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trottman

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Braquo Season 1 & 2 [DVD]
Braquo Season 1 & 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jean-Hugues Anglade

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not take things too seriously, 1 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Braquo Season 1 & 2 [DVD] (DVD)
The five stars are for entertainment value for this is an amazingly crafted and fast moving cop show with excellent production values. If you find the Shield riveting then the two seasons of Braquo will definitely appeal to you. That said The Shield always retains some semblance of reality even when the lives of Vic and his strike team start to unravel. Season one of Braquo does just about keep within the reality guideline but such is not the case with season two which, despite being edge of the seat stuff, has a complex multitude of plot lines, a massive body count and such a large cast of characters that it is at times difficult to keep track. Suspend reality and enjoy the two seasons as well made thrillers. Morse is dull when compared to Braquo but his stately promenades are certainly nearer the truth.

Trottman
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 6, 2012 6:45 AM BST


Don Carlo [DVD] [2011]
Don Carlo [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Covent Garden Royal Opera
Price: £17.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy record of a good production, 28 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Don Carlo [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
The DVD of this 1985 production of Don Carlo from Covent Garden is a welcome addition to any Verdi collection. Masterminded by Luchino Visconti with impressive sets and traditional costumes the production was filmed for video by the very experienced Brian Large. The sound quality is good and the picture quality acceptable although, at times, there appears to be some colour fading. As is now often the case with Covent Garden's historic productions there is no booklet but the sleeve does provide a full cast list and chapter headings.

The production is fortunate to have very good singers in the six lead roles. In what is a departure from the common accepted practice Luis Lima concentrates on the introverted nature of the hapless Don Carlo at the expense of heroic posture. In a role that demands that the protagonist is dazzled by the complexities of a great love the performer is suitably emotional. The tenor has obviously given his role interpretation a great deal of thought and his well sung performance deserves every credit. The opera, which is Verdi's most complex and grandest work, is in fact kind to its subject for the actual infante, who had only four great grandparents, was mentally unbalanced, seriously vindictive and like Elisabeth de Valois was to die in the early twenties.

Always very accomplished when depicting pathos Ileana Cotrubas creates a tender Elisabetta di Valois. The soprano is very impressive during the confrontations that take place in the king's study and in her long aria in the final act. The Covent Garden reliable Robert Lloyd looks every inch the part of the autocratic and troubled king. The famous bass duets between the king and the grand inquisitor are among the high points of the production. Here Joseph Rouleau creates a memorable example of ecclesastical tyranny.

In addition to Luis Lima there are two stand-out performances. Always a solid and dependable Verdi baritone Giorgio Zancanaro shares top honours with Bruna Baglioni. Zancanaro makes Rodrigo a genuine father figure for Don Carlo and the scenes together are very touching. Bruna Baglioni captures all the changing moods of the scheming, selfserving and finally penitent Princess Eboli.

After watching this production a viewer can conclude that Don Carlo and Elisabetta are two retiring people forced by the accident of birth to participate in the demanding complexities of power politics and at such an interpretation neither Luis Lima nor Ileana Cotrubas can be bettered. For those seeking a more robust definition of the role Placido Domingo is at his ardent best in the Met's 1980s version of the opera. My own favourite is the unorthodox offering of 1996 from Theatre du Chatelet, Paris with gold star performances from Roberto Alagna and Karita Mattila.

Trottman


Edmond Hall & Teddy Wilson
Edmond Hall & Teddy Wilson

5.0 out of 5 stars A treat indeed, 28 Jun. 2012
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Edmond Hall and Teddy Wilson played together in a sextet during the early 1940s but until surfing on Amazon I was unaware of these excellent quartet sides. Recorded in July 1944 both clarinetist and pianist are in top form and create marvellous relaxing music. The bassist Billy Taylor and the drummer Arthur Trappier, until now a name unknown to me, provide sound but unobtrusive rhythm.

