ARRAY(0xb176d888)
 
Profile for BLee > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by BLee
Top Reviewer Ranking: 102,334
Helpful Votes: 87

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
BLee "bpslee" (HK)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-18
pixel
Christoph Von Dohnanyi:in Rehearsal with
Christoph Von Dohnanyi:in Rehearsal with
DVD ~ Christoph Von Dohnanyi
Price: CDN$ 28.68
6 used & new from CDN$ 15.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & Good Stuff For Any Serious Music Lover, Feb. 18 2004
The first review is very much to the point.
I'm a great fan of the Grandpa Dohnanyi (the composer and a hugely underrated marvelous pianist) and I knew little and as such expect little of Dohnanyi the conductor-- for to pass music onto the next generation would be difficult enough. How can one pass it onto his third generation? But upon seeing this DVD, there is no question about it whatsoever.
The way Dohnanyi rediscovers Haydn, in particular his humour; the way he approaches Haydn, or compares him with Mozart, Beethoven or even Mendelsohnn as a conductor; the sitting arrangement of the players; the reading of music notes as distinct from a book; intonation as a whole and the place of woodwinds in the orchestra; when the tempo should be faster (but not rushing) and when it should be slower; that muisc should be a dialogue instead of being mechanical... Often, you have clear and precise illustrations through these rehearsals with a great conductor as how he puts these elements of music together to make music. And mind you, the Philharmonia Orchestra sound georgeous under the baton of Dohnanyi and I find the photgraphy very well too.

Interesting and good stuff for any serious music lover. I just can't wait to go back to it a second time. My only grumble is: it's too short.

Szigeti And Schnabel
Szigeti And Schnabel
Price: CDN$ 27.79
3 used & new from CDN$ 27.79

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Reference, Feb. 14 2004
This review is from: Szigeti And Schnabel (Audio CD)
Even more enjoyable than Oistrakh: it's more erudite and more refined too. The recording made in '48 is only of marginally poorer quality than the former. The sound is quite accceptable and it sounds as though it was a live performance. And as a whole there is more music here, particularly so when set upon the inspiringly buoyant rhythm and pearl like legatos of Schnabel.
But for the violin part, Busch (with Rudolf Serkin) is even more appealing: it was so fresh, albeit that some may prefer Kriesler or even Tashner. And of course one can't possibly forget Szeryng.

Sons For Vln/Pno
Sons For Vln/Pno
Price: CDN$ 29.34
17 used & new from CDN$ 18.11

4.0 out of 5 stars Badly In Need of Remastering, Feb. 13 2004
This review is from: Sons For Vln/Pno (Audio CD)
Sometimes one gets the feeling that the first Chopin gold medalist, Oborin is not quite forthcoming as a full fledged soloist, although he is rather elegant and even quite poetic. Nor was he as inspiring as Schnabel or Kempff. Nonetheless, as far as Beethoven is concerned, I defintiely prefer him to Haebler.
Yes, Oistrakh's command of the violin, in his own way, is unsurpassed. He has a musical language of his own which is rather unique and which shows much about his upbringing. But there is a great tradition in Szeryng ...
In any event, these records need to be remastered!

A Legendary Collaboration
A Legendary Collaboration
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 51.95
2 used & new from CDN$ 24.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Probably One of the 50 Greatest Recordings, Jan. 21 2004
In case you know little about Katz: he is a pianist who "compels attention", who is "technically brilliant and full of poetry". A child prodigy admired even by Enescu and his piano teacher also taught Lipatti.
Katz and Szeryng are " ultimate Appolonian musicians; beauty of tone, immaculate phrasing, and careful obedience to the composer's indications took precedence over...flamboyant... and inflated egos."
I recommend this record for it's unsurpassed music plus poetry, from either or both instruments. Moreover, the record itself, in the conveyance of poetry and music of the highest order is as good as any modern recording. Not only is the recorded sound much much better than Thibaud/Cortot, in many a way, their playing is more overwhelming and certainly commands more attention! This definitely deserves 2 stars more than any collaboration between Szeryng/Rubinstein.
Definitely one of the greatest and rarest heritage of human culture.

