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Reviews Written by
richard "oddball" (UK)

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2.0 out of 5 stars Was this made for an elephant?, 30 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Admittedly, I am not in a position to compare myself with other men and no doubt many are sufficiently well-endowed to get full use from this device. It simply gave me an inferiority complex because it appears to be designed to fit an ox.

I also cannot really see the point of a battery operated pump. A manual one is simpler, easier to operate and more effective.

All in all, for me this device was a complete waste of money. Why didn't I send it back? Goodness knows! I am not a great fan of pumps but there are much better ones out there for those of run-of-the-mill anatomy.


1.7M Cream Beige TNT Parasol Garden Camping Beach Sunshade Tilt Umbrella NEW
1.7M Cream Beige TNT Parasol Garden Camping Beach Sunshade Tilt Umbrella NEW
Offered by Online Retailers UK
Price: £14.99

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ......its a sunshade, 30 Aug. 2012
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This sunshade is attractive, easy to use, seems well made, at an attractive price.

The size is about right for a table for two but a full-size outdoor table for four would benefit fro a larger parasol but in that event one requires a much more robust arrangement to cope with wind. In wind and rain, both this sunshade and I remain indoors.

As this is sold as a sunshade' I doubt whether it is very weather-resistant - it doesn't claim to be. If you need an all-weather parasol for a patio, I suspect it would be wise to have something far more robust (and expensive).


Beethoven: Late String Quartets
Beethoven: Late String Quartets

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage playing, 30 Aug. 2012
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It is difficult to know how to review classic recordings such as these. Th playing is simply wonderful - 5 star - but 70 Year old recordings obviously show their age They have been finely remastered but there are limits.

I find that rather than play these discs on my standard ''HiFi'', I play tthem on my ''Mid-Fi'' equipment in the bedroom where the warmer, less analytical, sound is altogether kinder to the recording.

I listen to these discs at least as often as I do my modern 'state-of-the-art' recordings but I would not be prepared to settle for the Busch version as my only one, simply because of those recording limitations. Subject to that caveat, these discs are a joy to own and well worth adding to any comprehensive Beethoven collection.


Bottesini: Double Bass Concertos
Bottesini: Double Bass Concertos
Price: £9.46

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars .....as enticing as a warm bath, 1 Aug. 2012
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Presumably, one can take it as read that only those who enjoy the sound of the double bass will be reading this or considering this type of disc. Bottesini was the leading bassist of his generation and finding few compositions to display his soloistic talents, he decided to remedy matters. The works on this CD are his most popular large scale compositions and, although profundity is not the point here, they are very easy on the ear. The somewhat buffoonish image of the double bass is very little in evidence in this music.

The playing on this disc is rich, warm and sweet; as unctuous as chocolate. If you enjoy emersing yourself in musical confection (and everybody should sometimes), this CD is a winner. Warmly recommended in every sense of the word.


Xxion Ultimate 3m Twin RCA Phono Plugs Lead / Cable. A Super Premium Interconnect with Silver Die-cast Metal Plug Shells, 24K Gold Plated Contacts, Fully Shielded Individually Screened Cable - 99.99% Oxygen Free Copper Conductors. Ideal Interconnect for Hi-fi and Home Cinema applications.
Xxion Ultimate 3m Twin RCA Phono Plugs Lead / Cable. A Super Premium Interconnect with Silver Die-cast Metal Plug Shells, 24K Gold Plated Contacts, Fully Shielded Individually Screened Cable - 99.99% Oxygen Free Copper Conductors. Ideal Interconnect for Hi-fi and Home Cinema applications.

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent quality at a budget price, 29 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have a mid-range HiFi system and have often wondered about the hype surrounding exotic interconnects. Having read a recent review in a HiFi magazine extolling the vitues of such exotica, I decided to try out a Chord Crimson+, a highly recommended member of the species, instead of my Xxions so see if I could detect any audible difference. None.

As far as I am concerned, it is all a matter of the Emperor's clothes. The Xxions are heavy cable with good tight fitting connections and work as well as anything for anybody short of those who are able to detect a sparrow's fart at a mile's range. Ignore the hype, these interconnects are as good as you need. Highly recommended.


Bott/ Tchaik: Double Bass Concertos/ Gran Duo Concertante
Bott/ Tchaik: Double Bass Concertos/ Gran Duo Concertante
Price: £10.53

5.0 out of 5 stars If you like the sound of the double-bass...?, 15 July 2012
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Giving a star rating to this type of disc is rather problematical- it so depends on one's interests and requirements. Most of the disc is given over to Bottesinini's music and I will restrict my comments to that part.

