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Brian Davidson

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Debussy: Orchestral Works (Complete)
Debussy: Orchestral Works (Complete)
Price: £16.65

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection in a Box ?, 30 Sept. 2012
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I cannot recommend this 4 x CD boxed set highly enough ! The music throughout the whole set is a pleasure to listen to (and to experience) from start to finish and the sound quality is excellent .I have owned another esteemed CD of 'La Mer' for many years but I prefer the version here as performed by Orchestre National de L'ORTE under Jean Martidon .I also own a marvellous boxed set of Debussy 's piano works but I could never really warm to 'Children's Corner 'as performed on that particular CD set.Here , however , 'Children's Corner ' is transformed into an altogether more pleasing piece of music. In fact this is the finest rendition of Claude Debussy's music that I have ever heard !Each individual piece of music here is played with empathy and sensitivity .The performances seem totally effortless and one never gets the sense that anything is being forced or that any of the pieces were contrived in terms of the attitude or approach that was taken when tackling the music.The choice of the Monet Impressionist painting that adorns the box is the perfect cover to reflect the impressionistic and romantic personality that epitomises the beautiful ,rich music of Debussy .This boxed set will be a jewel in anyone's collection !


Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 / Cello Concerto No. 1
Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 / Cello Concerto No. 1
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cello Steals The Show !, 29 Sept. 2012
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I purchased this CD for the esteemed Piano Concertos No's 1 and 2 and I enjoy both but the Concerto No1 in E Flat Major for Cello and Orchestra has stolen the show in my opinion .Yo - Yo Ma is the cellist under the orchestration of Eugene Ormandy with The Philadelphia Orchestra .The Cello Concerto lasts 27 minutes approximately and consists of four sections.I have to say that this has quickly become one of my favourite pieces of classical music .To me this music has real power, integrity and worth and the photograph of the blazing, fiery Sun on the cover of the CD seems to suit the brooding atmosphere that is evoked by the Cello Concerto ! Whether Shostakovich believed that this particular piece of music was divinely inspired or not I don't know but as far as I am concerned this Cello Concerto brings to my mind something of the glorious beauty of God's creation . The sound quality throughout the whole of the CD is excellent , clear and warm .I recommend this CD for anyone who is seeking to start to explore the music of Shostakovich.


J.S. Bach: Great Organ Works
J.S. Bach: Great Organ Works
Offered by zoreno-uk
Price: £8.63

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Glorious Collection of J S Bach's Organ Music, 23 Sept. 2012
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This is a wonderful gathering of the glorious Organ music of J S Bach onto a 2xCD collection .The duration of the discs is 146 minutes and 27 seconds and Peter Hurford is the organist.The label is the well respected Decca label .The sound quality is superb and the resonance and power of the music comes across loud and clear on these discs.Disc 1 kicks off with the legendary 'Toccata and Fugue in D minor ',BWV 565.This piece of music is one of my personal favourite pieces ever and this version is the 5th that I have come to own and hear.It is certainly very distinctive from the other versions that I own .At first I wasn't sure how to rate it in comparison with the others but I have grown to appreciate it's uniqueness over repeated plays .

I believe that anyone who is interested in getting to know the Organ music of J S Bach will find a wealth of inspiration within this collection.There are a variety of approaches and their corresponding moods contained here .I have already mentioned the loud,resonant power (as have some of the previous reviewers ) that is displayed here but there are also tender musical moments ;one such piece is the devotional 'Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier', BWV 730.This collection helps to bring to the attention of the listener just why J S Bach is rightly considered as one of THE giants from out of the whole history of music .

I find this collection of his Organ works to be very atmospheric ( great for listening to during a rainy evening !)but also I would like to note that it is music that seems to get better after repeated listenings. In conclusion I will simply recommend this collection wholeheartedly .Happy listening !


Geoff Love - Themes for Super Heroes & Big Terror Movie Themes
Geoff Love - Themes for Super Heroes & Big Terror Movie Themes
Offered by Vocalion/Dutton Epoch Direct (Crazygreen8)
Price: £10.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unpretentious and Brilliantly Entertaining Music !, 13 Sept. 2012
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Here is an excellent remastering by Michael J Dutton for Vocalion of two fine 70's albums ,' Themes For Super Heroes'(1979) and 'Big Terror Movie Themes ' (1975).The two original albums contain 24 themes (12 each ) with a total running time of over 76 minutes.