Henryk Szeryng Plays Fritz Kre
Henryk Szeryng Plays Fritz Kre
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 44.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 24.95

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars even for Want of the Viennese Flavour, Jan. 21 2004
The recorded sound is not bad at all...in fact, quite good-- though not as good as the average modern recording, nor quite as good as Syeryng/Hablaer's Mozart Sonatas, but it's very close.
What this record interests me is the way how a Maestro of the Carl Flesch tradition ( albeit he also learned from the French violinist Thibaud and Enescu ) of Polish origin would interprete such Viennese music. To some audience, the Viennese glamour and elegance, or the Kreisler sort of assurance isn't quite there: somewhat like when Furtwangler conducted the Waltz, it was not quite the same thing as Strauss himself conducting, however great Furtwangler was. To some audience, other than Kreisler himself, perhaps Morini got it better, however superb or gracefully Szeryng played these pieces. But, if one is to choose between Oistrakh or Szeryng as far as these pieces are concerned, I definitely prefer the latter!
In mitigation, we have the fullest support possible from Reiner, although he stayed very much in the background, so much so that these pieces are full of life and music as though these small pieces are miniature symphonies. Believe it or not, great conductors are naturally great accompanists of the top notch...
Furthermore, we have some other pieces which are not Kreisler music, like Leclair and Gluck or even Locatelli, any one of these jems is worth the ticket itself!
If you are looking for an alternative for Kreisler, by all means check this out.

Verdi;Giuseppe Rigoletto
Verdi;Giuseppe Rigoletto
DVD ~ Leo Nucci
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 130.45
6 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Even Better than the one with young Pavarotti, Dec 16 2003
This review is from: Verdi;Giuseppe Rigoletto (DVD)
The singing here is good. So is the orchestra. The setting and acting too. The recorded sound and effect are all excellent. My only reservation is with Gilda. When she sings on her own, she is perfect. When she comes to two part or contrapuntal music, she is equally fine: but the the overall effect is not quite my cup of tea-- but that is of course only a matter of personal taste.
On the whole, the quality of this DVD is more modern and colourful and compact and as such, on the whole, even better than the one with young Pavarotti, save and except the part of Rigoletto.

Live From Miami [Import]
Live From Miami [Import]
VHS

4.0 out of 5 stars There is a Japanese DVD for this one, Dec 13 2003
This is filmed in exactly the same year of Pavarotti/Levine recital at Metropolitan Opera House. Here Domingo is accompanied by a full orchestra instead.
This maynot be as thrilling as Pavaraotti but Domingo's singing is more touching and his music more moving. Somehow, one gets the feeling that Pavarotti and Domingo each has a share of the powerful voice of Mario Lanza. With Domingo, we feel a better sense of rhythm and his singing sometimes even reminds us of Menuhin's violin music-- he is apparently closer to Caruso.
The two performances are of about the same duration: about 90 min. But in this one, we have a number of small orchestral pieces plus a soprano friend of Domingo who also sang a pieces or two of her own, and then two or three duets together with him, thus reducing the length of Domingo's performance significantly. What's more, the voices of them two don't seem to mix very well despite Domingo's well known capacity for accomodating partners.
However, fans of Domingo and lovers of opera music shouldn't miss this as Domingo's singing was as good as one could expect of any tenor.

