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Jacobite (Luton Beds)

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Maske in Blau Highlights
Maske in Blau Highlights
Offered by INNER PEACE MUSIC
Price: £12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Short on quantity, great on quality, 11 April 2016
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Premiered in 1937 this is a classic operetta-revue for which Berlin had become the mecca in the 1930's. The two lead singers - Rudolf Schock and Margit Schramm - were mega stars of the operetta world who lived and breathed the genre. The plot is the usual frothy nonsense but who cares when Raymond's music is so inventively infectious, especially the Latin-American inspired numbers. Originally recorded in 1975 the sound is excellent in this 1990 digital remastering. There are no words to the numbers but a useful English synopsis is provided. And if the disc is very short measure at just over 38 minutes it is more than compensated by the inspired quality of the music.


Liszt: Christus
Liszt: Christus
Price: £27.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Extraodinary "modern" masterpiece, 16 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: Liszt: Christus (Audio CD)
A magnificently recorded and sung version of this monumental (2 hours 42 minutes) but rarely heard work. The brilliant Helmuth Rilling holds it all together superbly. The dramatic and thrilling Stabat Mater section alone is worth the price of the set. I can't imagine what the audience must have made of it at its first performances in the 1870's.To call it an oratorio seems somehow inadequate to convey the range of the piece which is a testament to Liszt's deeply held faith as conveyed in every heartfelt bar. But you do not need to share those religious convictions to appreciate the greatness of the composer's achievement. Those who think of Liszt only as one of the greatest piano virtuosos who wrote copiously for his instrument will certainly have to think again when they hear Christus or indeed any of his other sacred choral works.


Kalman & Kalman - Leider
Kalman & Kalman - Leider
Price: £11.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Unalloyed delight, 11 Mar. 2016
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This is a delicious disc to savour. Kalman's gift for memorable melody was second to none and his son, if not quite matching up to Kalman senior's genius, is nonetheless a "chip off the old block". The performances are idiomatic, exemplary and heartwarming and I guarantee it will have you infectiously singing and dancing along. I have played the CD innumerable times as have the friends for whom I have bought copies. An irresistible disc recommended with all possible enthusiasm.


Madame Pompadour
Madame Pompadour
Price: £11.71

2.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended, 11 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: Madame Pompadour (Audio CD)
This is a live recording from Vienna in 1962 and it shows. The quality of the recording is poor and the digital remastering hardly improves matters. As a result it is difficult to judge the ability of the singers who at least seem to be enjoying themselves. There is no libretto and no synopsis. The release was clearly intended specifically for a German-speaking audience only, presumably because it was thought no one else would be interested! Fall's music is, as always, tunefully easy on the ear but this is not a CD that will enable any newcomer to really appreciate his particular operetta talents.


Crispino E La Comare [Domenico Colaianni; Stefania Bonfadelli; Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia; Chorus of the Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari,Jader Bignamini] [DYNAMIC: CDS7675]
Crispino E La Comare [Domenico Colaianni; Stefania Bonfadelli; Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia; Chorus of the Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari,Jader Bignamini] [DYNAMIC: CDS7675]
Price: £27.13

3.0 out of 5 stars An Italian curate's egg, 11 Mar. 2016
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This is a live recording of a festival performance in 2013. "Live" it certainly is, not from the audience applause (which is acceptable) but from the stage noises which are so loud. It sounds as if the cast are stomping about the stage in hobnailed boots! I can only speculate how the audience reacted to this. Perhaps it was not so distracting for them while watching stage action but for the CD listener it is almost unendurable at times in the way it interferes with the music. Dynamic issued a DVD of the performance and maybe that would be the better option. It may have been a mistake to issue it purely as an audio CD.

Having said all that it is nonetheless welcome, despite the drawbacks, to have the chance to hear this once popular opera. Premiered in 1850 it must have been one of the last - if not THE last - of works in the Italian opera buffa tradition. The plot is clever, deft and amusing with social and moral undertones where the "hero" gets his comeuppance rather after the fashion of Don Pasquale; not that this opera can be remotely compared to Donizetti's comic masterpiece. The libretto is by the great Piave. Dynamic does not include any libretto but provides a good synopsis and the music itself mostly conveys all that one needs to know.

