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A. McGuire "Alec McGuire" (Leeds, England)
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Wellington: A Personal History
Wellington: A Personal History

4.0 out of 5 stars Great biography, 13 Mar. 2014
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Hibbert has done it again, and written a portrait. Starting from youth, and going through to age, Hibbert presents a balanced, judicious account of Wellington's life, that shows us the whole man, and not just the famous bits. Welington becomes alive as a person and a character.
Those who want accounts of battle plans at Waterloo need to look elsewhere; those who want to see what Waterloo meand to him and did to him psychologically need look no further. I learned a great deal, and understood a lot more about this complex, flawed but honourable man.
My only quibble is that that same character traits get reported over and over. It isn't necessary to hear about his fore- planning of events, everytime there is an event, for example. For that reason only, it isn't 5 stars.


Cardoso - Manuel Cardoso Requiem
Cardoso - Manuel Cardoso Requiem
Price: £14.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, 13 Mar. 2014
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The Tallis Scholars at their very finest.

This Requiem is deeply moving, and affects one at levels one forgot one had: a true emotional roller-coaster.

What more, really, could one ask for?


Italian (Usborne First 1000 Words)
Italian (Usborne First 1000 Words)
by Heather Amery
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 13 Mar. 2014
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Why wasn't this around when I was struggling to learn Italian vocabulary? A series of pictures - sketches - of Italian and, indeed universal, scenes is accompanied by labels giving the Italian word and gender, starting with the easiest words, and, gradually, getting a little more complex. I find I can learn a page a every day or so, just by keeping it by my bed (the best time to learn new things, so it appears).


Schubert: Wanderer's Nachtlied - Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition 8
Schubert: Wanderer's Nachtlied - Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition 8
Price: £19.50

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathy performance, 13 Mar. 2014
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Goerne is without doubt one of the greatest baritones of the age. His rich, velvetty tones are unmistakeable. And this CD shows his voice off to its full degree.

But two (minor-ish) quibbles. first the repertoire. Like every other genius, Schubert had his not-so-genius- filled movements. He is never boring; but not always inspiring. So, if you are recording a complete works, where do you put the lesser works? You can do like Boetsch and release a whole record of them, or, better as MG incorporate them among more interesting work. So there' s the occasional dull track, but never a bad one.

It's also interesting to compare him in works he's previously recorded, where he can seem more much more relaxed in his treatment, and accordingly more nuanced.

But my second problem is more serious, and it is the increasingly audible intake of breath (once mid-word!) which becomes distracting. I hope I'm wrong and there'snot an organic problem, where treatment would put the voice at risk. But even if there is, a singer of his skill can always improve technique, and this does need attention.

That said, I'd go anywhere (actually I have, almost) to hear him sing. He is a true maestro.


Loewe: Songs & Ballads
Loewe: Songs & Ballads
Price: £13.53

4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant performance; pity about the music..., 13 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Loewe: Songs & Ballads (Audio CD)
Boetsch is a brilliant baritone, with a full range of vocal effects at his disposal, and the sensitivity of Roger Vignoles, that master of accompanists, alongside him. So if anyone was going to make this music shine it would be him. And regarding the sining one can only give 5 stars.
But Loewe was not a composer of the first- rank; he is no Schubert, or Brahms or Wolf. And too many of these pieces are competent but not that much more. Yes, his music deserves to be recovered and appreciated; but hyped - decidedly not.
Worth listening to, but not a disc I shall in all honestly probably ever return to. Sorry if that offends Lowew-philes, but that's how it comes across to me: standard 19th repertory which hasn't really stood the test of time.


Tasting Heaven on Earth: Worship in Sixth-Century Constantinople (Church at Worship)
Tasting Heaven on Earth: Worship in Sixth-Century Constantinople (Church at Worship)
by Walter D. Ray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Eggy...curates?, 6 Mar. 2014
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This book shows marks of having been written for a course, and then having only been lightly revised for publication. We get a description of St Sofia and of the outlines of a service there. the architecture, and the vesseals are outlined, and various photos give a sense of the building - as fas as photos can.
But then we get 40 pages of direct quotations from Procopius to underline all this - and procopius has his longeurs. - follwerd by 30 more pades from the Fathers.
Tthis is followed by an Order of Service (at last,). which leads into 30 pages of sermons from early sources. And then ten pages to sum it all up.
May I suggest a good editor? There's a lot of worthwhile material here, but the presentation is not far off shambolic. Four stars for content; two for lay- out.


Schubert Favourite Lieder, Schöne Müllerin
Schubert Favourite Lieder, Schöne Müllerin
Price: £10.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars liquid perfection, 5 Mar. 2014
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I can still remember the first time I heard Souzay sing Die Schone mullerin, and being struck by the balance between the forward momentum of the work - this was a single piece of music, not a catena of fragments -, by the attentiveness of the performance less to individual words (the current zeitgeist) but more to the development of emotion and its sensibility, - and the sheer beauty of the voice. DFD eat your heart out...
30 years on and the thrill is still there. Certainly, there are singers who must be put alongside him - Goerne, Boethsche, etc. But he still holds his own, If you're a Schubertophile (guess whether I am?) and you need to find a place on your shelf and in your heart for Souzay.


The Late Scholar (Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane series Book 4)
The Late Scholar (Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane series Book 4)
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wimsey? Not., 25 Feb. 2014
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How on earth could one further Peter Wimsey? But .Jill Walsh has done so in a very fine way.
The secret is in the word "develop",; for this is not pastiche. It is entering into the psyches of a group of characters, and letting them develop, much as a good original author does - there comes a point where they take over. And as far as feasible with characters not her own, that is what Paton Walsh has done., though there are moments of melodrama, Even so ii is an impressive work.


English Choral Practice, 1400-1650 (Cambridge Studies in Performance Practice)
English Choral Practice, 1400-1650 (Cambridge Studies in Performance Practice)
by John Morehen
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem., 25 Feb. 2014
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There aren' going to be many who but yhis book, and that is a shame. Music range, Latin pronuniation, English 16tm pruniciation, chirister training, etc. All is here. Yes, it it a book of conference papers, and therefore not cheap. But it the budget runs to it, then this reader, for one, found it fascisnating,


Schubert: Die Schöne Müllerin op 25 D 795 (1824)
Schubert: Die Schöne Müllerin op 25 D 795 (1824)
Price: £13.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 25 Feb. 2014
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Despite my leaning to the work of Goerne, I have always regarded Grerars Souzay as the finest singer of Die shonne Mullerin. The question is, as another review put it, a tenor v a baritone, and a bass baritone at that.
The essense of the baritone is flexibility; it is neither quite a bass, not a quite a tenor, but has strengths from both. Boethsch puts all other versions in the shade. He has a formidable technique,, and he uses it exactly as the words and emotion require. It is impresiive. Only DF-D is truly comparable. in revent times. For from proof, just listen to the way he floats the high notes (g in tenors) in Die bist die Ruh. Each is different; each is perfectly judged, each is just what is required.
Truly an A 1 performance. Just buy it....


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