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Cerddor o Gymru "GPJ" (Berkshire UK)

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Vans Era, Unisex-Adults' Low-Top Trainers, Brown (Suede/Buck), 7.5 UK
Vans Era, Unisex-Adults' Low-Top Trainers, Brown (Suede/Buck), 7.5 UK
Price: Click here to see our price

1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like those you have used to illustrate this message, 20 Aug. 2015
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They were the wrong shoes. Completely wrong. Nothing like those you have used to illustrate this message. Had to return them. Waste of time. Not happy. Told all my friends. Put it on Facebook. Broadcast on the BBC. Twittered about it. Shouted it from the rooftops. OMG


Hallé Tradition
Hallé Tradition
Price: £14.60

3.0 out of 5 stars A valuable musical and historic document., 25 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Hallé Tradition (Audio CD)
These are fascinating CDs, particularly for a Mancunian music-lover, or for one (like me) who played in this great orchestra over some years. These recordings range from the mid 1920s to the early 40s, and are mainly conducted by the great Sir Hamilton Harty, though there are tracks by Malcolm Sargent and Leslie Heward.
The first CD is devoted to Dvorak and Brahms, with a rumbustious performance of the Carnival Overture and New World Symphony. The degree of expressive freedom and flexibility is remarkable, and Harty gets a committed response from his players - you can feel this strongly despite the aged recording.
Disc 2 is devoted entirely to Elgar. Harty's 'Enigma', which dates from 1930 is quite possibly the quickest ever recorded - 26:29. For example, Simon Rattle's recording of the 90s comes in at over 32 minutes - that's a huge differential in a piece of this length (do the maths yourself!). The speed of some of the variations has to be heard to be believed, particularly the semiquavers in no.2. I have to say, it's a ridiculous speed, and far faster than Elgar intended; it's impressive nonetheless that the Halle strings and wind manage pretty well - seat belts securely fastened no doubt! And again, this has a lot to do with side lengths.
The extracts from the 1935 'Gerontius', taken from a BBC recording, feature some fine singing from bass Keith Faulkner, and, especially, the tenor Heddle Nash. Every word Nash sings is discernible - quite a feat given the nature of the vocal writing and the age of the recording. The disc is completed with 'By the Wayside' from 'The Apostles', with another distinguished line-up of soloists, and 'Salut d'amour' conducted by Seward. The Halle Choir is credited for 'Gerontius' but not for 'Apostles' - which is odd, because they appear in the second but not the first! 'Salut' is as magical as ever.
The third disc contains Bruch - G minor Violin Concerto - and Mendelssohn - Italian Symphony and Hebrides Overture. Albert Sammons is the violinist in the Bruch, and despite the considerable surface noise, the beauty and emotional power of his playing comes through marvellously well - the slow movement is memorable. The Italian Symphony is fresh and breezy - but the absence of repeats does affect the proportions - particularly in the Minuet and Trio, which sound oddly stunted without them. I suspect that has a lot to do with the short length of the sides of the old 78 records.
Finally, there's a disc devoted to Schubert, performances recorded between 1927 and 29. It begins with 'Concerto in A minor for cello and orchestra'; what's this, what's this? I cried! But don't get excited; it's an orchestral arrangement of the 'Arpeggione' Sonata, which I've always found a deeply tedious piece. However, I have to say that the cello playing Gaspar Cassado is quite wonderful, and succeeds in making it well worth hearing. His wonderfully clean and expressive playing, so well captured by the engineers, makes it very difficult to believe the age of the recording. The lovingly played 'Rosamunde' Overture and excerpts complete this disc.
These CDs make up a most valuable musical and historic document. The performances are enjoyable, in some cases truly outstanding, for themselves. But they are also an itriuguing insight into the history of orchestral performance and conducting styles in Britain throughout the first half of the 20th century. Great value.


War Elegy
War Elegy
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars interesting, 13 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: War Elegy (MP3 Download)
Hadn't heard the Elgar piece before; it's an interesting work, but for me didn't quite hit the spot as his music usually does for me.


The Proud Bassoon - Virtuoso Works for Baroque Bassoon and Continuo
The Proud Bassoon - Virtuoso Works for Baroque Bassoon and Continuo
Price: £16.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 13 Jun. 2014
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Wonderful playing; his tonguing is incredibly rapid and light, and he 'bends' the music in such a musical way. Still can't believe that real Baroque bassoonists made a weedy tone like this, though.


Here Comes a Chopper (Vintage Classics)
Here Comes a Chopper (Vintage Classics)
by Gladys Mitchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit over-iinvolved, 13 Jun. 2014
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Yes, a bit too involved, but charming with a sense of fun and period. Just needed pruning a bit in my opinion.


Sandy's Sidemen
Sandy's Sidemen
Offered by The Grove Fayre
Price: £15.65

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic jazz, 13 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Sandy's Sidemen (Audio CD)
Great stuff - love it. Always loved it. Will continue to love it. Jolly nice etc. etc. How is that?


In Flanders Fields for Trumpet, SATB Choir & Piano - Richard Storry
In Flanders Fields for Trumpet, SATB Choir & Piano - Richard Storry
Offered by examdots uk
Price: £0.45

2.0 out of 5 stars Harmonically a bit strange, trumpet writing is good., 13 Jun. 2014
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the trumpet writing is good, but some of the harmonies, to my ear, don't quite work. The choral writing is ok - not particularly grateful to sing though.


