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msCX (EU)

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Mahler: Symphonies 1 - 10, Das Lied von der Erde
Mahler: Symphonies 1 - 10, Das Lied von der Erde
Price: £27.17

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb recordings, 14 Nov. 2011
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I will be brief as I am not qualified to offer any opinion on the merits of various conductors' and orchestras' interpretations of Mahler's symphonies. I have also, to my embarassment, never heard the 6th, 7th or 9th symphony before listening to this complete set over the weekend. That said, IMHO I think this set is an excellent buy. It is an incredible bargain and virtually all of the recordings seem, to my untutored ears, to be of very high quality, with the orchestral playing both pleasing and engaging to the ear. I have to admit to having not come across Gary Bertini before but this set of Mahler's symphonies represents, as the interesting booklet note says, a very impressive testimony of his undoubted talents and artistry. I have not yet listened to the Das Lied von der Erde included in this set.

I agree with other reviewers that it is irritating to have so many of the symphonies split over two CDs, but that is a small price to pay for such wonderful music and enjoyable recordings, even before you consider the amazing price at which they are offered by Amazon at the moment.

As others may have said, if you like Mahler's symphonic music, don't hestitate, just buy a set! To go with your others or even to be your first or only set (but here I am speaking without authority or the requisite knowledge, beyond my familiarity with many other conductors' 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 8th (with which these compare very favourably) and the experience of a very enjoyable weekend spent listening to all of these recordings (other than the Das Lied) after only receiving them from Amazon on Friday!).

The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (Oxford World's Classics)
The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (Oxford World's Classics)
Price: £7.47

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition, 11 Nov. 2011
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I was sadly very disappointed with this e-book offering from OUP. The only navigation around its contents that you are offered is amongst the prefatory material and the appencices (all very interesting) and then from the whole of the 1549 text to the 1559 text and on to the 1662 text. Once inside one of the three texts there is no navigation available other than by page turn, inserting your own bookmarks or by searching for certain terms. Certainly, there is no possibility of jumping from Morning Prayer to Evening Prayer or to (let alone amongst any of) the Psalter. This makes the book useless if you had ever thought of using it as a prayer book. Of course, I appreciate that it has not been published with that devotional use primarily in mind but then it is surely also not to be expected that it would be read through, page by page, as if it were (say) a history of the BCP.

What a missed opportunity for OUP to show off all the advantagesof e-book versions of their catalogue or, at the very least, to show how navigating them can be as painless as flipping through a hard copy of the book.

This is also unfortunate for Mr Cummings since clearly a lot of research and thought and work has gone into producing this very interesting collection of formative BCP texts - I'm not sure how easily available the 1559 text is - and I do very much hope that Amazon doesn't tar the hard copy editions of his book with this negative review based purely on the OUP e-book format.

True to form, Amazon have been exemplary in their very prompt refund/cancellation of my purchase of the Kindle version. I remain as committed as ever to the Kindle (and to OUP) but just wish that the publisher could have done more in producing this Kindle version than, as it were, producing one long pdf of the hard copy book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2011 12:45 AM GMT


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version - DO NOT BUY CONTAINS ONLY 1.25% OF THE CATECHISM!, 19 April 2011
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This is not a review of the text of the Catechism (this Kindle version does not contain enough of the text to enable a review to be given, should that be necessary!) but a warning about this Kindle version of the text. Clearly something has gone seriously wrong in the preparation of this Kindle version since it only includes paras 1076 to 1112 of the Catechism and not the other 2829 paragraphs!! (i.e. only about 1.25% of the Catechism).

I have emailed Amazon about this and asked for a refund. I have suggested they remove the product from the Kindle store until this problem can be addressed.

Black Music Angel Tube Speaker Dock for iPhone & iPod
Black Music Angel Tube Speaker Dock for iPhone & iPod

2.0 out of 5 stars Impressive sound; pity it failed to charge, 7 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Unfortunately, this unit wouldn't charge an Ipod Touch 4th gen, an iPod Classic or an iPod Nano. However, the unit did produce very good sound considering its small size and low price, If it had charged the docked iPods I would have been delighted. The seller was excellent and very promptly arranged a refund and so I will have no qualms about buying from the seller again. Judging from the other reviews of this item, it obviously does usually work to charge iPods and so I guess I was just unlucky.

Roberts Stream 83i Stereo DAB/FM/WiFi Internet Radio with 3 Way Speaker System
Roberts Stream 83i Stereo DAB/FM/WiFi Internet Radio with 3 Way Speaker System

5.0 out of 5 stars Great sound quality and ease of use, 30 Jan. 2011
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Have had my Stream 83i for just 24 hours but am in total agreement with the 4/5 star reviews of this excellent Roberts radio. Loaded up my preferred FM and DAB stations but haven't been listening to them since the choice and quality (and of course novelty) of internet radio stations is just excellent. Of course there's no doubt plenty of rubbish out there but there are some real gems as well.

