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Phillip Brookes
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A London Symphony in Full Score
A London Symphony in Full Score
by Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Get this if you want a good copy of the 1936 (authorised) edition, 18 Nov. 2016
Five stars for being well produced and cheap, No stars for being misleading.

This is a reprint of the 1936 Revised Edition. It is said to be the 1920 edition, but it is not. (Tip for hunters: the 1920 score has 199 pages; the 1936 score has 193 pages.)


3 DVD Box Father Brown Complete Series 1 - BBC - Mark Williams - Region 2 - English Audio - European Import
3 DVD Box Father Brown Complete Series 1 - BBC - Mark Williams - Region 2 - English Audio - European Import
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £7.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars These are very good versions of Chesterton's Father Brown stories, 4 Feb. 2016
Three stars only, but for a very specific reason.

These are very good versions of Chesterton's Father Brown stories, in which Mark Williams (like all the cast) is excellent. But here's the thing: the writers or producers have no comprehension of our history. The open practice of Catholicism was banned until 1829. Father Brown could not have an old (clearly pre-1829) church - the Church of England took them all for itself. Likewise, we have an established (ie: government) church, the Church of England, against which the Catholic church is a newcomer. There are no small towns in England that are predominately Catholic; there is absolutely no sense of this here. Father Brown usurps a role that the CofE vicar would have in real life. Pity.


Whom the Gods Love: The Life and Music of George Butterworth (0)
Whom the Gods Love: The Life and Music of George Butterworth (0)
by Michael Barlow
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good biography, 12 Mar. 2015
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This is a useful biography (only the second, as it happens - there has been a more recent one, published in 2012). It contains much that was new at the time, and a very good review of GSKB's music. But it is inevitably incomplete. The previous reviewer says that he is frustrated by this - but is this unexpected? How many people by the age of 31 have left a record of their innermost thoughts? Certainly not Butterworth, typical Edwardian that he was.

We will almost never know much about GSKB's inner thoughts (he appears not to have left a record, or even spoken much about them). The urge to analyse such things is very much of our age, not his. Yet we do know that he was a fastidious worker, who didn't find composing easy - and indeed, didn't think of himself primarily as a composer anyway. He was certainly happy in the army and it's not at all certain that he'd have returned to composition had he lived (though many people would have pressurised him to do so).

(One thing - the previous reviewer says that "I cannot believe there are no letters from or to Butterworth preserved, or that no one wrote about him in a more detailed way, particularly since his death was recognised as a tragedy at the time, and people were interviewed on radio...". No-one was interviewed on radio (this was 1916!) nor was there any widespread feeling that his death was an artistic tragedy - most of his works had still to be published. It was the efforts of his father, Sir Alexander, Hugh Allen, Adrian Boult and Ralph Vaughan Williams that led to most of his music being available in the 1920s and 30s. And, of course, the quality of the music itself...
.


Rubbernecker
Rubbernecker
by Belinda Bauer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A quibble about a fine book, 20 July 2014
This review is from: Rubbernecker (Paperback)
I've knocked off a star, and I feel a little guilty because this is a really enjoyable book. It is difficult to imagine anyone failing to respond to such a likeable main character and such a well-drawn cast. The tale is gloriously quirky and sticks in the memory.

So why four stars? Well, many viewers have drawn comparisons with Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and therein lies the problem. Haddon's hero (Christopher) is a 15-year-old with Asperger's. Bauer's is also an Aspie (though a few years older) - but he is essentially the same character. Christopher lashes out when he can't handle things; so does Patrick. Christopher is fussy over food (things have to be dyed different colours and must never touch each other on the plate); so is Patrick (things have to be eaten in alphabetical order from the outside in). Neither hero can stand being touched; both are hyper-sensitive to sounds. And so on (there really are many similarities). My worry is that non-Aspies will begin to think that Asperger's involves outbursts of violence, strange fussiness over food and the like. It doesn't, though some people do demonstrate such behaviour, particularly as children.

The trouble is that Asperger's has a multitude of possible symptoms, not all of which express themselves. Most Aspies are of average-above average intelligence and lead relatively 'normal' lives, though they may be seen as eccentric. Many have successful, stable marriages and families. Many are seen as 'experts' in some field, and many are true geniuses. Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Dirac, Mozart, Beethoven, Bartok, Alan Turing, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the like are thought to have been Aspies.

Given this, Patrick's character is a bit limited. This doesn't matter much if there is a possibility of a sequel or two, because the character can be developed. And (helpfully) there are just enough 'loose ends' to make that a possibility. I really hope that happens, because this is a fine crime novel...


Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly: and Other New Adventures of the Great Detective
Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly: and Other New Adventures of the Great Detective
by Donald Thomas
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Adequate, 2 Dec. 2012
Donald Thomas has written many stories based on actual crimes, but solved by Holmes and Watson. They are good, light, entertainment. This is (I think) his fifth book, and the idea is wearing pretty thin.

There is only one story that is based on fact - the first. It is based on the 'cause celebre' that inspired Terrence Rattigan's play The Winslow Boy - the case of George Archer-Shee at Osbourne Naval College. But even here we are in for a disappointment, for there are none of the end-notes where the author talks about the real case. That may be because most of the other tales are fiction, and one - the title story - a re-hash of Henry James.