Holst The Hymn of Jesus and Delius Sea Drift & Cynara
Holst The Hymn of Jesus and Delius Sea Drift & Cynara
Price: £10.25

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great choral singing, and fine interpretations, 17 Oct. 2013
Holst's Hymn of Jesus, despite being acknowledged as one of his greatest masterpieces, has become a comparative rarity on disc, and was really in need of an outstanding recorded performance to bring it into prominence. And that is what it has received here; the Hallé Choir sings with great imagination and rhythmic precision, while the orchestra colours the music superbly. Above all, Sir Mark Elder has the timing of the work to perfection, and guides his forces through with exactly the combination of mystery and momentum that characterises the piece.
The text is based on the apocryphal Acts of St. John, which postulate the heretical teaching of Gnosticism, expressed in the phrase `Divine grace is dancing'. Holst finds the right musical language to match the words; mystical in its use of two ancient plainchants, Vexilla Regis and Pange lingua - both heard in the introduction - and powerful rhythmic drive in the exciting 5/4 section. The mention of that time-signature reminds me that this work follows immediately on The Planets in Holst's output, and has many characteristics in common; the irregular rhythmic patterns found in Mars, the tick-tocking ostinati of both Venus and Saturn; the remoteness of Neptune, and so forth.
I should mention too the wonderful contributions of the Hallé Youth Choir, who supply the music's radiant halo in their `Amens', as well as the first appearance of the Vexilla Regis plainsong. And the main Hallé Choir are magnificent, with terrific weight and precision for the great utterances of `Glory to Thee', but also a truly magical hushed pianissimo for `Behold in me a couch; rest on me'. At the end, the burst of applause comes as a shock - hard to believe that such an immaculate performance could be a live rather than a studio one.
Delius' word setting is for me the least favourite aspect of his art. The inherently shape-shifting nature of his melodies and harmonies can make the vocal line seem stilted, awkward even. Nevertheless, Sea Drift is an undeniably beautiful piece, and when it is done like this, with such red-blooded passion from both the Hallé Choir and the excellent soloist Roderick Williams, it is a powerful experience. The choir, it should be said, is not on quite such good form as for The Hymn of Jesus (recorded a year later). There are one or two ragged entries and patches of slightly suspect tuning. But they completely get away with it because of the sheer sense of commitment in their singing.
Cynara is an interesting work, not often heard. It is for baritone and orchestra, and is a setting of a poem by Ernest Dowson; a love-poem, which refers to the Odes of the ancient Roman poet Horace. It shares this with Dowson's most famous poem, whose most celebrated lines are `They are not long, the days of wine and roses'; an aching sense of regret, which of course makes it perfect for Delius. His music evokes that emotion more potently than any other I know; that gives the piece its emotive force, but it's the repetition in the words of the four stanzas that supplies a sense of structure and direction which we sometimes miss in Delius' vocal works. The baritone Roderick Williams is simply outstanding; firm in tone, true in intonation, but sensitive to the intensity of the text.
This is an outstanding and memorable CD, bringing together three masterpieces of English music which are all less well-known than they fully deserve to be.


There Is No Rose - Christmas Choral Works
There Is No Rose - Christmas Choral Works
Price: £9.15

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Full-blooded, hearty singing from a highly polished young choir, 26 Sept. 2013
Les Sirènes is a female chamber choir made up of students and graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, directed by Andrew Nunn. They have put together an attractive CD with an obvious Christmas slant to it. It makes a fine showcase for the Conservatoire, as they are joined by four talented instrumentalists. The first of these, the harpist Pippa Tunnell, is the accompanist in Britten's glorious Ceremony of Carols - written on the boat home from America in 1942, the ship dodging the U-boats while Britten composed in a cramped, stuffy cabin; "Well", he said "one had to do something to alleviate the boredom". Quite.
This is a committed, intense performance, but, be warned, very different from what we have become accustomed to in this music - and what Britten had in mind. He was of course thinking of children's voices, though that in itself in no way invalidates this well-prepared, stylish version. These young women's voices are full-blooded, very rich and powerful. Their quality is beyond doubt; but here and there, the microphone picks up individuals with that extra bit of power , or more vibrato, and in some numbers, notably the opening plainchant, that can be uncomfortable. So the blend is less than ideal, as is the balance between the two treble parts in `In Freezing Winter Night', track 9. However, the numbers with prominent solos are beautifully done, with a higher level of expressive nuance than one would expect to get from child soloists - Julia Daramy-Williams rich soprano is particularly striking in `This yongë child' - so it's a little bit `swings and roundabouts'. The overall effect is quite `close-up', which does militate somewhat against the numinous qualities in the music.
However, not for nothing were they awarded 2012 Choir of the Year, and there is a confidence and panache about their singing that is compelling, despite my slight reservations. Pippa Tunnell's contributions are excellent too, particularly the Interlude for harp solo, which meditates so beautifully on the processional chant.
Of the remaining items, Elgar's `The Snow', with its violin duet and major/minor switches, works especially well, perhaps because the ripe Romantic idiom is so appropriate for this choir's approach and sound. Helen Knight's soprano in Rutter's `Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day' is a real pleasure, though the same composer's `A Merry Christmas' seems one of his less interesting arrangements - or perhaps I'm not in the Christmas mood yet! Never mind, only 88 shopping days to go......


Saint-Saens - Symphony No.3 'organ'
Saint-Saens - Symphony No.3 'organ'
Price: £6.63

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid performing, 24 July 2013
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A great coupling, with the sensational Saint-Saens 3rd Symphony and the wonderful Poulenc Concerto. Not top quality sound, but convincing stuff.


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