Pno Sons K281/330/333
Pno Sons K281/330/333
Price: CDN$ 18.09
24 used & new from CDN$ 6.34

4.0 out of 5 stars A Short Reply, Dec 12 2003
This review is from: Pno Sons K281/330/333 (Audio CD)
Horowitz is unique in his Mozart especially so in his late age where he had reached serenity as well as sublimation. Needless to say,the recording here is superb. But other than Horowitz, I also invite the audience to compare him with the following as well:
HORSZOWSKI: he recorded a complete cycle of Mozart's sonatas and, unlike Horowitz, almost every sonata has a different character-- he was one of the many great pupils of Leschetizky ( Paderewsky was one, and Schnabel another) ; the chosen accompanist of Casals (generally known as the greatest cellist of the century), and, piano teacher of Parahia. He passed away in the 90s when he was around 100 years old leaving with us about half a dozen records with top quality sound including a few Mozart sonatas;

EDWIN FISCHER: his playing is divine. The more you listen to him, the more you'll discover. He happened to be the teacher of Alfred Brendel and Barenboim;
YUDINA: deedless to say, her pianism is not restricted to Mozart. She was almost on par with Sofronitky.
CLARA HASKIL: pure spontaneity coupled with absolute command of the keyboard plus immense musicianship;
GEZA ANDA: most well-rounded. He later turned into a conductor, and the recorded sound of his records are of top quality.
For the younger generation ( but they are not with us anymore now), FIRKUSNY or even ANNIE FISCHER. For the older generation DOHNANYI the conductor/composer: he is supreme, and he happened to be the teacher of Geza Anda amongst others.
For an alternative, one could turn to GULDA particularly his later years. He was the piano teacher of Martha Argerich and Abbado, the conductor of Berlin Philharmonic. Or else, SZELL the conductor himself.
There are quite a few others who are interesting enough... Those who haven't heard them could perhaps check them out and judge for themselves.

Magic Flute:Mozart:Drottningho
Magic Flute:Mozart:Drottningho
DVD ~ László Polgár
Offered by Sellavie Online Traders
Price: CDN$ 21.94
6 used & new from CDN$ 21.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply First Rate !, Dec 8 2003
Mozart was indeed a genius. He could hold our attention for two hours or more in one go like he did in this opera, leaving us almost breathless. Like Paul Simon's lyric which goes, "With my poetry to protect me...," here Mozart like hmself had his hero a magic flute to protect him, and likewise his attendent the birdcatcher...
The singing as a whole is not very powerful, save one or two solos by the Queen of the Night. Neither the prince nor the daughter of the Queen (nor the birdcatcher-- but he was entertaining enough ) is too impressing. But as a duet, the voices of them two mix very nicely and the balance is perfect, so are the trios, quartets or even sextets.
For the orchestra, there is no way that Levine will let you down, but one may nonetheless miss the refined strings of the Vienna Philharmonic when we come to Mozart. Some may even find the sudden lowering of the volume of the singing off-putting, otherwise it is as good as one could expect. The opera is full of fun, it's witty and above all very humourous. It's a very good start to begin with the classical operas especially for the children.
Last but not the least, credits should also be given to the settings and costumes: they are never extravagant, but they are very imaginative, evocative and most effective. As a result, the over all artistic effects are excellent.

Wks For Vln/Pno (Rm) (W/Bonus
Wks For Vln/Pno (Rm) (W/Bonus
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 29.95
3 used & new from CDN$ 18.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A sensation nonetheless, Dec 7 2003
Dependent upon what "mainstream" in the editorial review stands for - if that means Elman, Oistrakh, Perlman: the most selling violinists in the biggest market, Haendel is indeed off the mainstream. Otherwise, the more selling, the more they are off the mainstream instead, as most of the cases turn out to be.
But Haendel in this case did make it clear that she herself was not happy with the record. The causes? There are quite a number of them. Ashkenazy is a celebrity and he is selling. But is he the right partner for her for this repertiore? Could Eschenbach or even Zimmermann be a better choice? Would we have something quite different if this record comes out a decade or two ( or even three) earlier...?
In any event, not many of us are equally familiar with these pieces and so to many of us, they are fresh and appealing like nothing else. Haendel is still deservingly the Queen of the Violin, and hopefully Ashkensazy is as selling as ever.
Recommended for those who relish either Eastern Europe music or the drama and lyricism of Haendel's playing, or both.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-18