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Dr S H "Dr S H" (Manchester UK)

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Shostakovich:Symphonies [Gal James, Alexander Vinogradov, Huddersfield Choral Society, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko] [NAXOS: 8501111]
Shostakovich:Symphonies [Gal James, Alexander Vinogradov, Huddersfield Choral Society, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko] [NAXOS: 8501111]
Price: £30.12

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 28 Aug. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this as a boxed set - the 5th shines though they are all superb - I have written a separate review of the 5th.

Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 2 - Symphonies Nos. 5 and 9
Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 2 - Symphonies Nos. 5 and 9
Price: £5.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Petrenko's Scousers rewrite Shostakovich - quite magnificent!, 28 Aug. 2017
The Shostakovich 5 would for many decades fill a concert hall but then it lost out to the hell-raising 10th with its breathless scherzo and quite stunning finale. Petrenko and the Liverpool band have basically reversed this and produced a performance of the 5th that makes the spine tingle and is breathtaking especially at the end. I bought the boxed set from Amazon and the whole cycle is magnificent but this disc is particularly revealing - the 9th is also very exciting. The recordings are all first rate - I have them on CD and also stream them without much apparent loss.

Copland - Clarinet Concerto, Appalachian Spring/Finzi - Clarinet Concerto, Romance for Strings
Copland - Clarinet Concerto, Appalachian Spring/Finzi - Clarinet Concerto, Romance for Strings
Price: £13.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking performances - an accidental find!, 14 Mar. 2017
Found this by complete fluke on iTunes - was looking for a version of the Copland concerto which I love and this came up first. Sarah Williamson plays in a marvelous jazzy style - somewhat freer than straight classical - she would be a superb klezmer clarinetist.
Never heard of the Orchestra of the Swan but they are truly excellent and the deep tones at the beginning of the Copland make it sound like I have never heard it played before - lush.
The Finzi pieces are most enjoyable - again lusciously played and as a bonus a rather splendid and excitable performance of Appalachian Spring.
What a find - highly recommended.

Traditional Now: Interiors by David Kleinberg
Traditional Now: Interiors by David Kleinberg
by David Kleinberg
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Refined elegant and adaptable design, 23 Oct. 2016
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One of the most refined and elegant books especially with regards to apartment living. Though many of the projects are grand and large spaces eg the two central park flats knocked together - very few people will have that amount of space but the ideas can easily adapted to smaller residences. There is a "brownness" in the colours as a theme as one reviewer complained but to my mind, this adds to the style and you can always modify the colour scheme.
It is a book I kept referring to when we restyled our apartment 3 years ago and our son and his wife are benefiting from the ideas now in their new town house. If it's a glitzy glamorous look you are after, there are many other books - this is solid traditional and long lasting design and the book is well illustrated.

Purcell: Music for a While
Purcell: Music for a While
Price: £10.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Music to make you dance and light up your day, 5 Aug. 2016
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Don't actually posses much Purcell but read the review of this in a copy of Gramophone I picked up at the airport. Played the first track on I tunes - they give you a longer bit to sample than Amazon - and found myself dancing round the room - if you know me, you will realise this is most uncharacteristic - my daily workouts consist mostly of putting the kettle on.
Purcell's music does have an element of fun and he would almost certainly have approved of these zany arrangements - very Steeleye Span - yes that dates me. She sings these English songs with abandon and a strong German accent and that makes them even more fun. Her musicianship is never in doubt and I have repeatedly listened to this disc since "auto-ripping" it on Amazon and shall investigate her other recordings.
In short - music to light up your day - buy or download or like I have done - both.

The Dinner Party
The Dinner Party
by Brenda Janowitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Good fun and you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this book, 5 Aug. 2016
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This review is from: The Dinner Party (Paperback)
I ordered this book from Amazon after it received a rave review in the Jerusalem Post and it was one of those books I so enjoyed reading that I didn't want to finish it but did so in 2 days! I knew it was about a Passover Seder night which I could identify with being traditional Jewish but I didn't realise it was about a medical family which I could also identify with. There are some wonderful characters including a Catholic mother and son. You won't fall on the floor with laughter - but you will smile and enjoy the characters. It is so nice to read a modern light novel which gently pokes fun but doesn't offend and leaves you with a warm glow at the end.
Dostoevsky it aint but you don't need to be Jewish to enjoy this book!

Friday Night Dinner [DVD]
Friday Night Dinner [DVD]
Dvd ~ Simon Bird
Price: £8.92

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go to your room!, 27 April 2011
This review is from: Friday Night Dinner [DVD] (DVD)
I'm a middle aged man who enjoyed the Inbetweeners The Inbetweeners - Series 1-3 - Complete [DVD]but not necessarily to be watched in a family setting. This new series however, is relaxed "Inbetweeners" type comedy which can be watched with your grandma.
And talking about grandma, Episode 3, where Grandma visits, argues with her grown up daughter in front of her grown up children and husband, and then tries to send her to her room - well to me those few minutes were on a par with "Don't mention the war - I did once but I think I got away with it".
Though formulaic, with the same very strange neighbour who obviously fancies mum and is so terrified of his own dog that he has to fill him with alcohol, the adult brothers who love each other but try to poison each other every week and the strange father who prefers to wear as little as possible, this short series had me and my family in stitches and we now go round at home and at work telling everyone to "Go to your room"!
Can't wait for the next series.

Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen [DVD] [2009] [2011] [NTSC]
Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen [DVD] [2009] [2011] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ John Tomlinson
Price: £33.00

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best Ring on DVD / Blu-ray, 27 Feb. 2011
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This is not a review but just a note to point you to the far more erudite reviewers who have written about the 2007 Barenboim / Kupfer release which is the same as this.Richard Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen [DVD] [2007]
I mentioned this set in a review of the excellent Fura del Baus set. I now sadly have eight dvd sets of the Ring but this is still the one played most.
Recorded in the 1990s with a stellar cast, a non-traditional but believable set and incandescent orchestral playing at points sounding more lush Hollywood film score than Bayreuth and all the better for it.
For more detailed insights, please read those reviews especially the ones by John De Wald and John Ferngrove who both write elegantly and eloquently.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2016 1:38 AM BST

Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]
Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Orquestra De La Comunitat Valenciana
Price: £89.99

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, involving, easy to watch and with the odd touch of humour., 25 Nov. 2010
With an array of gadgets, including cranes,hoists and a quite spectacularly filmic back drop, you would assume that all this would take attention away from the music. But it doesn't.
Razor sharp conducting by Maestro Mehta and superb singing from all the soloists ensures one of the most enjoyable Ring cycles on DVD - I have 4! The Blu-ray production not only highlights hairs on the backs of one audience member's hand but graphically shows off the cinematic backdrop as well as the ingenious acrobatics of the cast - the end of Rheingold is quite breathtaking.
The cast are dressed in outfits resembling left over costumes from Star Wars, Star Trek and possibly Steptoe and son. Much plastic, latex and chains are in evidence. With extra breasts, bizzarre face make up and circus helmets, it's a wonder the singers kept straight faces - I certainly didn't when Loge segwayed onto the stage. Despite the distractions, or maybe because of them, the cast and orchestra remain involved throughout all four operas and the result is splendid. A delightful touch was the appearance on stage of the entire orchestra during the applause at the end - the audience positively rocked with delight.

So....if you love the Ring Cycle, you must get this. If you are going to buy only one Ring Cycle however, on DVD, the Barenboim Kupfer Bayreuth production is near perfection. Though not Blu-ray, the sound is opulent and the visuals are quite wonderful with lasers, smoke and a most intriguing end which includes TV sets. The costumes are far more sober with lots of leather trench coats - even Brunhilde wears one - there must have been a sale in Bayreuth that year! The cast is near perfect with stellar Wagnerians including John Tomlinson, Anne Evans and Siegfried Jerusalem all singing to perfection, even if some of them are a little older than their parts. The orchestral playing is superb with Barenboim conducting the end of Gotterdammerung as though it were a Hollywood film score - spine tingling stuff. This cycle has been difficult to get hold of for some time with sets selling out virtually as soon as new supplies arrive but is now available again here on Amazon - I had to buy mine for over £100 second hand earlier this year.

I dip into them both regularly - so if you can afford it - buy the two productions - even together, they come to less than the price of one Ring Cycle ticket.


This has now become my favourite version of the Ring on DVD - it's the one I come back to more and more regularly. There is a humanity and grandeur in Mehta's conducting which I did not initially appreciate as I was blown away by Barenboim's version. Additionally, there is humour, often missing from Wagner in the production - just touches but enough to put a smile on what can be long passages of some of the most intense music ever written.

Ever Decreasing Circles - Complete Collection [DVD]
Ever Decreasing Circles - Complete Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Briers
Price: £14.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does it get any better than this?, 13 Nov. 2009
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We watched this when it first came out - keenly waiting for each episode and then each new series. We are still watching it a quarter of a century later.

A total tonic - on a par with the sainted Fawlty Towers. Quite beautifully acted with the most memorable gentle characters but with with quite an acidic and even cynical undertone. You will just go "aaaah" after each episode. Put it on when you feel a bit low you will howl - such an antidote to the rubbish on TV now!

Who doesn't know a Martin - obsessive, well meaning but totally dreadful - or his ever loving and saintly patient wife Anne or "Eeehrn" as Martin calls her? Who has never met a Paul - the neighbour who effortlessly walks on water and makes Martin's life so problematic? And as for Howard and Hilda with their matching sweaters and perfect passionate marriage - well we have all seen them on holiday or met them at a party!!

Classic - Howard and Hilda - Well we have to go now otherwise we'll miss the shipping forecast.
Hilda - Why do we listen to the shipping forecast Howard?
Howard - Because it leads so nicely into the news
Hilda - Oh yes.

Sheer utter perfection - don't miss it!

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