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Reviews Written by
Gerald Parker "Gerald Parker" (Rouyn-Noranda, QC., Dominion of Canada)
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Beethoven: 9 Symphonies (6 CD)
Beethoven: 9 Symphonies (6 CD)
Price: CDN$ 40.99
45 used & new from CDN$ 29.19

3.0 out of 5 stars Very Inadequate Digital Reissue of Karl Boehm's Memorable Analogue Recordings of Beethoven's Symphonies, April 22 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am exceedingly disappointed with the sound quality of this reissue, despite all the encomia that others lavish upon it. (This review, by the way, is an expansion of the comments that I had made upon another review of this CD set.) The violins sound glassy and tinny, the bass instruments and percussion woozy, smeared, and lumpily lacking in both clarity and impact. My memory, albeit growing dim, is that the LPs of these recordings sounded considerably warmer and more detailed. Maybe someday I'll be able to do a side-by-side LP to CD comparison of how Boehm's recordings of these symphonies sound. For now, I would say that Boehm deserves better than this as heard digitally, even if he is not quite among the very top-listed of my favourite conductors in this repertory.

There is so much of the orchestration that one can barely hear, or not at all, due to this sonic muddiness. If the listener thinks that he hears all that is going on within the orchestra in this edition of Boehm's Beethoven symphonies (Deutsche Grammophon 479-1949, on six CDs, in the series "Collectors Edition"), he could compare, as an example of something sonically better, Sony's superb digital restoration of Leonard Bernstein's even older analogue recordings of these works, from the mid-1960s (Sony Classical 88697683912, now available, as reissued, as a set of six CDs). Truly, someone with the requisite keen ear and proper musical training could take down into notation the music as heard, and all of it would be there in score form, on listening to Bernstein's recording. That would be impossible on the basis of Boehm's recording as processed in this D.G.G. digital reissue. Under Bernstein's direction of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the impact and sheer presence of the double basses, 'celli, and percussion is powerful and utterly, transparently clear, too, which is the case for the entire orchestra.

On Boehm's Vienna recording, by contrast, one only hears a sort of generalised, muffled, and murky rumble from the bass and percussion instruments, even from instruments of mid-range that fill out the orchestration. Beethoven's ingenious and inventive part-writing goes for nought when it sinks into the sonic sludge that prevails in so much of Boehm's recording as processed in this reissue, surely as much or more due to the engineering as to any massive lack of mindfulness on the conductor's part. Thankfully, the Vienna Philharmonic's fabulous woodwind section comes out clearly and sweetly, much better than how the orchestra's famously gorgeous string sections and percussion register as heard in this flawed reissue.

In Bernstein's N.Y.P.O. recordings, all of the musical part-writing, the filigree and flourishes, as well, of course, as the most blazing outbursts, is there in all of its wondrous inventiveness, easily discernible and delightful to listen to. If one wishes above all to hear what is in the music itself, quite apart from matters of interpretation thereof, it is better to acquire a recording like Bernstein's or one of numerous others which present it with considerably more vivid presence than what Deutsche Grammophon has to offer in the current reissue of Boehm leading these works. Either that, or stick with the best of the earlier LP or audiocassette editions of his recorded Vienna performances which, at the very least, are not lilkely to be any worse than these digitisations..

Partly the difference between these CD sets is due to Bernstein's incredible instinct and extraordinarily apt ability to gauge orchestral balances, but partly it also it is due to C.B.S.' (Columbia Records') excellent engineering (the latter, now available on CD through Sony's reissue of those recordings). This is something that is woefully lacking in the digitised edition of Boehm's originally analogue recordings being reviewed here briefly. This reissue of Boehm's recordings of the works could serve, conceivably, as a sonic sketch of what the conductor intended, but one that is sorrily lacking in the details of the music as he conducted it as one hears it in this inadequate digital reissue.

The Money GPS: Guiding You Through An Uncertain Economy by David Quintieri (2012-01-10)
The Money GPS: Guiding You Through An Uncertain Economy by David Quintieri (2012-01-10)
4 used & new from CDN$ 59.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Bad Times ahead, so the Average Dude or Gal Needs to Exercise Prudence and Caution, Aware of What Is About to Occur, April 19 2016
I watch David Quintieri's YouTube broadcasts, "The Money G.P.S." faithfully; they appear almost daily. David's advice is sensible and pertinent, attempting to guide consumers and investors through the "Rocks and Shoals" of the current disastrous downturn, which, as he emphasises with prudence but not dismally, inevitably will lead to a tremendous crash. The main aim of David Quintieri's fellow Canadians, and of Americans perhaps even more so, is simply to survive the looming disaster. Quintieri offers advice on how to make the most of a bad situation throughout the "Western world" and, foremost, to get out from all indebtedness and to guard what wealth that one has from very substantial or even total loss.