I originally bought 'Big Terror..' on vinyl as a child in 1977 and I love it as much now as I did then ! As far as I was concerned 'Super Heroes ' was just a bonus when I ordered purchase of this CD .Let me tell you ,however , it is a very welcome and worthy partner to 'Big Terror '.'Super Heroes' occupies the first half of this single CD and contains more synth type sounds than the earlier 'Big Terror ' album.I hadn't been aware of this album back in the late 70's but it is a very enjoyable listen .My favourite themes contained on 'Super Heroes ' are The Incredible Hulk and The Six Million Dollar Man.

'Big Terror' is one of my all-time favourite albums ( from within any field of music ) that I have ever owned or have ever heard. Recorded 4 years before 'Super Heroes ' ,it is more traditionally and authentically orchestral with the addition of drums , bass and electric guitar that augment each piece of music brilliantly .
The musicianship is of the highest standard and it is expertly performed with plenty of emotion and feeling making it way beyond being merely technical. The result is a wonderful listening experience ! Each theme on 'Big Terror ' is indeed a pleasure and a joy to listen to.It is so difficult to choose favourites but 'The Morning After ' (theme to The Poseidon Adventure ) is a piece that I have always loved.I can still remember vividly how the Jaws theme was so evocative of the film that as a child it was almost too scary to listen to ! The Exorcist is a totally brilliant version in common with all of the offerings on 'Big Terror'.The theme for 'Three Days of The Condor ' is performed in a Jazz/Rock/funk style (complete with prominent Wah Wah electric guitar ) that is actually very similar to music that Jeff Beck was creating on his ground-breaking 'Blow by Blow' album which was also released in 1975 .

I could go on and on about the virtues of each theme on 'Big Terror 'suffice to say that each and every theme is a gem and most ,if not all , of them may actually even surpass the originals !The art work for the cover of 'Big Terror ' is also superb and strikingly memorable. The sound quality is clear and articulate .

So many great memories are evoked when I hear this music that I would gladly award this CD more than 5 stars for 'Big Terror 'alone if such a thing were possible !!!


'The Guitar Trio' ; Paco De Lucia, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola
'The Guitar Trio' ; Paco De Lucia, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola
Price: £9.30

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome ' Return of The Trio '., 11 Sept. 2012
Having previously enjoyed 'Friday Night In San Francisco 'I was eager to hear what this reunion of three of the world's greatest guitarists had to offer .I have to say that initially I was slightly disappointed because compared to the previous live album this seemed much more refrained and studio polished .This album , however , has grown on me over the years and I find that it is an album that I play with greater regularity than most in my collection.

Released in 1996 and with a running time of over 50+ minutes ,it consists of nine original compositions. De Lucia wrote two of the compositions whilst Di Meola and McLaughlin wrote three of the songs each.One song was written by Luis Bonfefa and Antonio Maria .The playing is beautifully lyrical and is flawlessly executed as you would expect and there are inner notes to let the listener know which guitarist is playing a particular solo at any given time .These guys make a great team and often bring out the best in each other whilst always being aware that the song is there to be served rather than merely as a vehicle for selfish over- indulgence and unwanted flashy fretwork !

My two favourite songs here were both penned by Al Di Meola .They are 'Azzura' and my favourite on the album , 'Espiritu'.Comparisons with the aforementioned legendary live album 'Friday Night In San Francisco ' are perhaps slightly unfair and although I have already stated my favouritism for the legendary (mainly) live album ,similarly there are those who will prefer this studio offering .The logical step is to give both works a listen and enjoy the experience !


The Best Of
The Best Of

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Derivative but Always Delightful, 15 April 2012
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This review is from: The Best Of (Audio CD)
I decided to buy this compilation after seeing Liverpool Express on Top Of The Pops '76/'77 of late.

The CD is over 50 minutes in duration and contains 16 songs .

It will be clear to anyone who is familiar with the music of The Beatles ,Wings/Paul McCartney and John Lennon that Liverpool Express have been massively influenced by these artists.They have made no secret of the influence of The Beatles upon their songs (EG their song 'John,George ,Ringo and Paul') but they are certainly more than a tribute act !

Paul McCartney has stated his personal admiration for 'You Are My Love' and the other songs on this CD are also really likeable .'Julian The Hooligan' is perhaps one of the most modern sounding songs here ;the riff is very akin to one that Blur would be proud of . I found myself grinning broadly as I listened to this CD for the first time because Liverpool Express have managed to use their Beatles influence intelligently and delightfully .'Margie' is a beautiful McCartneyesque piece whilst 'Take it Easy With My Heart' is a superb Lennon inspired song.

