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Michael Knight (CH 1241 Geneva Switzerland)
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Elgar - Symphony No 3 (The Sketches of Edward Elgar Completed and Orchestrated by Anthony Payne) - Pomp and Circumstance March No. 6
Elgar - Symphony No 3 (The Sketches of Edward Elgar Completed and Orchestrated by Anthony Payne) - Pomp and Circumstance March No. 6
Price: £15.38

5.0 out of 5 stars A further great performance of an outstanding symphony, 20 July 2016
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I agree fully with the view of Stewart Crowe in his earlier comment that this very fine performance "...comes nearer to the soul of the work than any other interpretation..." [or such as is so far generally to be had]. But how splendid it would also be for all who have come to know Anthony Payne's amazing work of (re) construction if the BBC could be persuaded to make available the performance at the Promenade Concert of 26 July 2004 by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins, a performance of which, at the time, Payne said "...one of the best performances I have heard so far , revealing aspects that I had not previously recognised" . However, in the performance recorded in Sapporo in 2007, I think it might also be said that Tadaaki Otaka has achieved something similar - as Mr. Crowe so perceptively explains in his second paragraph, with which I entirely concur. But I might also mention that the BBC will certainly have in their archives an earlier performance of this symphony, also conducted by Martyn Brabbins, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. This was a live performance on 11th March 2002 in the BBC Maida Vale Studio which was broadcast throughout Europe by the European Broadcasting Union. In many ways I find that this performance is in certain details even finer than Brabbins' Promenade Concert performance of 2004. So perhaps this is the one that the BBC should be encouraged to issue.


Kaiser Wilhelm Ii: A Concise Life
Kaiser Wilhelm Ii: A Concise Life
by John C. G. Röhl
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and highly readable distillation by Professor Rohl of ..., 10 Nov. 2014
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A compelling and highly readable distillation by Professor Rohl of the essence of his magnum opus, the three volumes of which will surely be seen by future generations of historians as the definitive study of one of the central issues of twentieth century history and its many implications. The brilliance of this short 'essay', or as Professor Rohl puts it 'vade mecum' to his vast main work, is that it can be read both as a serious piece of historical scholarship in itself, and at the same time as page-turning political thriller. Essential reading for anyone concerned with the psychology of 'power.'


The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
by Margaret MacMillan
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising minor error, 16 Dec. 2013
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It is a great surprise that no one at the publishers during the editing and proof reading of this outstanding book, or indeed Professor Macmillan herself, picked up a really startling error on page 431, where the Italian defeat by Abyssinian forces in 1896 is referred to as 'a stunning defeat of the Italians at the hands of the Ethiopians at Sadowa [sic!] in 1896'.

This error is reinforced, and indeed shown to be not just a type-setting mistake, by the confident index entry 'Sadowa,Battle of (1896) p. 431'.

Perhaps it would have been better to have used the more authentic name 'Adwa', for then confusion with the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian war at Sadowa (or Königgrätz) in 1866 would more likely to have been avoided.


The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s
The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s
by Piers Brendon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Tiny factual correction, 30 Oct. 2013
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Dr. Brendon's brilliant world survey of the 1930s is essential reading for anyone interested in the inter-war period. However one remains startled by his mention of tv coverage of the coronation of Emperor Hirohito in Kyoto in 1928 - "...even the infant medium of television was present" (page 40). So far as I know the only regular television transmission service at that time anywhere in the world was by WLEX Lexington, Mass., using the scanning disc mechanical system. This began regular transmissions in June 1928. It may be that the reference to television at Kyoto in November 1928 derives from the fact that experimental television pictures had been produced in the laboratory in Japan as early as 1925, although these never got as far as a viable transmission system let alone a public service. The first (electronic) television transmissions in Japan began from Tokyo in May 1939.


The Thirties
The Thirties
by Juliet Gardiner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.03

3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but flawed, 29 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Thirties (Paperback)
Ms Gardiner's fascinating survey of a darker side of the nineteen thirties in one European country contains a wealth of detail and a sympathetic awareness of the problems consequent upon the economic recession, and the contingent unemployment and poverty in Britain during this interwar decade. It also provides an informed discussion of the political impasse which underlay these events. The book is thus more than a useful compendium of the individual experiences of those caught up in this 'age of anxiety'. Although more localised in its scope it is a useful adjunct to Piers Brendon's much wider-ranging and more gracefully written "The Dark Valley" (2000). So it is rather unfortunate that some often ungraceful writing may discourage the reader. The text is frequently over-discursive, and within very long sentence structures one encounters disconnected asides that divert attention from the main arguments. Consequently there is a recurrent irritation in attempting to follow, even after several re-readings, the thread of a particular discussion. Where this is the case, although it is not always so, the impression is one of highly informed but unfocussed conversation. Were it not for the intrinsic interest of the material I would many times have been tempted to abandon the effort to follow these conversations. This very long book would have been much improved with some pruning of inessentials by a good style editor. But despite these structural shortcomings this is a valuable, and indeed a compelling, contribution to the social history of the period, and it eventually rewards persistance from its readers. It is perhaps not the only book to be read on the subject, but it will nevertheless be appreciated by anyone concerned with its subject matter.


Elizabeth of the German Garden: A Biography of Elizabeth Von Arnim
Elizabeth of the German Garden: A Biography of Elizabeth Von Arnim
by Jennifer Walker
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth of the German Garden Jennifer Walker, 5 Oct. 2013
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Review by Elizabeth Knight.

