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J N McMahon

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Britten: War Requiem, 1962 (Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh)
Britten: War Requiem, 1962 (Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh)
Price: £15.93

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial, 13 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having listened exclusively to the Britten recording of his own work for the last twenty years, I was sceptical about forking out £15 for another recording. I am glad I did: this is a quite brilliant recording. The sound is wonderful. The attention to detail makes it a captivating recording - it possibly also reveals gaps in the Brittem recording. Most of all, it navigates the transition from menace to pathos, and back again, in a wholly convincing way.

I vote this my own classical music disc of the year.


The Finkler Question
The Finkler Question
by Howard Jacobson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Struggled to like this book, 16 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Finkler Question (Paperback)
I guess it does not help a book, or indeed any art form, if the professional critics have declared a new work of genius.

This is not such a work. In places it is an enjoyable read, and the conceit at the heart of the narrative causes the odd smile. It could have been saved by a richer style, or more thought provoking ideas. It has neither. I thus found it hard going, and found myself re-reading the reviews to check whether it was the same book the critics had reviewed.

Like another reviewer, I ended up switching to a William Boyd novel. All in all, a more engaging, impressive read.


The Shieling
The Shieling
by David Constantine
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some terrific stories, 16 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Shieling (Paperback)
A gift from a friend, I read this in the summer of 2012.

Although Constantine's writing is dense, his characters are sympathetic, and his narratives - with a couple of exceptions - strong. In an otherwise serious collection, my favourite story, concerning a vicar in a rural parish (although that barely describes it), was the most comic.

I bought some more of his work on the strength of this collection. A lovely writer who makes reading a pleasure.


Shostakovich: Complete Preludes & Fugues (Alexander Melnikov) [2 CDs plus DVD]
Shostakovich: Complete Preludes & Fugues (Alexander Melnikov) [2 CDs plus DVD]

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmatched depth and sensitivity, 15 Jan. 2011
If you think you know these works well, then the genius of Melnikov's interpretation is to surprise you utterly. Outside live performance, it's been a long time since I've heard a musician get under the skin of piece in the way Melnikov does here: one can almost see the composer at the piano. For example, the sense of anticipation which follows the opening bars of Fugue 14 is quite something. Brilliant and highly rewarding.


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