The book is simple to understand, without being simplistic. The inclusion of an index would have been helpful, but the book is rather brief and quite well organised, so that it is relatively easy to negotiate one's way around in it even in the absence of such a feature. The author's English usage is dodgy at times, another reason to withhold a full five-stars rating to a book that would have profited from some further and better polishing than Quintieri's copy editor, Jim Stewart, and proofreading service, J.M.S. Educational Services (with which Stewart has been allied, that bears his initials, and alike is mentioned on the verso of the title page) would seem to be able to provide adequately enough.

The information and advice in this cautionary and practical book is NOT about "business as usual". It concerns, rather, how to proceed and to reason in times when, in the face of massive lying and statistical falsification from the U.S., U.K., and other governments, utter financial and other ruin is what is looming over Canada, the improvident and irresponsible Ignited State of 'Oink' (i.e., the U. S. of A.), Japan, the U.K., and over the European Union.

The Money GPS: Guiding You Through An Uncertain Economy by Quintieri, David (2012) Paperback
The Money GPS: Guiding You Through An Uncertain Economy by Quintieri, David (2012) Paperback
by David Quintieri
Edition: Paperback
5 used & new from CDN$ 49.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Treading Water, or Swimming through, the Turbulent Waters of a Looming and Very Severe Economic Depression Just Ahead, April 17 2016
I watch David Quintieri's YouTube broadcasts, "The Money G.P.S." faithfully; they appear almost daily. David's advice is sensible and pertinent, attempting to guide consumers and investors through the "Rocks and Shoals" of the current disastrous downturn, which, as he emphasises with prudence but not dismally, inevitably will lead to a tremendous crash. The main aim of David Quintieri's fellow Canadians, and of Americans perhaps even more so, is simply to survive the looming disaster. Quintieri offers advice on how to make the most of a bad situation throughout the "Western world" and, foremost, to get out from all indebtedness and to guard what wealth that one has from very substantial or even total loss.

The book is simple to understand, without being simplistic. The inclusion of an index would have been helpful, but the book is rather brief and quite well organised, so that it is relatively easy to negotiate one's way around in it even in the absence of such a feature. The author's English usage is dodgy at times, another reason to withhold a full five-stars rating to a book that would have profited from some further and better polishing than Quintieri's copy editor, Jim Stewart, and proofreading service, J.M.S. Educational Services (with which Stewart has been allied, that bears his initials, and alike is mentioned on the verso of the title page) would seem to be able to provide adequately enough.

The information and advice in this cautionary and practical book is NOT about "business as usual". It concerns, rather, how to proceed and to reason in times when, in the face of massive lying and statistical falsification from the U.S., U.K., and other governments, utter financial and other ruin is what is looming over Canada, the improvident and irresponsible Ignited State of 'Oink' (i.e., the U. S. of A.), Japan, the U.K., and over the European Union.

By David Quintieri - The Money GPS: Guiding You Through An Uncertain Economy
By David Quintieri - The Money GPS: Guiding You Through An Uncertain Economy
by David Quintieri
Edition: Paperback
9 used & new from CDN$ 58.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Navigating One's Way through an Economy on the Verge of Collapse and of Looming Depression, April 17 2016
I watch David Quintieri's YouTube broadcasts, "The Money G.P.S." faithfully; they appear almost daily. David's advice is sensible and pertinent, attempting to guide consumers and investors through the "Rocks and Shoals" of the current disastrous downturn, which, as he emphasises with prudence but not dismally, inevitably will lead to a tremendous crash. The main aim of David Quintieri's fellow Canadians, and of Americans perhaps even more so, is simply to survive the looming disaster. Quintieri offers advice on how to make the most of a bad situation throughout the "Western world" and, foremost, to get out from all indebtedness and to guard what wealth that one has from very substantial or even total loss.

The book is simple to understand, without being simplistic. The inclusion of an index would have been helpful, but the book is rather brief and quite well organised, so that it is relatively easy to negotiate one's way around in it even in the absence of such a feature. The author's English usage is dodgy at times, another reason to withhold a full five-stars rating to a book that would have profited from some further and better polishing than Quintieri's copy editor, Jim Stewart, and proofreading service, J.M.S. Educational Services (with which Stewart has been allied, that bears his initials, and alike is mentioned on the verso of the title page) would seem to be able to provide adequately enough.