Bottesinini composed attractive and relatively undemanding music (for the listener, not the player) during the classical period but if he were known only for that he would now be virtually forgotten. However, as the leading bassist of his generation, he sought to raise the status of that instrument from butt of the orchestra to that of a serious solo instrument. This disc suggestseither he succeeded.

The recording quality is exemplary and the playing very fine, although the musical ambience suggests a modern rather than a classically-informed approach. Faithful reproduction of the bass instument does place substantial demands on one's speakers which need to be either large or bolstered by a woofer system to achieve truly spectacular results. Demonstration room-shaking quality is on tap.

If one is temted to explore a sound world possibly somewhat closer to that which the composer would have known, the ''Bottesini Collection'' on Naxos is worth investigating but as those recordings are now about 25 years old they do not come close in terms of recording quality.

I think this disc is a delight, but I readily concede that it is something of a marmite choice.


Verdi: Messa Di Requiem
Verdi: Messa Di Requiem
Price: £8.27

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ...of historical interest only, 15 July 2012
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This review is from: Verdi: Messa Di Requiem (Audio CD)
I obtained this recording because I love this music and admire Guilini's recording legacy. Indeed, in this work, Guilini virtually sets the benchmark by which others are judged.

However, this recording dates back to 1960 butin terms of quality sounds worse than many pre-war recordings, particularly those that have enjoyed the benefits of competent remastering. The sound here is muddy and congested, and not even some very fine singing from the soloists can wholely redeem that. I have to confess to having been seduced by the give-away price but sadly here one gets no better than one paid for. With so many fine recordings, both modern and vintage, to choose from, many at bargain price, this version is only for the specialist.

I realise my judgment seems rather harsh in the face of some particularly treasurable moments but it is a very competitive market out there. You can do better in terms of a general recommendation.


Carlos Kleiber - Schubert . Brahms . Wagner
Carlos Kleiber - Schubert . Brahms . Wagner
Price: £9.47

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The conductors' conductor?, 8 Mar. 2012
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As Carlos Kleiber was regarded with virtually unrivalled respect by his fellow conductors, it seems that only the brave or foolish would attribute less than 5-stars to his recordings. Given his aversion to the responsibilities of permanent appointments and his dislike of the requirements of recording studios, his recording legacy is sparse so is fulsome praise warranted or is it the product of scarcity?

This disc clearly shows the effects of his extraordinarily rigorous and obsessive approach. Schubert's 8th symphony is normally given a richly romantic gloss so I was quite surprised by Kleiber's lean and ascetic style, particularly from the normally lush strings of the Vienna Philharmonic. Not for everybody perhaps, but this acoustic cleansing really came into its own with the Brahms. Brahm's symphonies tend to provide an interpretive challenge even for the finest conductors so even though brahm's 4th is considered by many to be his finest symphony it can across as rather stodgy. Not here. lean, lithe and agile, this is the finest version i have ever heard. The makeweights on this disc are extracts from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, with singers including Fisher-Dieskau, Fassbaender and Price- simply stunning.

Do I like this disc? you bet!


Piatigorsky Plays Dvorák and Walton [IMPORT]
Piatigorsky Plays Dvorák and Walton [IMPORT]
Offered by WORLD WIDE MEDIA MARKET
Price: £20.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There are classic recordings. This just happens to be one.., 8 Mar. 2012
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In giving this disc a 5-star rating, perhaps one should make reference to what most readers would regard as a statement of the 'bleeding' obvious. These recordings are over 50 years old. But in listening to them, you really wouldn't know it; the recording quality of many of the 'living stereo' series was years ahead of their time as proves to be the case here.

This is my favourite version of the Dvorak Cello Concerto, bar none, but to argue the merits of the truly outstanding recordings to exclude others is rather beside the point. If you have other versions of these works, don't let that stop you enjoying the recordings legacy of the likes of Piatigorsky. Perhaps his memory has been somewhat eclipsed by Rostropovich's extraordinary and subsequent rise to fame but their styles were too different to bear meaningful comparison- fortunately, we have both.


Haydn: String Quartets, Op.33 Nos. 3, 5, 6
Haydn: String Quartets, Op.33 Nos. 3, 5, 6

5.0 out of 5 stars The Lindseys- homegrown classics, 8 Mar. 2012
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For years, the Lindsey Quartet have being laying down definitive versions of the Haydn quartets. Some rivals may go for more Viennese elegance and others a more obvious virtuosic 'dash' but none give more sense of being at home in this music.

The disc is nicely recorded and beautifully played. What else is there?
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