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The Ashes 2013 [DVD]
The Ashes 2013 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mark Nicholas
Price: 7.25

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cricket great, DVD not so..., 7 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ashes 2013 [DVD] (DVD)
Anyone who is enthralled by cricket and knows what happened in the 2013 Ashes will not need me to provide a review of the actual cricket itself, so I won't do that.

However, the poor quality of this production must be mentioned. It is basically a hotch potch of the Channel 5 daily highlights, which is fine, as long as you don't mind listening to Geoffrey Boycott and Michael Vaughan.

But...there is no option to 'Play All' of the Tests on each disc, you have to select a Test, and then, in a sub menu, select a Day from that Test. This is irritating, and then even more so, because at the end of each day, it defaults back to that sub menu, doesn't continue on with the Test, so you have to select the next day etc etc.

There are no extras either, like a post series wrap up, or a look ahead to this winter's upcoming return series in Australia.

But the worst thing, by a mile, is the picture quality. There is no high definition offering, even though the highlights were broadcast in HD every night, and this SD picture looks like it was filmed in the early 90's, not this year.

All in all, if you love cricket like me, you'll buy it and put up with the many pitfalls, but to be honest, a poor show from the ECB, Channel 5 and 2entertain, a great series deserved much better, and the only reason I give it 3 stars is because the cricket itself deserved 5, and the DVD production deserved 1.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2013 4:30 AM BST

Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (Sonatas Recorded In Vienna 1983-84) (Daniel Barenboim) (Euroarts: 2066424) [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (Sonatas Recorded In Vienna 1983-84) (Daniel Barenboim) (Euroarts: 2066424) [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Daniel Barenboim
Price: 48.85

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph, 2 Dec 2012
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I own a fair few Beethoven Sonata cycles, including Barenboim's other video cycle for EMI in 2005. That was good. This is absolutely excellent. The tempos are much more considered, the delicacy over the keyboard reaches an extremely high level, and the sound of the Steinway is, as always, wonderful.

As for the filming, this is where this collection, directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, really shines over the Andy Sommer directed EMI cycle. The camera angles are well chosen, the grand rooms in which the cycle is filmed are lovely to look at, and the piano is positioned creatively for the camera (we have an early camera angle watching through a mirror.)

The HD remastering is very well done, the only part where the picture falls down is the 1st movement of he Appassionata, but this is explained in the booklet notes. The sound is beautifully clear and rich at all times.

Musically, Barenboim is in the 3rd of 4 sonata cycles here, and for me, this is his best, from the lovely, flowing adagio cantabile of the Pathetique, to the tower of power that is the Hammerklavier, he handles all with aplomb.

Overall, a collection I absolutely love, well worth the money, and I shall be enjoying it time and time again!

Barenboim On Beethoven [DVD] [2008] [NTSC]
Barenboim On Beethoven [DVD] [2008] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Daniel Barenboim
Price: 43.48

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Explanation, 17 Feb 2012
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This isn't so much a review of the music, although that is excellent, more an explanation of formats and of what is in the box.

Firstly, formats. The discs are NTSC formatted, but they are region free (0) NTSC, so they should play on most modern PAL DVD players. They do play on my integrated DVD player in my TV, bought about a year ago, so as long as you have a modern DVD player, don't let the NTSC format put you off, you should be fine.

There are 6 discs, each contained in their own little sturdy sleeve (carboard backed but your discs sit in hard plastic, they won't be damaged), and a thick booklet, containing a complete, movement by movement running order of all the concerts, and part by part details of all the masterclasses. It also has detailed notes on each of the Sonatas by William Kinderman and a short biography of Barenboim, all in English, German, French and Spanish. At the back of the booklet, there is a 'Sonata Index' telling you which disc, which concert and which chapter number each of the Sonatas starts at, for easy reference.

The first 4 discs contain the 8 concerts, which include the complete cycle of Beethoven's Sonatas played by Barenboim.

Disc 1 contains concerts 1 and 2, Concert 1 has:

Sonata No. 1
Sonata No. 18
Sonata No. 29 "Hammerklavier"

Concert 2:

Sonata No. 2
Sonata No. 17 "Tempest"
Sonata No. 10
Sonata No. 26 "Les Adieux"

Disc 2 contains concerts 3 and 4, Concert 3 has:

Sonata No. 8 "Pathetique"
Sonata No. 12
Sonata No. 25
Sonata No. 28

Concert 4:

Sonata No. 5
Sonata No. 11
Sonata No. 19
Sonata No. 20
Sonata No. 23 "Appassionata"

Disc 3 contains concerts 5 and 6, Concert 5 has:

Sonata No. 7
Sonata No. 13
Sonata No. 27
Sonata No. 21 "Waldstein"

Concert 6:

Sonata No. 15 "Pastorale"
Sonata No. 3
Sonata No. 24
Sonata No. 30 (My own personal favourite)

Disc 4 contains concerts 7 and 8, Concert 7 has:

Sonata No. 16
Sonata No. 14 "Moonlight"
Sonata No. 6
Sonata No. 31

Concert 8:

Sonata No. 9
Sonata No. 4
Sonata No. 22
Sonata No. 32

I can't really comment on the musicality of these performances, I'm only a recreational listener, but to my ear, they are excellent. My only minor gripe (as per a previous review) is the camera shot changes every few seconds. This gets annoying and doesn't add to the music at all.

The last two discs are real gems. These include 6 masterclasses given by Barenboim to other pianists, including Lang Lang, Alessio Bax and Jonathan Biss, among others. First we see the 'young' pianist playing their chosen movement of a Sonata uninterrupted, then Barenboim critiques the playing, demonstrating himself at a second piano. Then we have some audience questions, and then sometimes, but not always, we see the relevant passage played by Barenboim in the concerts I've just described.

Each of these masterclasses runs to about 55 minutes, and are as follows:

Disc 5:

David Kadouch plays the opening movement of Sonata No. 16
Saleem Abboud Ashkar plays the opening movement of Sonata No. 21 "Waldstein"
Lang Lang plays the opening movement of Sonata No. 23 "Appassionata"

Disc 6:

Shai Wosner plays the opening movement of Sonata No. 17 "Tempest"
Alessio Bax plays the final movement of Sonata No. 29 "Hammerklavier"
Jonathan Biss plays the final movement of Sonata No. 30

The only masterclass that was filmed that we seem to be "missing" in this set is Javier Perianes playing the opening movement of Sonata No. 31, but I've searched and it doesn't appear to be available on DVD anyway, so there's nothing we can do about that.

Also, don't be fooled into adding the "Masterclasses" DVD in the frequently bought together section to your basket if you're buying this set, as those DVD's are already included in this set.

Finally, there's the question of price and space to consider. These DVD's will of course look better in one set on your shelf, and it is considerably cheaper to buy the set than all 5 items individually (the masterclasses item has two discs.) At current prices (17th Feburary 2012) the five individual items that make up this set will cost you 63.43, whereas the complete set will cost 49.99, a saving of 13.44. Of course, if you're interested in a particular Sonata, you may well just buy that box, but if you want everything, I would buy this set.

All in all, an excellent set for 50.

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