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R. J. Cochrane
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Spider Shaped 335 Hard Guitar Flight Case
Spider Shaped 335 Hard Guitar Flight Case

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy with this, 4 Sep 2012
The main thing I wanted to say was that this fits the Epiphone ES-335 Dot perfectly. It certainly looks and feels solid enough for everyday carting between rehearsals and gigs; obviously if you intend throwing it around / driving a car over it etc you probably need something else, but at the budget end this should do the job.


Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)
Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)
by Immanuel Kant
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not great value, 3 Nov 2011
I'm not going to review Kant's philosophy here; this is a classic work whether you agree with his ideas or not. I will say that it's worth reading this before the Second Critique as it makes the latter a bit more approachable.

This edition is perfectly readable and the transalation seems reliable (I'm no expert). But given the cost of this book, and the fact that the text itself is only 66 pages, I'd expect something a bit better. Editorial footnotes are scarce and the introduction is OK but very brief. The paper is shiny and the text is crammed onto the pages with quite narrow margins, so compared with the Hackett editions it's hard to use if you like writing all over your texts and it's a bit tiring on the eyes. There's really no excuse for doing this with such a short, important work that's so expensive per page.


The Structure of Atonal Music
The Structure of Atonal Music
by Allen Forte
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of C20th musicology, 19 Mar 2011
I'm posting this review just to give some balance to the other two that exist for this book at the time of writing, each of which gives the book only one star. Having nothing but one-star reviews for such an influential book just seems bizarre, especially since some some of the weird reasons given suggest the reviewers have a poor handle on what Forte is up to. There are doubtless more up-to-date books that describe Forte's results alongside those of later theorists in a more accessible way; this text remains a classic.


50 Bebop Heads: For C Instruments
50 Bebop Heads: For C Instruments
by Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says, 25 April 2006
This is a great no-frills book. It contains just the tunes and chords; no piano arrangement, guitar boxes or anything else to clutter things up. The chords are just the bare bones, without substitutions and most are unadorned 7th chords. Exactly what you want, in other words, if you plan to learn the tunes your own way.

Unlike some books of "essential" tunes, which skimp on royalty costs by including a lot of stuff that's decidedly inessential, the selection here is great and includes lots of classic Parker and Gillespie heads. You'll recognise most of the tunes instantly if you're familiar with this music. I haven't worked with it long so I can't attest to its accuracy, but there's certainly a lot of information packed in here for a small price.


Birtwistle: Earth Dances; Panic
Birtwistle: Earth Dances; Panic
Offered by Zapper
Price: 24.25

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sweeping orchestral epic and some serious fun, 18 Dec 2004
Fans of Birtwistle will almost certainly know these scores already, particularly Earth Dances, which is perhaps the largest of his processional, ritualistic pieces. It's been compared to "The Rite of Spring", although probably more for its volatility than for any musical similarities.
This is a big (35-minute), sweeping work, as befits its tectonic inspiration (it is the earth that, in the title, is dancing). This means it can also feel a bit episodic, alternating between clearly-defined contrasts but not seeming to build much of an "argument" in the traditional sense. The perception that this is HB's most important work probably comes from a tendency to conflate size with profundity, but still this is great stuff; it's just a shame that some of his other, smaller-scale works aren't so well-known.
The second piece here, Panic, is a showpiece for saxophone, drum kit and orchestra inspired by the myth of Pan, goat-god and perennial troublemaker. The saxophone takes Pan's role and contends with the orchestra throughout, making a superficially abrasive, hyperenergetic piece. However, it's beautifully paced, with brash passages interrupted now and then by a more pastoral tranquility. It's a tranquility that never lasts long, however --most of all towards the end, when such a section begins only to be shattered by Harle's tenor sax scattering all before it.
I can't agree with the Amazon reviewer on this piece -- I've come back to this piece many times for its sheer exuberent sense of fun. It's unlike anything else by HB, and John Harle plays with tremendously jazzy energy, making the meticulously-notated part sound off-the-cuff. A pity it was scheduled on the Last Night of the Proms, where it was guaranteed an audience of the musically unadventurous; the anecdote is in danger of overshadowing the music.


