 and after the F unlike the 2nd which is after the 0. Again apparantly the Jochum version is totally different to the Wand because of the regular updates carried out by Bruckner. I have no musical training and have no method of verifying any of these statements. I can only wish that EMI etc ( this box is RCA) would be consistent in their details and perhaps give notes to help me through this quagmire. This collection has no notes. I find some confusion in most of the compilation sets, with the computer occassionally picking up different pieces, different conductors and different versions, sometimes being unable to identify any part of a CD. The last time I mentioned it on a review a worthy commented that the physical label was correct and the computer one wrong. I hope that is always the case.
So, whatever I am listening to, it is good, the orchestral playing is superlative and confident, majestic rather than emotional, not as quirky as Tennstedt. I am looking forward to comparing Jochum who has been described as benefitting from being a true believer thereby being influenced by the mood rather than the architecture.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2013 12:48 AM BST

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the tracks of 'The Great Railway Bazaar'
Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the tracks of 'The Great Railway Bazaar'
by Paul Theroux
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reliability in question, 3 May 2012
Paul Theroux is credited with saying "Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going." PT's style is highly readable. Purportedly he meets all the right sort of people in the right places to give the reader greater insite. This book is more about these conversations than true travel reporting. PT believes that the reader doesn't want to hear about the boredom and delays and I suppose the nitty gritty squalor. Graham Greene and George Orwell write a totally different book which is to me more authentic. For example when he says the toilet on a Central Asian train was appalling I am curious as to whether there was a hole in the floor or something 'more western' and whether there was water, clean or otherwise, either in a bucket or from a tap. Skipping such deatil makes me wonder if he actually travelled as he said. Of course there is always the smoke and mirrors so that by saying his wife was more understanding of the second journey than the first authenticates the journey.
I hadnt intended to write a review until I was brought up sharply by the Delhi to Mumbai trip. PT leaves Delhi for Jodphur where he discovers that Prince Charles and Diana are visiting. Then he travels onto Jaipur where he catches the first day of a festival. Subsequently he continues on to Mumbai. There is no reason to make such an obvious mistake. Even if PH wants to go to Jodphur especially to see the Prince and backtrack to Jaipur for the festival why cannot he write a more plausable scenario than simply re arranging the Indian subcontinent. Suddenly I dont trust him anymore and then details really start to emerge and grate. The Indians are, as the developed world, taking advantage of cheap labour. This is written from a socialist viewpoint as though he disapproves of exploitation per se and especially of the Indians cheating on their own. Then you notice that PT likes getting a bargain and how cheaply he can eat, sleep and travel. Having pity on the oceans of poor people are best described at a distance so the real emotion is credited to being overheard from passing American women.
Another blow actually came at the beginning of the book but only later reveals its message. The first journey The Great Railway Bazaar PT 'pretended to be jolly in the published narrative'. This is endorsed elswhere when PT says 'you can pretend,in travel, to be different from the person you are...' or, as I suspect, you can pretend to be where you are not. PT said "Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going." An interesting statement.

Shostakovich - Symphony No 8 (LSO Rostropovich)
Shostakovich - Symphony No 8 (LSO Rostropovich)
Price: £7.25

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russian, 14 Dec. 2011
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I have been trying to work out what makes a Russian performance different to a western one. I may have spotted it as being the rich lower base strings are not trying to accompany anything. In the versions I like there are two levels of sound and they are separate. the higher registers are the Russian winters and they play against the lower registers. They do not mix. As I listen to this performance I can easily forget the base strings which do not have such a cloying warmth. Maybe this is what another reviewer referred to as a weakness. I disagree.
How can you realisticly have closeted reverberation in the great outsides? Rostropovich is truly Russian and not of the western drawing room kind

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
Price: £5.32

3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As Russian as a Bourgeoisie drawing room, 14 Dec. 2011
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I was surprised on my Marantz signature CD player and Naim amplifire ( high end) to start this production. The sound is forward and lush. The strings reverberated round my room. I thought I was in for a treat. But no. The thick beautiful noise continues throughout. It is as alien to the russian snows as a view through double glazed windows. Buy this CD if you want to watch a beautiful movie, if you want to feel the Russian climate look elsewhere.