That being the case (IMHO), the Roberts Stream 83i seems to be a great radio to have to enjoy internet radio. The sound it produces is really good. Strong bass and decent upper range. Perhaps not audiophile quality for the drawing room (you're probably not going to get rid of your floor standing speakers and separate pre-amp and power amp for this (unless you're really short of space!)). However, for the kitchen or bedroom (and for the convenience of being able to carry it around with you from room to room - so long as you plug it in (no batteries :()), it is far, far better than any similarly sized and priced radio set I have seen. I am very, very impressed with the sound quality.

Setting it up was a doddle and connection with my wifi and another wifi network was easy and immediate. The menu system is intuitive and while it may be a bit clunky, it's quite obvious what you need to do and the remote works well with the set and the set moves quickly through the relevant bits of the menu.

As you can see, it isn't going to win any smart design awards but so what? When the sound, ease of use and facilities that it offers are as good as they are (and its price is as competitive as it is when compared to the other sets you may be considering), who cares? At least it looks (and feels) substantial and a serious piece of kit.

I haven't tried the music player facility - being an iTunes man I can see that (for a IT dummy like myself) it's not going to be easy to stream my library to the radio set, but it's easy enough to plug in an iPod via the auxiliary input so I don't see that being much of a draw back for iTunes people. Btw, as others have noted, the USB port at the front (and I guess the "service-only" one at the rear) will not, unfortunately, charge your iPod (at least not my iPod touch 4th gen), but since no claims are made by Roberts that that is possible, I can't complain.

I've registered my 30 day free trial of last.fm and think I may decide to continue it at just £3/month. So far as I can see after just a few hours of listening to it, it offers you a constantly changing mix of (in my case, classical) music, pulled from the hundreds or more (classical) broadcasts going on out there, with no intrusive adverts. Not what you'll want to listen to if you settling down with the hope of hearing a complete symphony or concerto (or even a sonata - the "pieces" of music it delivers to you are typically just a few minutes in duration), but as background music it sounds good and interesting. Better than the popular classical "hits" of Classic FM and without the awful repetitive adverts or even worse inane commentary. However, that's last.fm (about which I know not very much as of yet) and this is a review of the Roberts radio, but the fact that it is built to make easy use of that service is another plus (or at least not a "redundancy") so far as I am concerned.

Had a bit of a problem with a power cut over night that I think resulted in the radio not picking up the time from the network to set off the alarm. I hope that was just down to me not setting the alarm properly (or perhaps inadvertently cancelling it as I woke up in time to hear it going off and messed around with the remote checking the alarm as the time for it to go off approached!)

In conclusion, I'm very happy with my purchase and keep coming back to its excellent audio quality. It's just so good for a "portable" radio - in a totally different league from my Pure Chronos iPod dock which offered constricted and tinny sound. The Stream 83i offers a vastly superior audio experience (as well as internet radio ... but no iPod dock, but then for the price you can't have every thing and you can still use (but not charge) your iPod with it).

Go on - treat yourself, if you're in the market for your first (or a new) internet radio set! :)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2011 10:03 PM GMT

The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire ... Complete in ei
The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire ... Complete in ei

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Usual scanning problems, 4 Nov. 2010
Might be unfair of me as I have only dipped into the sample of this Kindle book, but it does seem to contain more than an acceptable level of scanning mistakes and rubbish. I know its only 72p but perhaps if you want to do justice to this great history you will have to search for better scannings or pay full wack for the Penguin version. There's a real danger of spoiling your Kindle reading experience by just buying the cheapo "no-thought-or-post-scan-checking-has-gone-into-this" versions of e-books. Some are surprisingly good and some are, perhaps not surprisingly, not really worthwhile having on your Kindle. Unfortunately, I think this version probably falls into the latter category.

Sir Thomas Browne's Works: Pseudodoxia epidemica, books 4-7. The garden of
Sir Thomas Browne's Works: Pseudodoxia epidemica, books 4-7. The garden of

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sadly this is useless: OCR without any corrections, 23 Oct. 2010
I know this costs only 74p or whatever but since the text is absolutely littered with typographical mistakes and nonsense, it is virtually unreadable and so just a waste of space on any one's Kindle. Try a sample and see if you agree. If you don't, it's obviously a bargain! But not for me, "it isn't"! :(

The Daily Office SSF
The Daily Office SSF
by Brother Colin Wilfred
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very attractive (Anglican) office (or prayer) book, 5 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: The Daily Office SSF (Hardcover)
It seems rather invidious to attempt a review of a daily office or prayer book which has been produced primarily (but by no means exclusively, as the Bishop of Gloucester makes clear in his forward to the book) for the needs of the Anglican Franciscan community. Who am I, being neither a professed Franciscan nor a liturgical expert, to offer a comment about its composition, layout and approach? That said, I'll nevertheless have a go!