It is something of a mystery that Edmond's younger brother Herb is not better known. Also a fine clarinetist but with a less attacking style Herb can be heard to good effect on "Old Tyme Modern" which also contains fine work by the stride pianist Claude Hopkins and the bassist Arvell (Arville) Shaw. Unfortunately this very enjoyable CD is now very hard to find

Trottman


Verdi: Don Carlos [DVD] [2001]
Verdi: Don Carlos [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Verdi
Price: £16.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great operatic occasion, 26 Jun. 2012
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With the exception of La Traviata Don Carlos (Don Carlo), in its various forms, remains by favourite Verdi opera and a telecast of this particular production was my first introduction to the work. Performed in the original five act French version the production was staged at Theatre du Chatelet in 1996, under the baton of Antonio Pappano. There are a number of productions of the opera available on DVD and most are examples of a traditional staging but such is not the case here. The production, which boasts some very superior singing, is justly famous and remains my favourite on DVD.

Certain reviewers have disliked the staging which is certainly different. There is no particular style of set or costume design but what there is works very well and does complement the action. The staging is definitely not a Zurich style madhouse. Each scence does have an individual style of its own including the white costumes of the chorus in the forest of Fontainebleau, the black dresses of the queen and her attendants outside the gates of the monastry at Yuste, the colourful costumes of the crowds at the auto-da-fe and the stark design of Philippe's study with furnishing limited to a chair and a campbed.

The production's great triumph is the very high standard of singing by the various solo artistes and the chorus. In recent years Roberto Alagna's career has encountered certain difficulties but at this time he was regarded as the young tenor of the moment destined for a glorious career. He gives an inspired performance both as singer and actor. He is well partnered in the famous duets by Thomas Hampson here establishing his credentials as a fine emotionally charged Verdi baritone. Jose Van Dam impresses as the autocratic and troubled king. In the role of the scheming, vengeful and finally penitent Princess Eboli Waltraud Meier is most impressive in her great acte IV aria "O don fatal et deteste"

Among the singers there are two great stand-outs. Wearing a series of fabulous (but not traditional) dresses and with a hairstyle that manages to increase her already impressive height, the beautiful Karita Mattila dominates the stage everytime that she appears. Her singing and acting are always very good but she is at her best in her long aria in acte V "Toi qui sus le neant grandeurs de ce monde" The other incredible performance is given by Eric Halfvarson, who as the grand inquisitor (a hooded, crippled grotesque) is the perfect incarnation of evil masquerading as divine truth.

The singing alone makes the production an essential purchase for the Verdi aficionado but for a viewer seeking a more traditional production a very good starting point is the Met's 1980s production under the baton of James Levine with Placido Domingo at his very best in the title role.

Trottman


Henry of Navarre [DVD] (2010)
Henry of Navarre [DVD] (2010)
Dvd ~ Julien Boisselier
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long but worthy effort, 23 Jun. 2012
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This long but very watchable film covers much of the same ground as La Reine Margot but simply cannot match the style of that deservedly famous epic That said it does deserve recognition as yet another example of the fine craftsmanship long associated with French costume dramas. There is a definite feel for period detail and the acting is very acceptable. Here the stand-out is Julien Boisselier in the title role. An actor until now unknown to me Boisselier makes a very believable Henry of Navarre. The actor possesses the twin essentials of good looks and charm for a successful career in films. Hannelore Huger is also very impressive as the scheming and selfserving Catherine di Medici. Court intrigue is the dominant theme of the plot but the comparatively short action sequences are very well executed. Rather too much time is spent on Henry's sexual exploits but, despite many excellent character traits, the king was a compulsive womaniser. Among the film's achievements is the ability to stimulate a viewer's interest in the subject matter. As so often the sleeve marketing is a total misfire.

