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Neil Ford "Neil" (London)

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Fat-burner Foods: Eat Yourself Thin in Fourteen Days (Pyramid Paperbacks)
Fat-burner Foods: Eat Yourself Thin in Fourteen Days (Pyramid Paperbacks)
by Dr Caroline M. Shreeve
Edition: Paperback

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars no evidence to back up any of the claims in this book, 17 Feb. 2011
The book's main crux is "negative calorie" food. Sadly there is no such thing. The author provides no references to studies or scientific evidence to back her up claims. Consequently the book's diet theme is scientific rubbish.

A quick search on wikipedia gives us links to several articles written by expert researchers and medics debunking the whole idea of negative calorie foods. there are some other spurious claims such as chromium supplements for diabetes and weightloss. Its really depressing that a "dr" (we are no told what kind of doctor or where she trained) can write such rubbish and sell it to an unsuspecting public.

This book belongs in the rubbish bin along side "Dr" Mckeith's trash and Patrick Holford's pseudo-scientific nonsense.

Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2013 12:48 PM GMT

Fantasia Contrappuntistica [Ogdon]
Fantasia Contrappuntistica [Ogdon]
Price: £25.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Posthumous and unreleased Ogdon, 24 July 2010
A posthumous Ogdon disc that nobody seems to know about! I found this CD in HMV one day. I had no idea it existed. Being an Ogdon fanatic, this was a major discovery.

The Bach-Busoni transcriptions are one of the glories of the piano literature, lovingly compiled into several volumes, Busoni used his pianistic genius to recreate the world of Bach and his organ masterpieces for the piano (good pianists needed!). Ogdon writes about his researches among old recordings by Busoni and pupils, and about attempting to recreate the sound world that Busoni himself strove the create. The piano, if I recall is a Boesendorfer of some vintage, an instrument similar to the one Busoni would have been familiar with. It has a fantastic singing tone and plenty of oomph in the bass register, so essential to help the music the ring out.

Ogdon's performances are exciting with some death defying virtuosity on show at times. The big works such as the St Anne have space and are paced superbly. Climaxes ebb and flow just as you'd hope, with Ogdon making the most of his piano's rich bass. Occasionally he gets ahead of himself and sounds rushed, but on the whole Ogdon is on excellent form .

The most successful items on the CD are the lyrical, tender and soulful performances of several Choral Preludes. Ogdon plays the famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor like a man possessed, its staggering at times. The famous Chaconne is not only mighty but teaming with insights and fabulous pianism. Surely one of the finest performances I know of.

Four stars for the occasional sloppy moment but a thrilling CD with from a pianist who really had the measure of these works and fulfils his aim to do Busoni justice.

James Rhodes  Now Would All Freudians Please Stand Aside (piano recital)
James Rhodes Now Would All Freudians Please Stand Aside (piano recital)
Price: £13.57

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Rhodes: poet, thinker, musician, 16 July 2010
I eagerly anticipated this disc from James. The disc's title is a cheeky tribute to the Glenn Gould and I'm sure would have been appreciated by the great prankster the Canadian master was! James is very serious when discussing the works on this CD, revealing how well read he is and shares his ideas about what the composer may have had in mind when composing each work. The music on offer represents peaks of the repertoire, so don't be put off by the title or cover of the CD.

James's performance of Bach's emotional and thorny sixth partita is beautifully thought out and he plumbs the depths in the music without losing sight of its stylistic provenance. The approach is very uncomplicated with clear articulation and dancing rhythms. As in his earlier recording of the 5th French Suite, James shows himself to be very fine Bach player playing with great intelligence and giving us an uncluttered and refreshing view on this great work.

Beethoven's Op. 109 is a tough nut to crack. Making sense of the wildly contrasting moods is very challenging: what's it all about ? James has his ideas that he articulates on the CD (its good to hear his thoughts, always fascinating and apposite). Upon listening several times over, its hard to think of an interpretation that makes more sense of the rhapsodic lyricism, the dreamy introspection tempered with steely Beethoven sturm and drang. So a very poetic, highly nuanced reading that's a triumph in every respect, and all the more amazing considering James's unconventional route to the recording studio! Having read several reviews in the mainstream press, I'm not the only listener to reach these conclusions.

I enjoyed the Bach Busoni transcription more that I thought I would. Its a huge work and performances from the likes of Horowitz have always cast a shadow over any pianist tackling it: so you need to have something different to say. James certainly does, though the tone is a touch lean at times and needs a deeper and more resounding sense of "organ" fortissimo.

Bonus tracks include a a Prelude and Chopin last, stormy Etude and the slow movement of Bach's transcription of Marcello's Oboe Concerto. In conclusion, a triumph. A serious musician is at work here, the playing is more focussed and determined than on his last disc and adds up to an exceptionally fine recital.

Brahms: Complete Violin Sonatas
Brahms: Complete Violin Sonatas

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars revelatory new readings of Brahms masterworks, 14 July 2010
Anyone who has been to Jack's packed Wigmore Hall recitals would know that he's a rare artist who has the power to illuminate the music he plays without imposing an alien personality on it. Some reviewers have noted he's a violinist of the "old school", perhaps a bit of Shumsky ? I'm not sure what these kind of comments mean, but there's the impression of a warm and highly attenuated musicianship at work. These are not showy performance: that's really the last thing the music needs. Late Brahms is inwards, emotional and brooding. A pianist who understand how to reflect the late sound world of Brahms is essential, and in Kayta he has a deeply sympathetic and illuminating partner who follows the twists and turns of the violin writing superbly. Their magnetic partnership is so apparent on every page.