This elegantly written work of meticulous scholarship will be pleasurably accessible to a reading public. The special quality of Jennifer Walker's book is that it glows with the warmth and fascinating complexity of the fictional characters in Elizabeth von Arnim's novels whilst interweaving them with Mary von Arnim's real acquaintances as recorded in her diaries. Jennifer Walker in this way shows that the novels are inextricably connected with the events of von Arnim's own life story, which emerge from this study like a novel in itself. As von Arnim matures throughout her life, so does her work gain philosophical maturity. In pursuing this inter-relationship Walker gives a series of penetrating commentaries on each of the novels, setting them in chronological order in the context of the author's own life story. But they do not depend on the fascinating biographical material alone for their literary merit. Von Arnim highlights the lives of women relegated to an inferior social status in the chauvinistic male society of the first half of the twentieth century (which was especially tyrranical in her adopted country, Germany). She spices the venom with sparkling wit and irony. These are her deadly weapons of riposte. 'Elizabeth and Her German Garden', her best known and earliest work, covering her early-married years with her German husband (the 'Man of Wrath'), opens the attack. It is however interspersed with lyrical passages, and in her analysis Walker reveals Elizabeth's passionate sensitivity to beauty by showing it gathering force as does a musical structure. She then demonstrates that each subsequent novel adds something further to a deepening philosophical perception that reaches a climax in the novel 'Vera' in which the bullied heroine, unable to escape from her domineering and blinkered husband, succumbs to an equally blinkered acceptance of self-destruction. Similarly, in 'The Pastor's Wife' an escape only leads the heroine back to her chosen prison. Walker suggests that von Arnim's own relationship with Lord Francis Russell before she fled from him showed correspondingly masochistic tendencies. There is a continuous journey throughout von Arnim's works, which finds its completion in the achievement of a mature understanding by the main character of the last novel. What 'Elizabeth of the German Garden' has revealed is a developing pattern, not just in each novel but in the entire body of Elizabeth's work, reaching a final harmony in 'Mr Skeffington'. Jennifer Walker's accomplished study is in itself a fascinating 'literary journey' akin to a series of novels within a novel.


The Triumph of the Dark: European International History 1933-1939 (Oxford History of Modern Europe)
The Triumph of the Dark: European International History 1933-1939 (Oxford History of Modern Europe)
by Zara S. Steiner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £51.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding work of synthesis and analysis, 7 Jan. 2012
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For those who have over the years made a close study of the interwar diplomatic and political history of Europe Professor Steiner's magisterial two-volume work on this topic will be both absorbing and enlightening. The carefully chosen main collective title 'European International History...', which has, regretfully, been misunderstood by some critical comments made on this page, is in fact a precise one. What is being analysed so skilfully is the increasingly doomed relationship between the nations of Europe both in the individual contexts of their national histories and in the wider inter-nation contexts of the European and ultimately worldwide implications which became actual from 1940/1941. What especially distinguishes the importance of Professor Steiner's work is its synthesis of impressively resourced and balanced material exposition with carefully argued analysis. This is very far indeed from being simply "recorded facts and prejudice" or merely "a useful compendium of facts", and one is both puzzled and saddened to find such misleading opinions being expressed after what one is entitled to suppose was a careful and informed reading of these two books. Fellow professional historians who have worked and taught in this field over many years will undoubtedly find their understandings enriched by what will certainly remain a source of reflection and stimulus for the foreseeable future.


You Rang, M'Lord? - The Complete Boxset Series One - Four [DVD] [1998]
You Rang, M'Lord? - The Complete Boxset Series One - Four [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Paul Shane
Price: £18.00

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of television comedy, 9 Jan. 2008
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After a delay of some fifteen years it is marvellous now to have this series available on dvd in a quality of vision and sound that was not possible on its first showing in the early 1990s. Although Jimmy Perry and David Croft have created an amazing series of programmes over the past twenty five years or more, including the almost legendary 'Dad's Army', they reached a peak of writing and production in these programmes which, in its breadth of detail, it would be difficult to match let alone surpass. The cast realise their conception to perfection, and their acting shows a rare distinction in its combination of farce, comedy and seriousness - (yes, also seriousness, because this comedy drama deals as well with serious issues within a light-hearted context.) The period settings and costumes recreate the late 1920s to perfection, and, it almost goes without saying, the production values are of the highest standard. An essential set for anyone interested not only in television comedy, but anyone interested in consummate comedy-drama. To be seen again and again with the greatest enjoyment; it is indeed a masterpiece.


Lite-On LVW-5006 Dual Format  Multi Region capable DVD Recorder DVD+ / - R/RW
Lite-On LVW-5006 Dual Format Multi Region capable DVD Recorder DVD+ / - R/RW

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent as a 'second machine', 11 Jun. 2006
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A first class bargain at the price. Just plug in and play/record - the "easy guider" system makes it quite foolproof. No problems at all in the first three months of use: excellent playback quality. I agree with an earlier reviewer that the best option is to use DVD+RW.


Strauss;Orchestral Music
Strauss;Orchestral Music
Offered by worldcollectabilia
Price: £12.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Strauss: Orchestral music from the Operas, 17 Jan. 2006
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The excellent Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra directed by the distinguished British conductor Jeffrey Tate recorded this invaluable programme of Strauss's own arrangements of music from his operas in 1991 and 1992. The sound from the Concertgebouw De Doelen is here captured with great richness and clarity, showing Tate and the Orchestra to spectacular effect in these latter day romantic masterpieces. In particular the performance of the main work - the Symphonic Fantasy from 'Die Frau ohne Schatten' - is probably the finest currently available on record. But also very valuable is the intimate twelve minute String Sextet which in the opera house forms the prelude to Strauss's final opera 'Capriccio'. In fact it was performed as a separate work some months before the premier of the opera in 1942, and here it receives a sensitive and moving performance by soloists from the Orchestra. This is a highly recommendable issue which should bring great pleasure to all lovers of Richard Strauss's music.


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