Trottman


Giordano: Andrea Chenier - Royal Opera House/Rudel [DVD] [2004] [2001]
Giordano: Andrea Chenier - Royal Opera House/Rudel [DVD] [2004] [2001]
Dvd ~ Covent Garden Royal Opera
Price: £8.51

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stars only for the leads, 22 Jun. 2012
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In recent years the standard and marketing of DVDs of Covent Garden's historic productions can leave a great deal to be desired and this 1985 production of Andrea Chenier, under the baton of Julius Rudel, is no exception. Fortunately the sound is very good but the picture quality is disappointing for colour intensity has faded. Foolishly the decision was made to seriously cutdown on the time allowed for curtain calls which adds to the impression that the DVD was manufactured in a hurry. The DVD has been very badly marketed for there is no booklet, the sleeve contains very little information, there is virtually no cast identification and the chapter headings neither identify the character singing nor provide a time frame for the chapter.

The production is very well served by the three first class leads. In the title role Placido Domingo gives both an ardent and serious-minded performance. He is at his very best in act one which also comes across as the most impressively staged. As Maddalena Anna Tomowa-Sintow looks slightly too mature for the role but both her singing and acting are expressive. The stand-out is the solid and dependable baritone Giorgio Zancanaro who gives a first class performance as Gerard, a servant turned revolutionary who is torn between political and amorous loyalties. Gerard's act three aria "Nemico della Patria" is the high point of the performance. In addition to the three leads there is a support cast of twelve solo roles but here the standard of singing is not always what it could be. The production's difficulties extend to the chorus for in both acts two & three the acting of the artistes in the crowd scences came across as under rehearsed.

In 1981 Vienna mounted a production of the opera under the baton of Nello Santi. On this occasion Placido Domingo's great talents as singer and actor are better served for there is a greater understanding of the drama and intensity of this outstanding example of verismo. Gabriela Benackova and Piero Cappuccilli are also excellent but the merits of the staging is questionable for at times the action is almost plunged into darkness. In 2011 a DVD of the Met's 1997 production, under the baton of James Levine, was belatedly released. Despite his advancing age Luciano Pavarotti is still in fine voice and receives very good support from Maria Guleghina and Juan Pons. The good singing standards extend to all cast members of this well staged production. Both these productions eclipse the rather tepid effort from Covent Garden.

Trottman

Trottman


Old Tyme Modern
Old Tyme Modern
Price: £14.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent purchase, 21 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Old Tyme Modern (Audio CD)
Despite being a committed jazz fan for many years the name Herb Hall was unknown to me until reading a complimentary obituary in 1996. Always somewhat overshadowed by his more famous brother Edmond this very fine clarinetist still deserves to be better known. Consequently it would be a particular pity if this very enjoyable CD, which provides a very good example of the performer's work, should disappear from the current jazz catalogue. Due to the rarity this was a seriously expensive purchase but well worth it.

Herb's approach to the clarinet is very different from that of his brother who has a more aggressive and attacking style. Herb's approach reminds me of the great Barney Bigard. On the CD Herb's quartet expertly handle ten well known standards. There is also good solo work by Claude Hopkins and Arville (here spelt Arvell) Shaw. An accomplished stride pianist and onetime band leader Hopkins is also now not as well known as he should be. Shaw of course is a famous name due to his long stint as the bassist with the Louis Armstrong All Stars. Buzzy Drootin, a name unknown to me, is an unobtrusive drummer.

The CD only plays for some forty minutes and here it is a pity that some more examples of Herb Hall's work could not have been included as makeweight

Trottman


Verdi:  Il Trovatore [DVD]
Verdi: Il Trovatore [DVD]
Dvd ~ Vienna State Orchestra And Choir
Offered by BeEntertained
Price: £24.75

5.0 out of 5 stars A cornerstone production, 20 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Verdi: Il Trovatore [DVD] (DVD)
1852 and 1853 were very creative years for Verdi for, emerging from his years in the galley, he composed both Il Trovatore and La Traviata (both premiered in 1853) which remain two of his most enduring masterpieces. Blessed with superb tunes, Il Trovatore is a robust if complicated drama that is splendidly served by this 1978 production from Vienna. Masterminded by Herbert von Karajan the production, absent on DVD for far too long, is a worthy addition to any Verdi collection and can also serve as a first class introduction to the opera.

