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James Walters (Scotland)

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Classical Ballet Class
Classical Ballet Class

5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable improviser and pianist half captured., 26 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Classical Ballet Class (Audio CD)
John Sweeney is one of the great improvisers of our time. He is able to play in many idioms but always filtered through his own personality and shorn of sentimentality. His playing was once described to me as "earthy" which is about right. The dance world, and the silent cinema world are fortunate to have such a talent on board. This CD was made quite awhile back and is ultimately a shadow of his capabilities....I think live is best and obviously Sweeney has moved on from here. Having said that....well worth getting hold of. This glimpse of a talent outstrips all the competition in terms of ballet class CDs.


In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile
In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile
Price: £4.27

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prince Charles's mentor and adored by Thatcher., 1 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mandatory reading for anyone who grew up in the midst of the acclaimed Jim'll Fix it. The apostrophe was Savile's idea as the original title suggested by the BBC producer was the rather clunky ' Jim will fix it ' . On their cruise together on the QE2 (beautifully described...you feel as if you're on the luxury liner)Dan Davies points out moments of genuine warmth and yet on the whole one comes away with a feeling of few redeeming features and is left perplexed as to why the establishment turned a blind eye to his horrific behaviour. Post-Savile I hope people like this will be less untouchable from accusations.


Piano Man: Life of John Ogdon
Piano Man: Life of John Ogdon
Price: £4.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ogden sometimes gave 200 concerts per year, 10 Jun. 2014
The recent BBC 4 documentary inevitably scratches the surface of Ogden's life but it's a tribute to how vivid this book is that the timbre of John and Brenda Ogden's spoken voices (and their mannerisms) are much as I imagined. The latter is a controversial figure and she receives a relatively sympathetic treatment here,especially in the final stages.
If anything the book is too good!
...I was hoping it would last me longer but I ended up devouring all too rapidly.


Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves [DVD]
Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves [DVD]
Dvd ~ Adam Lundgren
Price: £10.25

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbearably moving but not sentimental., 18 Dec. 2013
Benefiting from the distance of time this is surely the most poignant and hard hitting of AIDS movies, and a nice surprise that it should come from Sweden.
The warning is writ large and it needs to be!
While watching, it was impossible not to contemplate how fragile and uncertain our little lives are, and how precious the fleeting moments of joy and ecstasy.

Rasmus looks so fragile as he escapes from his cocoon into real life and throbbing temptations.
Beautifully acted throughout, and I like the way the storytelling is non-linear and yet never confusing. Treats you like an adult.
My only criticism is the well intentioned but rather clunky title which I can never remember. I wonder if this is a translation issue?
I've just devoured the three episodes on BBC4 but will buy the DVD as i'm hoping to hear about some of the background information. Nice score which appropriately enough seems to be based on Ravel's famous "Pavane for a dead Infant"
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2014 1:02 AM GMT


Karajan: The Second Life [DVD] [2013]
Karajan: The Second Life [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Herbert Von Karajan
Price: £11.10

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mostly outstanding addition to the films about Karajan, 3 April 2013
Thoughtful contributions, and never-seen before footage of rehearsals make this film a must-see for fans and sceptics alike.
'Karajan-the Second Life' avoids duplicating material covered in the two outstanding documentaries already in circulation. The third on EMI is of less importance.

I was particularly interested in what the resourceful recording technicians had to say.
In some instances,undoing Karajan's meddling at the mixing desk, hoping he wouldn't notice!
All of this has been elegantly woven together in a format not unlike the award winning documentary 'Traces to Nowhere' by the same director. Infact, atleast two of the contributors are the same.

My main gripe concerns the casual use of film footage, which sometimes contradicts what is being spoken about.
For example, Karajan's live Mahler 9 is the key subject at one point, and yet it's maddeningly interwoven with footage of
Mahler 5. I guess no footage exsists for Mahler 9,but i'm not in favour of this kind of approximation!
Even more confusingly, the famous 2nd Viennese School box set is being fervently praised against a backdrop of Karajan rehearsing the 'Rite of Spring'
In many respects Stravinsky is diametrically opposite to Schoenberg, Berg and Webern.
A more telling use of music is towards the start where Schonberg's Variations op.31 is a magically underpins a night time shot of Berlin traffic near the Philharmonie concert hall.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2014 8:55 PM BST


The Flung Spray, for Pianoforte
The Flung Spray, for Pianoforte
by David Branson
Edition: Unknown Binding

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very imaginative and beautifully crafted piano piece from 1943, 3 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The Flung Spray, for Pianoforte
Very imaginative composition.Hard to place this piece stylistically...Bax,Ravel,Delius spring to mind at times but Branson is an individual voice.
Surprising that a piece like this can slip into obscurity.


Richard Rodney Bennett: The Complete Musician
Richard Rodney Bennett: The Complete Musician
by Anthony Meredith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 9 Mar. 2011
Having reached the half way point of this magnificent biography I was itching to listen to more of Bennett's music, and re-evaluate what i'd previously heard:not least,the life enhancing Partita which was his first concert piece to break free from 12-note techniques.
The tone of voice is chatty rather than scholarly, but I was always impressed by the skill in which the numerous interviews and correspondence have been woven together to form an exciting narrative.
A few mistakes have crept in (Max Davies's famous 'Farewell to Stromness' is for piano,not orchestra, and saying that Babbitt was interested in writing 'audience free music' is a wilful distortion)but this remains a must-read for anyone interested in Contemporary British Music.


Taking Sides [2003] [DVD]
Taking Sides [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Harvey Keitel
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £10.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking film., 22 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Taking Sides [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
The Major, as portrayed by Keitel is such an obnoxious/one dimensional character that my sympathy tended to edge towards Furtwangler.A more balanced perspective is provided by his two assistants.
My frustrations about the conductors apparent collusion with the regime were tempered by a number of factors.
1.)Furtwangler could've left Germany in 1934. Unfortunately he didn't have the gift of foresight. I doubt he could've anticipated the carnage which would ensue.
2.)Nazi regime was a dictatorship and therefore not so easy to push against.Atleast,not without detrimental affects on his career. Within those constrains,he did more than many would in his position.
3.)People who were more entwined with the mechanisms of the regime were hired by the USA (space age developments) and didn't undergo this amount of scrutiny.


Harvey: Body Mandala, Timepieces, Tranquil Abiding, White As Jasmine ...Towards A Pure Land
Harvey: Body Mandala, Timepieces, Tranquil Abiding, White As Jasmine ...Towards A Pure Land
Price: £13.19

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sensual allure of a gentle modernist., 29 Nov. 2009
Even at its most demonstrative,there's never a sense of angry modernism in these often very sensual orchestral scores.If vocal lines can be a potential pitfall for the modern composer,it's not the case here with the swooping allure of `White as Jasmine` Superb performances which mark one of the most distinctive tenures in the history of this orchestra.
The linear notes are slightly less than one might have hoped-for example,vague or simply non exsistent regarding when some of the music was composed.


I Want to Fuck You
I Want to Fuck You
by P.-P. Hartnett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars stunnning, 19 Nov. 2009
This review is from: I Want to Fuck You (Paperback)
Quirky style and many brilliant observations-i was gripped from the outset.For example pg.120 where we are at the school gymnasium and the class is being taken by the inspiring Hando San.
"`volunteer?`
fourty arms which could snap like brittle ice shot up."

I`d like to get to know more of P P Hartnett.
The title is honest yet is the one thing which could be improved upon.


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