Mention must be given to Billy Kinsley's convincing vocals that really help to bring the tunes to life .I found the song 'So Here I Go Again' to be very similar to the 1968 Mary Hopkin hit 'Those Were The Days' whilst 'So What?'(1983) would not seem to be out of place on Christopher Cross 's early albums.These are observations rather than criticisms as I enjoy both of these songs. The last third of this compilation has a slight hint of a more transatlantic/ Soul quality to the music at certain times but there is no lessening of the standard set by the earlier work .

Let's face it many fine bands including ELO and 10cc have had huge success making use of their Beatles influences in their musical careers so why not Liverpool Express ? I have to say that I really enjoy listening to this CD and I am pleased that I decided to buy it !


Once Around The Sun
Once Around The Sun
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music that Shines like the Sun!, 8 April 2012
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This review is from: Once Around The Sun (Audio CD)
I decided to buy this album on the strength of hearing only one piece of music ( August) recently on a late night radio station (Lyric FM's 'Blue of the Night').Prior to this I had no idea who Joby Talbot was.

The album contains 12 tracks ,each of which is a piece corresponding to an individual month of the year.Also included are 3 bonus tracks which actually pre date the main collection of songs.This totally instrumental album lasts roughly 72 minutes in total ,with the bonus tracks making up 25 minutes of this total.

There are informative notes included that detail Joby's particular inspirations for each piece as well as interesting details concerning the writing processes and circumstances linked to each piece of music.

Regarding the 12 tracks that make up the original album ,there are no weak links .My favourite pieces are 'March(seed capsule)' , 'May (cumulonimbus)' ,'June (transit of Venus) ' ,'August(cloudpark)'and 'December(polarisation)'.Let me tell you that the bonus tracks are every bit as excellent as the best of the main songs and are in a similar vein musically .

They also use similar instrumentation.All of the tracks were written by Joby and he plays piano throughout.The other instruments are violin(Everton Nelson),cello (Chris Worsey) ,percussion(Rob Farrer)and Harp(Manon Morris).I am pleased that I purchased this delightful album ,full of moods and changing atmospheres and sentiments, and I consider it to be a hidden gem . Why don't you give it a listen for yourself ?


Nordic Quartet
Nordic Quartet
Price: £28.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, Stark and Desolate but Compelling !, 4 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Nordic Quartet (Audio CD)
Initially I found this album (recorded in Oslo in 1994) to be a slightly mixed bag but there are, in my humble opinion, actually elements of ,dare I say it ,genius to be found herein .

All four musicians are obviously very accomplished; I believe that three are Norwegian with John Surman being English.Surman plays Saxophones and Clarinets and contributes his writing talents on six of the nine songs .Terji Rypdal is the guitarist (who contributes to the writing of three songs),Vigleik Storaas plays piano and he wrote/co-wrote two of the songs whilst Karin Krog is the vocalist and co-writer of four of the compositions.

Let me get what I consider to be the usually minor negatives off my chest first ! Too often the playing of Surman and ,to a slightly lesser degree, Rypdal appear to be too loud within the mix at inappropriate moments.This is illustrated from the beginning of the opening track 'Traces 'where Karin Korg's spoken intro is swamped by the guitar work of Rypdal. Another observation about the album is that it isn't particularly overtly melodic at certain times(there I have said it !). But this may not be a criticism as such, as the music may well appeal to other listeners who will appreciate work that puts an emphasis on other aspects such as sonic textures and experimental improvisation etc. This is definitely an album rich in both atmosphere and character and it's appeal as grown on me the longer that I have owned it and played it ( which I have been doing now on quite a regular basis) .

There are several instrumentals here and one that showcases the skilful and innovative electric guitar playing of Rypdal is 'Gone to the Dogs'. I think that Jeff Beck may have been influenced by Rypdal's playing .I can hear similarities to Terji Rypdal's sound and playing style on parts of Beck's 1999 album'Who Else?'and also to material (EG 'Suspension')from Jeff's 2001 album 'You Had It Coming'. The guitar playing on this album also reminds me of the tonal approach of Bill Frisell ( which is surely no bad thing ! ).

My favourite songs on the album are 'Watching Shadows' and 'Wild Bird'.Concerning 'Watching Shadows' let me say that this song contains ,what are for me ,the two strongest elements throughout the album I.E the combination of Storaas's piano and Korg's singing. This is a fine song indeed ! 'Wild Bird' is my other favourite song on the album .