I am reminded of the Solti VV Karajan Ring cycle. For luxoury take the Karajan for drama the Solti. I regret being taken in by the hype. This boy was too good to be true. Agreed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 30, 2012 11:56 AM GMT

Der Rosenkavelier: Munich Philharmonic (Thielemann) [DVD] [2009]
Der Rosenkavelier: Munich Philharmonic (Thielemann) [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Herbert Wernicke
Price: £19.86

0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars karajan at his zenith, 8 Nov. 2011
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This performance is without equal. Karajan in his heyday was a force that has in my opinion never been equalled, Sadly his dynamic interpretations fell away with the years. I get the feeling that the prime karajan rescored elements of the operas because his hand guides you through the drama in a way that is unique. Other conducters have produced different dramas but their musicians too often can be envisaged as accompanyment. With Karajan the art is seemless. With Karajan I dont need the DVD the music stands up without subtitles or interpretation. Some people dont like the way that in mid 19c performances individuality is sacrificed, but for me I dont want new style opera I want the old style, perfect homogenous sound.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2011 5:49 PM GMT

Hector Berlioz Edition
Hector Berlioz Edition
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £43.51

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True music, 8 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Hector Berlioz Edition (Audio CD)
I bought this collection inspite of a review I read describing it as a perfect introduction. I dont know why reviewers have to think boxed collections are a starter pack. Anyway I bought this as I was only familiar with the Berlioz fireworks: the symphony fantastique and overtures. Now I see Berlioz as an extraordinary composer for orchestra. It is seldom to see a composer write with enough self confidence to give so much time to solo instruments and singers. Such soloists need nerves of steel if they are to appear part of the greater whole. The French language is beautiful and best sung by soloists that speak with the softness of phrasing that comes with with being fluent.

So we come to these discs. Eliahu Inbal is not afraid of the quiet magic Berlioz knits so economically. I cant imagine the draconian conductors allowing the singers and orchestra so much freedom to enjoy the natural flow I imagine they would be frustrated with the seeming lack of direction. If you want to enjoy the wonderful language spreading easily across the musical palatte then buy this, it is a wonderful dream played with love by inspired musicians.

Klaus Tennstedt: The Great EMI Recordings
Klaus Tennstedt: The Great EMI Recordings
Price: £18.27

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional interpretations, 23 Oct. 2011
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Records are being reissued in cheap boxed sets and so I cant resist exploring new interpretations. I had heard Tennstedt and the LPO playing Mahler symphonies and was transported by the open architecture of the interpretations. Captiveted, I bought this set. Unfortunately not all are the LPO who have a very identifyable brass section but who can complain about BPO etc.

I am now a committed Tennstedt fan. He doesnt follow trend or fashion and therefore injects new life into tired classics. For example, I didnt understand Brahms symphony No 1 until I heard Tennstedt; all that incoherent jarring noise in the first movement has become a pulse carrying on the opening drum beat . Amazing. I have only heard half the CDs so far but they are the most exciting find this year....
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2011 11:02 AM BST

Tchaikovsky: The Complete Symphonies
Tchaikovsky: The Complete Symphonies

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars self indulgent, 29 Aug. 2011
I was influenced by reviewers to the point I bought this collection. The reviews were so upbeat I failed to notice the emphasis on the melancholia and slow speeds. Tchaikovsky is an enigma a free spirit subject to depressions but also joyful exuberance. To look at his music as a sort of classical leonard Cohen is a mistake.
I was looking for a lightness of touch, stimulating, joyful mood changes and adrenalin. This collection is broody, heavy, self indulgent, relentless. Unfortunatly the pathos in the depressive passages are no contrast just more of the same. I looked to the 1812 as a light relief and found the reading destroys the structure or anything grand. A bass drum replaces the cannon. I hope I dont come across Bernstein conducting the ballets.

Verdi: Falstaff
Verdi: Falstaff

5.0 out of 5 stars Exuberant, 29 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Verdi: Falstaff (Audio CD)
I had this recording when it was LPs on the Columbia label. It is so exuberant and a joy to listen to I have rated it among my most favourite operas. Just like Vrdi had a middle and late period so too did karajan and his early rendering of early Otello, Aida and Falstaff among others are amazing. John Culshaw and Walter Legge certainly were exceptional producers.

Rossini: Barber Of Seville 2CDs
Rossini: Barber Of Seville 2CDs
Price: £9.83

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A five star prformance, 22 July 2011
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This is a perfect performance with Los Angeles getting exceptional credit from Gramophone mag. I have started to buy opera with native language speakers as they seem to have more fun in interpreting the role. This Barber has Monti and Rossi-Lemeni and Los Angeles is totally at home in the part. Together with Tullio Serafin and the orchestra Sin di Milan it is an Italian production of excitement wit and charm.

My only misgiving is that the CD seems to taken from tapes with slight white noise.The review drops a star for this. Most digital conversions are brighter than normal and take a bit of getting used to. This one is musicly true and I suppose there had to be a trade off. I normally listen on Digital earphones which are too analytical and so catch the low hiss. My high end hifi is a lot better and on reflection I prefer this true transcription to one where the cost of eliminating background noise is an unreal brightness. .

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