A traditional production with sets and costumes that compliment the action Karajan has assembled a cast of gifted singers. An expressive singer and effective actress with the added advantages of being a thin, beautiful woman Raina Kabaivanska is an appealing and vunerable Leonora well able to excite the passions of two warring brothers (a Verdi speciality). Placido Domingo is at his ardent best as Manrico. In the emotionally charged baritone role Piero Cappuccilli makes a malevolent selfserving count and Fiorenza Cossotto is very powerful in her rendition of the vengence bent gipsy. In a the role, often relegated to the sidelines, Ferrando benefits from the sturdy bass of Jose van Dam. The small role of Ruiz was an early outing for the character tenor Heinz Zednik, who enjoyed a long career in both Europe and America that included Mime and Monostatos at the Met.

Reviews of the production on Amazon swing from an informative well penned five star appreciation to a one star attack on opera values of 1978. The latter has not found much favour but the reviewer does comment on the production's one possible problem which is the excessive abundance of curtain calls which coupled with the often prolonged applause tends to disrupt the flow of the action. Here it is tempting to yet again see the guiding hand of the maestro. Karajan did not restrict his involvement to the music and was often interested in the media possibilities for his projects. The production was designed as a telecast and here the invited audience would almost certainly have been encouraged to signify their enjoyment. In taking her final solo curtain call Fiorenza Cossotto, a consummate theatre animal, gives a convincing impression of being emotionally overwhelmed

Trottman


Cliff Leeman & His All Stars
Cliff Leeman & His All Stars
Offered by marvelio-uk
Price: £10.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Cheereful acceptable playing, 16 Jun. 2012
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As a committed big band fan of many years I have often come across the name of Cliff Leeman, who played with many famous leaders including Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Charlie Barnet. Equally capable of being the driving force behind a jam session and dixieland outfit Leeman, although well respected, has never enjoyed the enduring fame of such legendary drummers as Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.

The session, under his name, that comprises this CD was supposedly recorded at a now defunct jazz festival sometime during the 1970s. Apart from Leeman himself the only names known to me as possible participants are the pianist Dill Jones and the rhythm guitarist Steve Jordan. The band is a traditional seven piece outfit with a cornet rather than a trumpet lead. There is nothing particularly special as far as the three horns are concerned but the rhythm section is good with Leeman as the stand-out. Never a Krupa style exhibitionist a listener can certainly feel and appreciate his solid beat. The music, which includes audience participation, is well recorded with good clarity of sound

I made this purchase as a homage to Cliff Leeman and I am not disappointed. That said the CD is not essential listening and is best enjoyed by a committed specialist collector

Trottman


Blue Clarinet Stomp: complete sessions 1928-29
Blue Clarinet Stomp: complete sessions 1928-29
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £17.85

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific nostalgia, 14 Jun. 2012
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I first heard eight of these titles at school back in the mid 1950s. That ten inch LP was for me a very early purchase and may well have been the foundationstone of an ever growing jazz collection. To be reunited with those eight tunes and to enjoy the many others on this CD is a most welcome experience. Compared to the many recordings of similar age (1928/1929) the tunes on the LP were well recorded and had a very acceptable sound but as always John R T Davies has worked wonders with remastering.

This CD gives the listener an opportunity to hear great New Orleans blues clarinet playing for Dodds is heard to advantage on both the trio and six piece band sides. Much of the clarinetist's fame is linked to being the reed player on early Louis Armstrong recordings but despite Dodds's brilliance Armstrong was invariably the star and his cornet/trumpet tended to dominate proceedings. Here the honours are much more evenly distributed and both Natty Dominique (cornet) and Honore Dutrey (trombone) have their share of solos. On both trio and band tunes the horns have the support of a fine three piece rhythm section in which the bass playing of Bill Johnson is outstanding

Trottman


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