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Robert A

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Rimsky-Korsakoff's "Scheherazade, Op. 35"
Rimsky-Korsakoff's "Scheherazade, Op. 35"
Price: £3.16

2.0 out of 5 stars A fine performance let down by the transfer, 24 Nov. 2014
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The performance is excellent but technically this download is disappointing. The sound is reasonable played through speakers, but when I listened on headphones I realised that it was derived from a monaural source and probably an LP at that (there was slight surface noise). Just not good enough for the price and the quality of the music-making. I shall be wary of this source in future.


Collins Spanish Visual Dictionary
Collins Spanish Visual Dictionary
by VARIOUS
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars This is in fact the Mini version of the Visual ..., 3 Sept. 2014
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This is in fact the Mini version of the Visual Dictionary and the print is very small. What concerns me even more is the lack in the list of editorial staff of any contributors with Spanish as their first language: contribution from native speakers is essential in any bilingual dictionary. The editorial staff all seem to be French.


Die Liebe Der Danae
Die Liebe Der Danae
Price: £4.54

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth hearing despite some technical failings, 20 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Die Liebe Der Danae (Audio CD)
The performance is well worth hearing, especially for Mackerras's handling of the marvellous score, the radiant singing of Arlene Saunders in the title role, and Norman Bailey's noble Wotan-like interpretation of Jupiter (notably in the Act III duet with Danae and the final "Abschied"). The source of this recording is evidently an "unofficial" off-air recording. It is in reasonably good stereo but there are patches of interference on CD2. In order to fit the music on two discs there is an abrupt break towards the end of Act II and it is in the continuation of this Act on the second disc that the worst of the interference occurs, coinciding unfortunately with Danae's tender solo ("Midas, Geliebter"). But all of Act I and most of Act III are trouble-free and I would not want it to discourage anyone interested in Strauss's music from acquiring this fine performance, given its modest cost, at least until the BBC sees fit to issue a cleaner version from its own tapes. There are notes on the performers and a summary of the action, but unsurprisingly no libretto.


Handel: Giulio Cesare [DVD] [2012]
Handel: Giulio Cesare [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Natalie Dessay
Price: £12.55

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funky, entertaining, and moving in equal measure, 26 Oct. 2012
This is a different take on the story and in my view just as valid as the Glyndebourne production with which it has inevitably been compared. In a work like this, one of the greatest operas in the repertoire, nothing is definitive. The setting of the action in the basement of a gallery works very well, and the whole thing is hugely entertaining. Natalie Dessay is, as one would expect, a funky Cleopatra (this is really *her* opera) but she sings her serious arias with great feeling: `piangerò la sorte mia' is most moving. She exudes a perky sexiness quite different from the sultry silkiness of Danielle de Niese -- I love both. Lawrence Zazzo makes an excellent Caesar: his long accompanied recitative after escaping from the sea is magnificent. Dominique Visse is predictably gauche as Nireno and makes the most of his scenes with Dessay. Isabel Leonard's Sesto is youthful and ardent -- perhaps a little too feminine -- and (s)he gets a warm ovation at the end. Cristophe Dumaux as Tolomeo lacks menace (he was better at Glyndebourne) but looks good and sings well. The only serious disappointment for me is Varduhi Abrahamyan as Pompey's widow Cornelia; her voice lacks firmness and she tends to squirm and swoon her way through the various attempts to seduce her -- not a patch on Patricia Bardon's nobly tragic performance at Glyndebourne. The band under Emmanuelle Haim play with style and panache with well-chosen tempi. I will return to this DVD quite often, I suspect, at least as often as to the Glyndebourne one and to alternatives on CD which I also have.


Toscanini Collection
Toscanini Collection

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure trove of music-making, 25 April 2012
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This review is from: Toscanini Collection (Audio CD)
Maybe 'nothing new', but it is a magnificent collection of some of the finest music-making of the first half of the 20th century. As regards the sound it seems to me hugely improved over earlier issues: don't let anyone put you off on that score. I began with La Bohème, which I previously knew from a vinyl (gold-covered) issue and it came up sparklingly fresh. (I had intended to sample it with Act I but ended up listening to the whole work.) It is my favourite recording alongside Beecham and Schippers and it is marvellous to have it in such fresh sound. Toscanini's Beethoven and Brahms are second to none and anyone who gets to know them will benefit from the experience. Even his Haydn and Mozart, though often hard-driven, are played with sympathy and affection. Some of the orchestral music is included in more than one recording (some of the symphonies, for example), and the comparisons are always interesting . For me, however, it is primarily for the operas that I value these Toscanini recordings, and there is a generous amount on offer here in addition to Verdi and Puccini, including Beethoven's Fidelio and substantial extracts from Gluck and Wagner. The presentation is a great improvement on earlier issues and the hard-back book includes an index, enabling particular works to be found easily. But most fun is flicking through this magisterial set and letting serendipity take over.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2012 7:49 PM BST


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