It's all adequate, but not inspiring.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2016 5:00 PM BST


SIR ADRIAN BOULT A HANDBOOK ON THE TECHNIQUE OF CONDUCTING
SIR ADRIAN BOULT A HANDBOOK ON THE TECHNIQUE OF CONDUCTING
by Various
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful monograph, 12 Oct. 2012
This monograph (that's what Sherlock Holmes would have called it) has been around for sixty years or so, and will be very familiar to many conductors. It consists of very straightforward tips for any conductor who aspires to Boult's clarity of style. It follows that it will not please everyone (as it obviously does not the previous reviewer) because there are so many different styles. Sir Adrian's was simple, un-showy, and meant to 'let the music do the talking' and not the conductor. If you don't subscribe to that view, you will not find this useful - if you do, you may have read this already, but will still find this useful.


Operation Daybreak [DVD] [1976] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Operation Daybreak [DVD] [1976] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £15.28

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving reconstruction of tragic events, 29 May 2012
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This is a wonderful film that should have been widely available years ago. We are lucky enough to have this 'archive' version, but reviewers have already noted that there are no subtitles - which is quite something, considering that there are long scenes in German. It doesn't pose too great a problem, surprisingly, since it's pretty clear what's being said, but it does represent poor value.

That said, this is easily one of the most absorbing and moving WW2 films I've seen, ever. Everything works well - script, acting, photography (all at the real locations), no-nonsense direction and a great score. And above all, there's no adding to a tragic story for the sake of effect.


Why Evolution is True (Oxford Landmark Science)
Why Evolution is True (Oxford Landmark Science)
by Jerry A. Coyne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.57

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class!, 28 May 2012
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I was moved to write this review because of the most recent review, dated 1 February 2012, which gives a deeply misleading impression of an excellent book. The reviewer says that Jerry Coyne asserts "evolution on the facts of fossils and then claiming 'there for it's true' [sic]". This is so far from Dr Coyne's book as to make me wonder if we are reviewing the same book, only 34 pages of which deal with fossils. Fossils (given that we are lucky enough to have any at all) are there, but the evidence for evolution carried today within the living bodies of creatures and plants, and in the geographical separation of species get even more attention. There is also a good summary of the power of natural selection (including examples we can experience within human lifetimes, such as the growth of MRSA). There is also a good summary of the genetic evidence for evolution.

This is certainly a very readable book that presents a complex subject very well.


The Card [1952] [DVD]
The Card [1952] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alec Guinness
Price: £6.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That extra something, 29 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: The Card [1952] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a well made, unfussily directed, gentle comedy with that extra something that means that the very good cast gels right from the beginning. Alec Guinness and Glynis Johns share a real chemistry in their joint scenes, but every character is 'right'. The story is as relevant today as it was when Arnold Bennett wrote it, or when Ronald Neame filmed it; everyone will know people like these. Particularly interesting are the many glimpses of Stoke and Llandudno as they were sixty years ago or more. The film also contains Petula Clark's first screen kiss.


Endeavour: The Origins of Inspector Morse [DVD] (2012)
Endeavour: The Origins of Inspector Morse [DVD] (2012)
Dvd ~ Shaun Evans
Price: £4.41

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the rest?, 17 Feb. 2012
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Another review has already drawn attention to the fact that this DVD gives only a heavily edited version of the very good episode broadcast on TV. An entire storyline - one that was important in explaining the motivation of the politician - is cut and we get only a 'dumbed down' version. Disgraceful!

NOTE:

The above was what I had already written about the copy of Endeavour that was dispatched to me on 6 January. Now, on 17 February, I note that a new 'complete edition' has been issued, whose selling point is that it is what was shown on TV. Amazon's blurb reads "This release of Endeavour features the full 98 minute cut as shown on ITV1. The difference between this edition and the previously released version is an 'additional' 9 minutes to the run-time which now includes the sub-plot about secret government investigations going on in parallel to Morse's murder inquiry and also the bitter/sweet exit of D.S Lott".

There are several comments that need to be made about this:

1. Why was an edition ever issued in January that was edited to be significantly shorter than what had been shown (amid great publicity) on TV in December?

2. Why was there nothing on the box to indicate that this wasn't what we had just seen on TV?

3. Why is the 'complete version' issued now, only a few weeks after the incomplete one? I assume it's because of complaints.

4. Why do Amazon still advertise both versions?

5. Who would want the cut-down version anyway? Please note that this is not 'theatrical cut' -vs- 'director's cut'. It is 'theatrical cut' -vs- 'less than theatrical cut'.

What this all amounts to is that people will now have to buy the 'complete version' only a few weeks after paying for the incomplete one, which will of course never be viewed again. It seems like a deliberate ploy to cheat people, but there just might be an innocent explanation. It would be nice if Amazon would comment on this (as far as I know) highly unusual set of circumstances. Unfortunately, I suspect that Amazon have not yet twigged that something is amiss - because they have grouped all the reviews under both versions, so that it's impossible to mark them accurately.

The markings should be:

Early (short) version - one star (none, if there were any justice)

Complete version - five stars for an excellent Morse prequel.


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