I should perhaps point out that what I have to say, I merely offer as a lay person who tries to pray the daily office of the Church (i.e. the daily sequence of prayers or prayer times followed by the Church) each day. I have been using this new Franciscan office book for the past few weeks on a regular basis and also have experience of using the Church of England's Common Worship Daily Prayer (CWDP), the Roman Catholic Church's Liturgy of the Hours and a number of much older office books or breviaries, for daily prayer.

Let me begin by saying straight away that I am enjoying using this new edition of the Anglican Franciscan prayer book and am finding it enriching and helping my daily prayer in a very refreshing and satisfying way. I much prefer it to CWDP. As I become more familiar with the rhythms and daily and seasonal variations in the office book, I will consider offering a more informed review of the book. Until then, these are my initial impressions.

This new version of the Franciscan Daily Office book brings the Anglican Franciscan daily office into line with a number of the key texts of CWDP, in particular the Psalter and the Canticles (though the selection of Canticles included in this book retains some distinguishing Franciscan features and so is not identical to that contained in CWDP). The book also retains, of course, certain specifically Franciscan material (such as several Franciscan collects or prayers and The Principles of the First Order SSF, The Community Obedience of the Third Order SSF and The Principles of the Third Order SSF), as well as Franciscan additions (or changes) to the forms of Morning, Midday (i.e. CWDP's Prayer During the Day), Evening and Night Prayer used in CWDP.

Thus Morning Prayer (and I think corresponding comments could be made about Evening Prayer) for each day includes the Kyries (following the Benedictus), has a different responsory (said after the second Bible reading) to that provided in CWDP and ends with a lovely Franciscan prayer.

Midday Prayer adopts the more traditional order of psalmody (utilising the alternatives of parts of Psalm 119 and the Psalms of Ascent (121-131,133) provided at the beginning of CWDP's Prayer During the Day) and has an office hymn at the beginning (rather than CWDP's prayer). A seasonal doxology (or final verse to the hymn) variant is provided in the Temporale (or Seasons of the Church's year) section of the book. It also offers a fuller response after the reading (though the readings, unlike in CWDP, are not set out in the book (however, alternative one line readings are set out for each day)) and there are alternative collects, followed by a Franciscan concluding prayer.

Night Prayer's differences from CWDP include a different confession, the alternative of the Trisagon, the provision of Seasonal variations for the doxology of the office hymn, a different order of psalmody, different short Scripture readings ("or chapters") and the Latin text of the Salve Regina at the end of the office. The other traditional Marian antiphons (or prayers) are provided in English elsewhere in the office book.

Perhaps the most significant difference from CWDP is in the layout of the daily offices (or prayers). I much prefer this office book's approach - which will be familiar to those who have used Celebrating Common Prayer - of setting out Morning, Midday, Evening and Night Prayer in that order for each day, and of allocating among the days of the week different Seasonal (or Temporale) variations (i.e. variations for the different Seasons in the Church's year) and Sanctorale variations (i.e. variations for the type of saint being remembered that day (the "Common of the Saints")) in the canticles, Gospel canticle antiphons, responsories and collects, etc.

Thus, Friday's offices, for example, are to be used each day during Lent (including Passiontide) and also on those days when any martyr saint is being celebrated (as a Class II feast or at least with some solemnity - the office book contains a simple and straight forward guide or rubric with respect to the ranking and manner of saying the office on saints days).

I think this is much more helpful than the approach of CWDP which starts (and I appreciate that this ordering is probably there for those people who will only use this first "office" or form of prayer in the book; perhaps not as a subtle throwback to the positioning of the Office of Prime in the traditional layout of the Benedictine office?) with Prayer During the Day, for each day of the week. CWDP then follows this by Seasonal variations for Prayer During the Day and then Morning and Evening Prayer for each day of the week, followed by Seasonal Variations for that (Sanctorale variations have to be found many pages later in CWDP, in the Commons of the Saints) and finally a "common" form of Night Prayer, again followed by daily and then Seasonal variations.

Sensibly (if inevitably, rather technically), the Daily Office SSF follows the practice of the later "pocket" editions of Celebrating Common Prayer in designating the daily offices as Form 1 (Sunday), Form 2 (Monday), etc., which amongst other things, I suppose, helps avoid any instinctive confusion in praying Morning Prayer for Friday on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, etc. during Lent. For certain people, it might also be seen as providing a subtle link back to the old Latin breviaries with their ordering of the weekly Psalter amongst Feria Secunda (2) (Monday), Feria Tertia (3) (Tuesday), etc.!