The music is always tuneful, enjoyable and entertaining and it flows along at a great pace with no languors. The chorus is really excellent in their lively numbers. I had never heard of any of the singers before. Unfortunately with the exception of Romina Boscolo as the Comare (Fairy aka Death) the individual singers are no more than adequate. The biggest disappointment is Domenico Colaianni as Crispino. I don't know what his acting talents may be like but vocally he is not up to the task. Stefania Bonfadelli as his wife has some lovely moments but too often resorts to shrillness and shrieking. So a very qualified welcome for this set which I could not warmly recommend except to aficionados of comic Italian opera.


OBrien:Orchestral Music [Liepja Symphony Orchestra, Paul Mann] [TOCCATA CLASSICS: TOCC0263]
OBrien:Orchestral Music [Liepja Symphony Orchestra, Paul Mann] [TOCCATA CLASSICS: TOCC0263]
Price: £12.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment, 29 Feb. 2016
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The first in the Toccata series of O'Brien's orchestral music was brilliant so I was eagerly awaiting volume two. Sadly it does not remotely match up to its predecessor. It can best be described as pleasant "light" music in a typical British tradition of such pieces. There is little of real substance and - especially in the over-inflated Minstrel's Curse overture - a great deal of repetitious note spinning. The CD sleeve refers to it as "dark Lisztian" but for the life of me I could not see the resemblance! The most enjoyable item is the colourful Scottish Scenes suite. The orchestral playing is beautiful and the recording very fine. Toccata is to be applauded for resurrecting the music of this forgotten composer but if there are to be further volumes in the series I hope they will be of greater musical worth in order to justify the enterprise.


Rabl:Clarinet Quartet [Wenzel Fuchs; Genevieve Laurenceau; Lazlo Fenyo, Oliver Triendl] [CPO: 777849-2]
Rabl:Clarinet Quartet [Wenzel Fuchs; Genevieve Laurenceau; Lazlo Fenyo, Oliver Triendl] [CPO: 777849-2]
Price: £10.67

5.0 out of 5 stars A gloriously heartfelt outpouring, 31 Jan. 2016
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This is the most glorious, melodious, exuberantly youthful music you could wish to hear. Anything that Rabl wrote has to be youthful because he stopped composing at the age of thirty and concentrated on conducting. A tragic loss for music? Or perhaps he simply felt he had nothing more that he wished to communicate? All the more treasurable then the few Rabl compositions that are extant. The recording and the performances, as one has come to expect from CPO, are top drawer and this disc is to be snapped up with enthusiasm.


Chamber Music
Chamber Music
Price: £22.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Grossly mistitled CD, 10 Dec. 2015
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This review is from: Chamber Music (Audio CD)
This CD is dishonestly marketed as chamber music. This is a totally misleading and inexcusable description. There is, in fact, just 17 minutes of chamber music (a duo for piano and cello) on the disc. The remainder of the 73 minutes is solo piano music i.e. instrumental not chamber. Having said that and expressed my annoyance it is all wonderful, rarely heard, melodic, romantic music, beautifully played by Stefan Burkhardt


Standford: Symphony No. 1 [David Lloyd-Jones, Raphael Wallfisch; Royal Scottish National Symphony Orchestra] [NAXOS: 8571356]
Standford: Symphony No. 1 [David Lloyd-Jones, Raphael Wallfisch; Royal Scottish National Symphony Orchestra] [NAXOS: 8571356]
Price: £5.99

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A waste of time and talent, 24 Sept. 2015
A fine orchestra, a great conductor and cellist and an excellent quality recording cannot rescue this "music" from what is mostly just ugly noise.


The Hakkari Massacres: Ethnic Cleansing by Turkey 1924-25
The Hakkari Massacres: Ethnic Cleansing by Turkey 1924-25
by Dr Racho Donef
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Sad but necessary reading, 21 Sept. 2015
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A most valuable book relating the sufferings of the Assyrian Christians at the hands of the Turks; valuable because, unlike the Armenian Genocide of a decade earlier, these deportations and massacres are relatively unknown in the West. The subject is also topical insofar as history is currently repeating itself in Iraq and Syria where Christians ( and others) are being subjected to the barbarities of the Islamic fanatics of Isel. My only caveat is that the book is full of typographical errors which, after a while, become very annoying. What is more the book was printed by Amazon Co UK. Shame on you Amazon for your inexcusable carelessness.


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