Concrete Mathematics: Foundation for Computer Science
Concrete Mathematics: Foundation for Computer Science
by Donald E. Knuth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 73.14

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the effort, 20 Oct 2004
Unless you're very used to this type of mathematics, this book will, as other reviewers comment, prove hard work. However, even someone with little formal maths background like myself can get a lot out of it. It's beautifully written and well-presented, and on the whole the pacing is OK, although sometimes it goes much too fast for casual reading.
Once I've made my way through it, I suspect it will make a very useful reference book too; it's full of useful techniques for solving real-world problems, at least if you work in a field that sometimes requires you to solve recurrences and work with tricky integer functions.
Although often corny, the marginalia do give you something of the feeling of being on a course, rather than just reading a textbook. As well as daft jokes, there are hints as to the relative importance of some sections (including "skip this bit on first reading" as well as "this is the critical part" -- both kinds very helpful).


Chimeras
Chimeras
Price: 26.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zorn's most successful "classical" composition to date?, 25 April 2004
This review is from: Chimeras (Audio CD)
Zorn is well-known for his thrash-jazz scream-ups and his cut-and-pastecartoon antics, but in the last decade or so he's also been carving out aposition for himself as a "serious" jazz composer, writing stringquartets, orchestral pieces and the like.
Some of this works and some of it doesn't, but this composition, a cycleof twelve wordless songs using a slightly augmented version ofSchoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire ensemble, is really superb. "Most successful"will always be controversial of course, but I imagine most people wouldagree this is up there with his best work in this vein.
The instrumental writing has some of Schoenberg's clarity and sense ofdepth -- as with Pierrot, you get the impression that the music acts as aset of stage scenery, with clear foreground, middle and background -- andas with his more famous predecessor Zorn varies the instrumentalcombinations in each piece. This leads to very dynamic, accessible musicthat never threatens to get boring. The brevity of each piece makes thefocus seem even more controlled.
What's truly distinctive here, however, is the vocal writing. Thesoprano's voice soars in a kind of insane, rapturous bel canto; althoughvery little deviation from traditional classical vocal technique isrequired, the sound is entirely unlike anything else I can think of.
This is, put simply, an unashamedly beautiful album with none of the archirony that sometimes threatens to spoil Zorn's work. Anyone who enjoyscontemporary classical music would be mad to miss it; Zornites who haveonly heard Masada and The Big Gundown might get a surprise, but this isn't"difficult" music; indeed, it's its very directness, along with theconsummate skill with which it has been realised here, that makes it sopleasing.


Works by Peter Maxwell Davies
Works by Peter Maxwell Davies

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not background music..., 5 Feb 2004
Among Maxwell-Davies's many achievements has been his development of the half-staged "music theatre" from the model of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire; this was undertaken in collaboration with the tireless group The Fires of London. This disc captures two of their historic performances, and should be on the shelf of any contemporary music fan.
The music is certainly confrontational and does not usually go down well at dinner parties; as with the Schoenberg, however, the many-layered music, which functions a little like a stage set, rewards repeated listening. The performances, especially those of the singers, are done with great gusto, and once the initial shock is overcome there is real pleasure to be had here. Randolph Stowe's poetry is also superb, which makes a change from the stuff some composers choose to set.


It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 5.59

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware, 3 Feb 2004
A great album, but the version I got did not play on a PC. It contained some spurious "enhanced material" (a handful of Quicktime movies I didn't want) but no audio tracks.
I won't reiterate what the other reviews say -- the music is of course wonderful (I have an old tape copy) but check you are getting a standard audio CD before buying if being able to listen on your computer/iPod/whatever is important to you. It's important to me, so I returned it. Caveat emptor.


Lo Spazio Inverso,Muro d'Orizzonte etc.
Lo Spazio Inverso,Muro d'Orizzonte etc.

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro to Sciarrino's music, 23 Oct 2003
This was my first encounter with the Italian composer, and I have to say I'm impressed. His practice of extracting extreme timbres from ordinary acoustic instruments to create an almost electroacoustic sound-world is very reminiscent of Lachenmann, but his structural approach is quite different.
Sciarrino's forms are simple but usually lopsided; pieces change direction three-quarters of the way through, or just suddenly stop for no aparrent reason. Their shapes are often like one of those Newman paintings with all the action crammed in one margin of an otherwise largely blank canvas.
He uses repetition heavily, but because of the nature of the material, and the nature of the repetitions (they're not exact by any means, but constantly changing), this music feels extremely remote from minimalism.
The music is performed with great poise in all cases; it demands both delicacy and deciciveness (even forcefulness) and everything seems to come off right here. Most impressive.


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