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Reviews Written by
M. Hayward "Dr Soil" (Hampshire, UK)
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Mozart's Operas: Cosi Fan Tutte / Don Giovanni / The Magic Flute / Le Nozze Di Figaro
Mozart's Operas: Cosi Fan Tutte / Don Giovanni / The Magic Flute / Le Nozze Di Figaro
Offered by Music-Shop
Price: £12.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Bargain, 22 Feb. 2015
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As a Beethovenian, I have to concede that Mozart understood people better, and could do sexy (e.g. Cosi). These are all good performances, and as someone who has neglected opera and enjoyed symphonies and concertos it is clear that Mozart is a surpeme master of all genres. The somewhat tedious recitatives are tolerable because they are in Italian, except for the 'Flute, where the spoken German shows what a beautiful language that is. Some great voices in top form, with old-school conductors who could be relied upon to turn in fine performances of the traditional kind.


French Opera Masterworks
French Opera Masterworks
Price: £22.09

4.0 out of 5 stars A good way in to French opera sans Massenet, 22 Feb. 2015
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I only knew the Berlioz (though I hadn't listened to it since I got rid of my vinyl) and the Bizet. The latter is a cracking performance, with Verrett a sexy Carmen and Solti driving the action along at a fair lick. I can't at the moment understand why the Gounod sustained opera houses for so long, but the Delibes is melodic and beautifully orchestrated. Samson et Dalila is surprisingly good music, and my opinion of St S has gone up. The performances are all very good, I understand (not being an opera connoisseur), and the recordings variable but acceptable, occasionally good - I think the Carmen is available on its own for nearly the price of this box! Brief notes in a booklet, no timings. Historical pedantry: the Eiffel Tower post-dates all of the operas here!


III
III
Price: £10.42

3.0 out of 5 stars If you like them, get it, 22 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: III (Audio CD)
Purchased as a Christmas present for my wife, so I'll give it an average of our two scores...


Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals
Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals
by John Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Progress in an illusion, 22 Feb. 2015
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Weird cover. Otherwise a sane if rather pessimistic book. The human race is irredeemable. His arguments are not to be taken without challenging them or sometimes dismissing them, but this is a thought-provoking book that has led me to more of his writings. The left is suspicious of Gray because he has been a free-marketeer and thatcherite, but there is more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner etc....


Red Sky at Sunrise: Cider with Rosie, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, A Moment of War
Red Sky at Sunrise: Cider with Rosie, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, A Moment of War
by Laurie Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Life-enhancing, 22 Feb. 2015
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I can see why readers love Laurie Lee. His style is unforced, natural and a delight. He is full of life, wide-eyed and thirsting for stimulus. It is remarkable that, like Patrick Leigh Fermor's travels, these youthful journeys were written up so much later. Books to return to again and again.


A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople - From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube
A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople - From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube
by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Immerse yourself, 22 Feb. 2015
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Sumptuous prose, vivid images and a sense of absorption of the joy of life and other cultures. Remarkably written in late middle life, this recounts the first part of a long walk by a very young man as fascism began to stalk Europe. I'd read this book again, and again.


The Dance of Air and Sea: How oceans, weather, and life link together
The Dance of Air and Sea: How oceans, weather, and life link together
by Arnold H. Taylor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.03

4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed examination of Earth and ocean science, 22 Feb. 2015
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I'm not quite sure what the readership of this book will be. It's on the more academic side of popular science, and could even be required reading for a degree in oceanography. However, this is another contribution to a genre that shows the painstaking efforts that have contributed to our understanding of global climates and climate change, no mere environmentalist propaganda but the result of careful quantitative science.


The Overhaul
The Overhaul
by Kathleen Jamie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Intimate voices, 22 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Overhaul (Paperback)
I like Kathleen Jamie's nature pieces, so I sampled her poetry, which is finely crafted, intimate, confessional, and
memorable. I admire it sufficiently and am vain enough to think I could attempt something similar. I may well be mistaken.


Slaughterhouse Five [DVD]
Slaughterhouse Five [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Sacks
Price: £5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Remember Dresden 1945, 22 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Slaughterhouse Five [DVD] (DVD)
I've read the novel several times but steered clear of the move, thinking that 1970s special effects for the Trafalmadoreans would be crude. No need to worry, the abduction of BillyPilgrim by aliens is a minor element of this film, which does a realistic job of his wartime experiences and the flash-forwards and flash-backs of Billy "unstuck in time". I'm not sure it helped my son, who read the book for a Year 9 History project, but I enjoyed the movie, and I'd watch it again.


Laminated Iceberg
Laminated Iceberg
Offered by PopArtUK
Price: £12.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 16 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Laminated Iceberg
Another present for my wife. On her office wall.


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