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Anthony O'Brien (Ireland)

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Cave in the Snow: A Western Woman's Quest for Enlightenment
Cave in the Snow: A Western Woman's Quest for Enlightenment
by Vicki Mackenzie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.88

5.0 out of 5 stars The extraordinary account of one English woman's treading of the ..., 30 May 2015
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The extraordinary account of one English woman's treading of the monastic path in Tibetan Buddhism. Twelve years in solitary retreat in the Himalayas was one huge undertaking. But her biggest battle has been to secure a more equal footing for women under the Tibetan Buddhist monastic hierarchy.

What a brave soul. This is her extraordinary story, excellently told by Vicki MacKenzie


Part:Tintinnabuli [The Tallis Scholars, Peter Philips] [GIMELL: CDGIM049]
Part:Tintinnabuli [The Tallis Scholars, Peter Philips] [GIMELL: CDGIM049]
Price: £11.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous choral music., 30 May 2015
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Arvo Part is one of the few contemporary composers who can match the depth and intensity of Renaissance polyphony. The Tallis Scholars are among the very best performers in this field and this recording is one of their best.

I listen to it again and again. It literally transports you to another realm of being.

A wonderful wonderful musical interlude in anyone's day.


Into the Heart of Life
Into the Heart of Life
by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and inspiring, 30 May 2015
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This review is from: Into the Heart of Life (Paperback)
Fascinating and inspiring account of a profound journey.


The Celtic Viol - An Hommage to Irish and Scottish Musical Traditions - Jordi Savall
The Celtic Viol - An Hommage to Irish and Scottish Musical Traditions - Jordi Savall
Price: £16.10

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of Time., 30 May 2015
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Jordi Savall adds nothing to either musical field with this pointless recording. Neither traditional Irish/Scottish music, nor the gamba repertoire. Andrew Lawrence-King's contribution is kept to a minimum, whereas in any decent Irish "session" the melodies would be thrown back and forth between players in a much more equal conversation. A pity. We could have done with a lot more of Andrew, particularly as he was playing an "authentic" wire-strung Irish harp.
All in all, a waste of time.


CPE Bach: Selected Fortepiano Works
CPE Bach: Selected Fortepiano Works
Price: £46.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous music by a musical revolutionary, 28 Jan. 2015
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C.P.E.Bach is one of the genuine musical revolutionaries. Listening to this excellent recording of selected fortepiano works, so expressively played by Sharona Joshua, you can hear the legacy of J.S.Bach in the background, and discern hints of Beethoven in the future.Truly extraordinary music, excellently played on a genuinely appropriate instrument. Wonderful.


Dufay: Isorhythmic Motets (Huelgas Ensemble)
Dufay: Isorhythmic Motets (Huelgas Ensemble)
Price: £10.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Miraculous music-making, 28 Jan. 2015
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Buy this CD now. It's stunning.
As a sometime performer (sackbut etc) of Medieval and Renaissance music, Dufay's music is known to me. But this recording by the Huelgas Ensemble lifts it into another realm. Simply exquisite music-making. Wonderful clarity in the vocal parts, crystal-clear sharp rhythmic singing and sonorous sackbuts, combined with expressive phrasing make this a sumptuous musical feast.


Bernard Leach (St Ives Artists series)
Bernard Leach (St Ives Artists series)
by Edmund de Waal
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leach in the firing line, 25 May 2014
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De Waal is now a super-star ceramic artist whose tiniest porcelain cylinders sell for thousands. . As a potter his work is very fashionable, if over-rated. However he writes well. Best known for the enchanting "Hare with Amber Eyes", his earlier work is less familiar.

This monograph on Bernard Leach, the grand old man and founding philosopher of the 20th century studio pottery movement in the UK, is both revealing and disappointing. De Waal pinpoints the obvious contradictions in Leach's life and work. Upholding the virtues of the "anonymous craftsman" on the one hand, Leach's own work was never anonymous, always high-priced, and aimed at galleries from the outset. As De Waal shows, much of the throwing of Leach's pots was done for him by others. His role was primarily that of decorator/artist/designer. His training had been in etching and graphics rather than clay, hence the designer aspect of his work, often better in the drawing than in the clay. His orientalism was in keeping with the style of his times, his dismissal of much traditional European pottery a blindspot.

De Waal's book is a useful guide and does much to demythologise a man who was the single most influential artist/potter of the 20th century. Many people hate this book for that very reason. But it is well written and informative, even if it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.


The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs
The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs
by Robert Beer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £56.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Guide to the Art of Tibet, 21 Feb. 2014
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For anyone who has ever wondered what Tibetan art is all about, ( the strange iconography, all those deities, benign and ferocious, the strange shapes, the amazing colours,) this is the definitive guide.

Robert Beer has had a long career as the foremost western artist in the Tibetan Buddhist sphere. He is a master of the style with all its incredibly rich symbolism and profound levels of meaning. His book is the ultimate guide, not only in the depth of detail, but also in the clarity of his writing, and the accessibility he provides to a very complex topic.

If you are a collector, a dealer, a curator, a Tibetan Buddhist dharma student, or just someone who is fascinated by Tibet's unique and extraordinary culture, this book is essential. Tibetan art has become more and more sought after and expensive, even as China has destroyed so much of Tibet's culture ( and faked so many Tibetan artefacts for the antique market ), but this book with its many hundreds of exquisite illustrations will give you the detailed knowledge of the forms as well as the understanding of their symbolic significance. It will also allow you to see whether the thangka you picked up for a song in a car-boot sale is up to scratch, or a cheap imitation from Kathmandu.

As a practising artist with a penchant for Tibetan Buddhism and its art, I find this book an inexhaustible source of inspiration, a really amazing resource.

A masterpiece.


The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer
The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer
by Mimi Spencer
Edition: Paperback

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fast Track to health, 23 Mar. 2013
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I saw the original BBC (UK) documentary in August 2012, and have been following the 5:2 weekly fasting routine ever since. I haven't felt this well for forty years, literally. So I cannot recommend the regime highly enough.

If you didn't see the programme, this book will tell you all you need to know. I found the book helpful, but it has the feeling of a book that grew out of a television show, and at times feels rather "padded out". Half is devoted to diets for food to eat on low-calory fasting days. I find it easier to eat no solid food on fasting days, so that half of the book wasn't particularly relevant to me. There are however useful charts with calorie values for standard food items, and for blood sugar, cholesterols and IGF-1 levels.

The book is not as punchy as the programme, but is still well worth getting. This really is the fast track to health. For which many thanks to Dr. Michael Moseley, and his co-author Mimi Spencer.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2013 10:44 PM BST


Cave Of Forgotten Dreams [DVD]
Cave Of Forgotten Dreams [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Zeitlinger

5.0 out of 5 stars Modern art from the Ice Age, 23 Mar. 2013
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Werner Herzog is, to say the least, an idiosyncratic film-maker. But here he has done us all a huge favour, as the Chauvet Caves are not open to the public. With awe and reverence, Herzog takes us with him as he is shown the caves and their unique painting. He is allowed intimate access to this treasure trove of breath-taking artworks from the dawn of modern man.

There are no words to express the magical impact of these earliest cave paintings. As the cover blurb rightly says, this is a "breathtaking experience, " and "absolutely awesome."

Modern art starts 40,000 years ago. We may have more sophisticated materials and different skills, but nothing in the realm of art has gone beyond the abstract vision and expressive subtlety of our cave-dwelling ancestors. Herzog captures the impact of this art with no trickery or glamourising. He tells it straight, and what an astonishing tale it is. I just wish I could have seen the 3-D version.


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