On 'Wild Bird ' the musicians gel together brilliantly .Every now and then one hears a piece of music and realizes that it is very special ;'Wild Bird' falls into this category !This song is quite unique to my ears and makes the album worth purchasing all on it's own !

The inner group photograph of the musicians shows a smiling ,happy bunch of people but what they have created here is dark, brooding and even ,at times, menacing music . There is a certain desolate atmosphere about this album that a band like Radiohead often seem to strive for . On this album Nordic Quartet have captured an altogether eerie and .at times, affecting piece of work whilst still managing to retain a desirable beauty .

As I said at the beginning of this review it can perhaps seem be patchy and inconsistent on first impression but the attributes contained herein make this a piece of work that is and definitely well worth investigating . This fine album has now become a definite 'keeper' in my music collection !


Belle And Sebastien - The Complete First Series [1967] [DVD]
Belle And Sebastien - The Complete First Series [1967] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mehdi El Glaoui
Price: £5.00

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful TV Series to Cherish !, 12 Feb. 2012
This excellent 2x DVD has a running time of 325minutes approx' and is presented over 13 wonderful episodes in B/W .It was first broadcast on the BBC from October 2nd to December 26th 1967 but I remember, with great fondness, watching this series as a child in the early/mid 1970's.

The show is set in the French Alps close to the border with Italy.All of the actors play memorable characters brilliantly but the stars of the show are 8 years old Sebastian who is played by Medhi ( and is the son of the late actress and author Cecile Aubry , whose books were adapted to create the series).And ,of course ,Belle the magnificent Pyrenean Mountain Dog. According to a book entitled 'TV Heaven' by Jim Sangster and Paul Condon, Cecile Aubry also directed episodes ,but her name is not credited as having directed any of these episodes from this first series on the DVD set case.Perhaps she directed episodes from the follow-up series,'Belle ,Sebastian and the Horses' which the aforementioned book claims was shown on UK screens the year after the first series was shown.I must admit that I cannot remember watching any other but this first series ,although I know that a second series ,with this name ,exists .One note of caution concerning the book 'TV Heaven' is that it refers to Cecile Aubry as being male! She was ,of course, a beautiful ,feminine looking ,blonde actress !

The dog's real name is announced ,(at the end of the cast list,during the introduction) as what sounds like "Klonke" .I wonder if the female narrator is actually saying "Blanche"(with an accent over the letter 'e') ? In this case the name would possibly translate into English as "Whitey" in reference to the colour of the dog's coat . A French chap once informed me that the dog's actual name was in fact 'Joker' , so who knows ? Whatever the case may be ,this impressive looking dog is one of the finest that I have ever seen !

The series has the option of either listening to voices dubbed into English (with mild French accents ) or the original French dialogue .I have watched these DVDs several times over the last few years and, even as an adult, I have greatly enjoyed the experience.This has definitely stood the test of time and contains a strong and engaging story line.

The theme tune(written by Daniel White and sang by Medhi )is absolutely superb. It has to be one of the best theme songs from a children's(or any other) TV show ever.I rate the theme song to be right up there with the themes to 'White Horses'(sang so well by the legendary Jacky Lee),'The Lightning Tree ' which is the theme song to 'Follyfoot'( performed by the much under- rated band, The Settlers)and the theme tune to the 'Robinson Crusoe'TV series.

I have often wondered what happened to the actors and actresses (E.G Paloma Matta,who played "pretty" Angelina) in the years after Belle and Sebastian.Another thing that occurs to me is the question of the elderly actress who plays the part of the doctor's cantankerous housekeeper in the series .Could her distinctive character have been the inspiration for the Scottish TV soap opera, 'Take the High Road's character Mrs Mac ? Just a thought ! I would recommend 'Belle and Sebastian' to people ,of any generation, who have either never watched it previously or who have fond memories of the show from years gone by . It will certainly always have a special place in my affections !
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2015 7:33 PM BST


The Ship of Seven Murders: A True Story of Madness and Murder
The Ship of Seven Murders: A True Story of Madness and Murder
by Alannah Hopkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic, True Story Revealed from the Mists of History, 5 Feb. 2012
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This book held my attention from the first page to the last page.The writing style is very accessible ,unpretentious and engaging throughout.The story seems to have been researched very well considering how long ago the events happened.There are also some B/W photographs(although not glossy!) included to illustrate the subject matter .The authors,Alannah Hopkin and Kathy Bunney deserve credit for their achievement in bringing this almost forgotten,tragic (but compelling) episode to the attention of readers today in such an informed , engrossing and gripping style.Recommended !


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