Jack chose to use his gorgeously toned Guadagnini for this disc rather than a borrowed instrument. Just listen to his almost cello like tone in the last movement of the op 100 sonata! Interpretively there's nothing to fault here, no dwelling on detail that doesn't merit attention; lyrical and surging when appropriate, inward and reposeful when called upon. I'm always hearing little details in the piano writing, phrases carried back and forth between the two of them, little contrapuntal details, the pianist is always in the background but never dominates the violin.

For my money this is a disc that I'd be happy sit alongside the classic Suk/Katchen partnership: that's no mean compliment! I hope everyone else enjoys these sonatas as much as I have done.

J S Bach: Cantatas Jesu, deine Passion BWV 22, 23, 127, 159
J S Bach: Cantatas Jesu, deine Passion BWV 22, 23, 127, 159
Price: £26.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to perfection ..., 3 Oct. 2009
I am a huge fan of Herreweghe and his Bach recordings. The soloists are excellent, perticularly Peter Kooy, inspired by the divine 1st movement of BWV22. The recording technically is miraculous, with a glowing accoustic, every performer blends in to the sound stage. John Elliot Gardiner has recorded some of these cantatas on his own label. Herreweghe I feel has the better soloists, and these being recordings of the studio type rather than live, there are fewer rough edges, the orchestra is better, and tempos less extreme. The works presented on this disc were written to impress in Leipzig. They are rich and varied with some heavenly moments very worthy of the passions. Each release from Herreweghe seems to scale olympian standards of Bach performance. This one is no exception! Grab it. Then you'll probably have to get all his recordings!!

Bad Science
Bad Science
by Ben Goldacre
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detecting BS: Essential reading, 17 May 2009
This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
Ben Goldacre's book is the culmination of several years worth of writing, blogging and campaigning for science over speculation, evidence above anecdote. Why is this book essential reading ? Because it exposes so many quacks, false gods and downright evil notions. Ben's contribution to countering the reckless and dangerous claims of AIDS denialists in particular ought to get him a knighthood. There are too many dodgy pill salespeople plying their trade on the poor, sick or infirm. Its a shocking state of affairs that rigorous medical science has been shunned on such a grand scale particularly in the field of public health. This book triumphs by giving lay people a sound understanding of why they don't need to stock up on expensive anti-oxidants to be healthy and reminding them the best way to detox is to eat healthily and stop the booze. In the today's world of myriad conspiracy theories and pseudo science we need books like this to help us navigate safely through these troubled times.

Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.2 / Bartok: Piano Concerto No.3, Sonata for 2 Pianos & Percussion
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.2 / Bartok: Piano Concerto No.3, Sonata for 2 Pianos & Percussion

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Agreed with other reviewer .., 26 Mar. 2009
Perhaps this should be a comment on the review above but I absolutely adore the Shostakovich concerto recording too. I don't know a better one. Ogdon seems to find the right voice for this work - playful, wistful, nostalgic - all coming over. Bartok always seems well played to me, though its not a work I have much time for.

Schumann Recital
Schumann Recital
Price: £10.73

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime, 26 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Schumann Recital (Audio CD)
An outstanding Schumann disc that bring together two perennial favourites. Biss has plenty of technique (ignore the other review) though he's thankfully not a flashy pianist, a lyrical sound and intimate pianissimos. These are lyrical, dreamy interpretations that balance the muscular with the poetic in perfect proportion. The Fantasy is superbly wrought, sounds fresh but never stagnant and has plenty of excitement. Kreisleriana, a tricky work to bring to together is everything you would want: the contrasting movements flow seamlessly. Its refreshing to hear a younger artist with play with such a sense of repose and sureness in this young man's music! In sum, don't miss.

Chopin and Ravel
Chopin and Ravel
Price: £21.29

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classical genius gives Chopin a facelift, 26 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Chopin and Ravel (Audio CD)
A strikingly fresh set of Chopin Waltzes played with great taste and wit by one of the greatest artists of our age. Kovacevich brings classical sensibilities to these fantastic dance miniatures dispatching them a slight emotional coolness, you might say giving them a classical botox, but never lets go of the 3/4 pulse. This disc has garnered rave reviews from most people who have heard it and forces you to hear this great music afresh! The Ravel is elegant and suave, delivered with poise and panache. On of the best piano discs of the decade and one that people will keep returning to.

Ant in Action
Ant in Action
by Steve Loughran
Edition: Paperback
Price: £31.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Ant yet., 26 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Ant in Action (Paperback)
As a professional build manager I use ant extensively. The first edition of this book was extremely useful, and the second is now right up-to-date (ant 1.7.0) and even better. Its strengths are that it goes beyond reference and instructs us how to architect a serious build system for java and j2EE applications. The later chapters that discuss deployment and the critical topic of dependency management (with Ivy) are extremely useful. The authors are particularly balanced in their consideration of other tools such as Maven.

As a reference and cook book its rich in examples and detail: ideal for the learner as well as the more experience practitioner. If you find yourself in the position of having to choose a build tool then then book will give you the requisite background to make an informed decision.

Its unlikely that there will be a better Ant book until someone gets around to a 3rd Edition!

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