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Reviews Written by
Mr. Daniel M. Townsend "dantee" (UK)

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Patience [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Patience [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Gilbert & Sullivan
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £11.52

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patience on DVD, 6 Nov 2008
Usually, my problem with DVDs of Gilbert and Sullivan operas is that the voices don't match up to the Sargent recordings of the 50s and 60s and that the directors want too much 'business'.

However, this version of Patience (I think it's now available in a UK playable version at amazon) is almost perfect.

The staging is great and the humour, for the most part, comes out of the text and the music.

Heather Begg has a voice that can almost rival Monica Sinclair (a real alto in all the Sargent versions)but Begg, like all performers in the G + S alto roles, goes for laughs instead of singing it straight for pathos as Sullivan wrote the roles.

Christine Douglas looks, moves and sings the role of Patience very well, apart from one or two hard high notes. The big flaw in her performance is that her accent in the spoken text ranges from Yorkshire to Lancashire and spends a lot of time in Liverpool.

Dennis Olsen is a great Bunthorne; comic, effete and his movement is wonderful. Olsen would be the star of the show were it not for Anthony Warlow's Grosvenor. Warlow's voice fits the range of the role exactly in that it needs a baritone but often has to be sung by a tenor and he manages the comedy in his part to perfection.

It will be very hard to find a better DVD of Patience than this. Please let me know if you find one.

Orff: Carmina Burana
Orff: Carmina Burana
Price: £9.27

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Carmina Burana, 26 Feb 2004
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)
This recording is the only one to have ever had Orff's seal of approval and I can understand why: this recording is never romanticised. It is full of vigour, life, humour and (when Orff wrote them)luscious harmonies.
The singers and conductor reflect this perfectly - Euchum has the orchestra play everything to the letter, the tenor uses mainly his head voice for the swan (as Orff asked for), Fischer-Dieskau who is normally renowned for his sophisticated performances but who here gives a mixture of appropriate coarseness, passion and lust and Janowitz who sings with beauty, romantic interest and desire.
It can't be surpassed.

"HMS Pinafore" in Full Score
"HMS Pinafore" in Full Score
by Carl Simpson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 11 Feb 2004
G+S complete scores are difficult and expensive to come by but this score includes much more music than is heard in most recordings/performances and (like the other Dover G+S full scores notes differences in orchestration).
For music lovers and Sullivan scholars alike, it's well worth buying.

The Mikado in Full Score (Dover Music Scores)
The Mikado in Full Score (Dover Music Scores)
by W. S. Gilbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 11 Feb 2004
Full scores of G+S are often difficult and expensive to come by.
This is 'complete' and sturdy.

Gilbert And Sullivan The Pirates Of Penzance In Full Score (Dover Full Scores) (Dover Vocal Scores)
Gilbert And Sullivan The Pirates Of Penzance In Full Score (Dover Full Scores) (Dover Vocal Scores)
by Carl Simpson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.63

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Full Score, 11 Feb 2004
Anyone who is a fan of G+S and wants original full scores should buy this.
It is not only 'complete' but interesting and revealing

Beethoven: Symphony No.9
Beethoven: Symphony No.9
Offered by dabsales
Price: £7.22

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ever 9th, 11 Feb 2004
Normally in the Beethoven Symphonies I prefer Boehm + Vienna Philharmonic to Karajan + Berlin Philharmonic but in the 9th, I think Karajan has the upper hand from the point of view of pacing etc. The singers are well matched in both the recordings, with the exception of the soprani - no-one can match Janowitz in the Karajan.
That goes for all other performances too - just listen to the climax of the last movement when Janowitz sings "Fluegel weiht". There's no-one better!

Mozart - Requiem
Mozart - Requiem
Price: £14.56

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Performance?, 11 Feb 2004
This review is from: Mozart - Requiem (Audio CD)
This recording of Mozart's Requiem is based on H.C.Robbins-Landon's edition of the work.
In the full score, Robbins-Landon explains why he went back to the work of two other students of Mozart, who Konstanze Mozart had asked to complete the work before Suessmayer and why, when their work finished, he went to again to Suessmayer (also a Mozart pupil).
To me, his reasons for this seem sound and the end result, though sounding different in places (from the point of view of orchestration mainly)is not so vastly different from the performances of the Requiem that we have all heard.
Here, though, we have an 'authentic' performance with regard to instruments and style and those who knew Mozart best.
However, this is a performance without the excesses of some purists but with that appropriate style and feeling - just look at the soloists - most with 'authentic' experience and Janowitz who was renowned as Mozart singer in the 60's! And her contribution fits in exactly with the rest.
I rate this performance with 5 stars and as my favourite, even though I have two other great recordings of this work

Beethoven: Fidelio (Gesamtaufnahme).
Beethoven: Fidelio (Gesamtaufnahme).
Price: £61.14

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Fidelio - ? The Best Leonore!, 11 Feb 2004
From the start, I admit it - this is my favourite recording of Fidelio even though there are many wonderful performances of this opera.
Though I feel that Bernstein's conducting/performances became ever more idiosyncratic (from the point of view of tempi, dynamics, pacing etc.) as he got older, I feel that here he got everything just about right (even including the Leonore Overture between the duet and the finale in ActII - at least it seems to follow naturally both tonally and dramatically).
The playing of the Vienna Philharmonic is faultless (as one would expect) but it is the cast that really shines here: the men are ideal in their roles with just the right qualities (weight, accuracy, incision, drama)that one needs. It is a luxury to have Fischer-Dieskau in the role of Don Fernando and Sotin sings the role of Don Pizarro with as much flair, drama and villianousness as Fischer-Dieskau ever did.
I must say, however, that Kollo can be rough at times as Florestan but what else should one expect from a man who has been imprisoned as long as he has?!
The stars of this set, though, are, without doubt, the women - Popp(as Marzelline) and Janowitz (as Leonore):
Popp sings with that beautiful voice of hers and sounds feminine, lustful and shy as required and all at the same time!
Janowitz sings Leonore with passion, anger, fear and joy without losing, even for one moment, that particularly unique and exquisite timbre and filling every note exactly.
For these two alone, I wish the video of this performance were still available!
The sound is great - 1970's, the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Grammophon CD's - do I need to say more?

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro  (DG The Originals)
Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (DG The Originals)
Price: £13.71

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Figaro, 11 Feb 2004
To my ears, this is the best recording of Le Nozze di Figaro.
Boehm's pacing is, as ever in Mozart, immaculate.
Prey as Figaro is ideally weighty and not too funny(why should Figaro be funny with his suspicions?), Fischer-Dieskau is as refined as one would expect but he's also scheming and villainous and the two tenors are excellent in their roles.
The Marzelline sounds just the right age - not an old matron or a young girl - and has the perfect degree of hardness in the voice. Mathis' Susanna is charming, witty and romantic and Troyanos is passionate and confused as Cherubino.
The star here, though, is definitely Janowitz as the Contessa - her voice is so beautiful (and ideal for Mozart and Richard Strauss) it defies description but she is also dramatic and moving.
All arias are included (a rarity) and are sung by the appropriate singers (not so on some earlier sets) and, though this is a recording from the 60's, the sound is great.

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