As a further illustration of the book's (hardly surprising, considering that it is the Franciscan office book) catholic flavour, the office book provides two versions of the Angelus as an introductory prayer before saying the office or first prayers for the day. What I particularly like about this Anglican prayer book, is its greater openness to and inclusion of, traditional catholic forms of prayer and, as a bonus, these forms of prayer are often provided with modern language equivalents, adding to the attractions of this prayer book and avoiding any suggestion that it is simply an "anglo-catholic" version of CWDP.

Being Franciscan, it has none of CWDP's defensiveness or embarassment about the traditional (and pretty much universal) place of Mary in the Church's liturgy. That said, for those Christians who are not accustomed to including Mary in their prayers as much as others are, this prayer book remains an excellent resource that should suit them very well. The occasional Marian prayers are, of course, optional and hardly a major feature of the prayer book. As with all good office or prayer books, it is Scripture that provides the basis, and by far the greater part, of the book.

This prayer book is attractively but simply laid out, nicely produced and beautifully composed. I think that it should be a great resource for anyone (whether or not they are Franciscan) looking for a daily office or prayer book; especially a prayer book that retains a link to all that is good in the Church's traditions while also being contemporary and showing clearly what it is that attracts so many of us to the (simple) Franciscan way and to Franciscan spirituality.

One important thing to note about this new version of the Daily Office SSF is that it no longer includes a lectionary within its pages, as did its predecessor (and its Celebrating Common Prayer derivative). To use the office book while on the move, you will need to carry with you (as you do with CWDP and did with the earlier version of this office book), not only a Bible but also a Common Worship Lectionary (except for those Franciscan saints days, etc. when the office book itself provides the full "propers" for that day, i.e. the psalms and canticles to be said and citations for the day's Bible readings). This is not a major problem, however, as you can, at the beginning of each week, very easily cut out the relevant pages from the standard Common Worship lectionary and insert them in the office book.

Also, since the book contains two tables of Psalms (for use during the Seasons and during Ordinary Time) for Morning and Evening Prayer each day, if you were just to use the very short Scripture readings set out in Midday Prayer (or even Night Prayer) and to follow the allocation of Psalms given in these tables, you could treat the book like a breviary and say the offices each day without the need to carry with you any other book or resource.

Finally, the book is of the same size as CWDP and comes with six differently coloured ribbon page markers. I apologise in advance if my comparison of this book with CWDP contains some errors. I hope that I have correctly pointed out the main differences.

I strongly recommend this prayer book to anyone looking for a new form of daily prayer or looking for some enrichment of their existing daily prayer life.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2013 1:00 PM BST

Amzer Handy Converter Mini-USB connector to Micro-USB Charger
Amzer Handy Converter Mini-USB connector to Micro-USB Charger
Price: £6.07

1.0 out of 5 stars Useless, 22 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Perhaps I was just unlucky but this adaptor failed to work, i.e. failed to deliver (literally, for more than a few seconds on being connected to my phone) any charge from the otherwise charging mini USB lead to the BlackBerry Storm that needed a micro USB input. A composite micro USB charger was capable of delivering a charge to my phone and so there was no question of the adaptor (or the phone) failing to pick up any current with which to charge. I'm afraid the unit was therefore useless and has been returned.

My Blueberry Nights [DVD]
My Blueberry Nights [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jude Law
Price: £2.96

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching even if not a classic, 21 May 2010
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This review is from: My Blueberry Nights [DVD] (DVD)
This is the fourth Wong Kar-Wai film I have watched (the others being Happy Together, Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love) and I wasn't disappointed, just not as wowed by it as I was with the others. I approached it knowing about its differences from the others and with pretty much an open mind.

I was impressed with Norah Jones, both her acting and her role, but much less so with Jude Law whose role kept him tied to his little and under-explored (in the film) cafe. I also enjoyed the performances of the other two key characters whose life stories form the filling in the sandwich composed of Norah and Jude's meeting and relationship.

Two very different but compelling and convincing life stories which left me wanting to see some more and wishing Norah hadn't made such a speedy return to New York and Jude. That in itself is perhaps a sign that for me this is a film I enjoyed watching and would have liked to have seen made as a longer work.

It has none of the striking imagery of In the Mood for Love or Chungking Express, and rather more of the limited (almost claustrophobic) scene shots of Happy Together. The only moment that really reminded me of the other films was the shot of the cream or custard running over Norah's blueberry pie early on in the film. The shots of the poker dice and tokens left me hoping for more intriguing images but sadly they failed to emerge.

Understated is perhaps another way of describing the impressions made by this film. Nevertheless, it's certainly well worth catching on TV or any DVD rental, even if you don't want to add it to your Wong Kar-Wai collection.

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