The information and advice in this cautionary and practical book is NOT about "business as usual". It concerns, rather, how to proceed and to reason in times when, in the face of massive lying and statistical falsification from the U.S., U.K., and other governments, utter financial and other ruin is what is looming over Canada, the improvident and irresponsible Ignited State of 'Oink' (i.e., the U. S. of A.), Japan, the U.K., and over the European Union.

The Money GPS: Guiding You Through An Uncertain Economy
The Money GPS: Guiding You Through An Uncertain Economy
by David Quintieri
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.32
19 used & new from CDN$ 17.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Financial Advice for Ever-Increasingly Bad Times!, April 11 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I watch David Quintieri's YouTube broadcasts, "The Money G.P.S." faithfully; they appear almost daily. David's advice is sensible and pertinent, attempting to guide consumers and investors through the "Rocks and Shoals" of the current disastrous downturn, which, as he emphasises with prudence but not dismally, inevitably will lead to a tremendous crash. The main aim of David Quintieri's fellow Canadians, and of Americans perhaps even more so, is simply to survive the looming disaster. Quintieri offers advice on how to make the most of a bad situation throughout the "Western world" and, foremost, to get out from all indebtedness and to guard what wealth that one has from very substantial or even total loss.

The book is simple to understand, without being simplistic. The inclusion of an index would have been helpful, but the book is rather brief and quite well organised, so that it is relatively easy to negotiate one's way around in it even in the absence of such a feature. The author's English usage is dodgy at times, another reason to withhold a full five-stars rating to a book that would have profited from some further and better polishing than Quintieri's copy editor, Jim Stewart, and proofreading service, J.M.S. Educational Services (with which Stewart has been allied, that bears his initials, and alike is mentioned on the verso of the title page) would seem to be able to provide adequately enough.

The information and advice in this cautionary and practical book is NOT about "business as usual". It concerns, rather, how to proceed and to reason in times when, in the face of massive lying and statistical falsification from the U.S., U.K., and other governments, utter financial and other ruin is what is looming over Canada, the improvident and irresponsible Ignited State of 'Oink' (i.e., the U. S. of A.), Japan, the U.K., and over the European Union.

In His Own Words (DVD)
In His Own Words (DVD)
DVD ~ Frank Zappa
Price: CDN$ 25.99
17 used & new from CDN$ 12.71

3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Interesting Words and Poses, but Very Little Documentary Details about the Origins of These Interviews, March 23 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: In His Own Words (DVD) (DVD)
I quite heartily enjoyed this DVD, of 106 minutes of material taken from broadcasts over the years, covering the mind, thought, and off-the-cuff discourse of the great Frank Zappa. His unflappability, calm good spirits (after all, he was getting paid for these gigs and maybe that was sufficient for this very practical-minded man), and ability to make the most of questions, however banal, provide a pleasant evening with the boob-tube used for video playback rather than for current televised drivel and (so far as mainstream tele-journalism is concerned) assorted socio-political and economic deceptions. The DVD edition viewed is I.V. Media IVF-068.

This is by no means a "documentary", per se; it is, instead, a loosely assembled compilation. It would have helped to present the video material chronologically, displaying, as a bare minimum, the year of each portion (which even this minimal information the DVD omits!) rather than in so hodgepodge a fashion, leaping, as it does, back-and-forth over the years of Zappa's career in which this footage came to exist. Concerning details of the documentation on view, there is none of that kind of thing on offer, not even so much, as already mentioned, the date of the material for viewing, as "Frank Zappa in His Own Words" drifts along from one interview to another. One has to pick out such clues as happenings to which the speakers refer, fashion trends obviously on display, and so forth as the video progresses, plus, of course, whatever alike American and international TV lore that one might be familiar with (e.g., who hosted which programmes when). At least the informed Zappa fan, obviously, would have some rough idea of at what age Zappa appears to be at any particular time. Since Zappa retained youthful looks longer than most men are lucky enough thus to age, so even that last-mentioned bit of guesswork is not always easily accomplished, apart from clues from the length, volume and grooming of hair and moustache that Zappa cultivated at various phases of his life. The container flap merely describes the contents as being a "DVD [that] collects together over 90 minutes of video interviews and talking engagements with or undertaken by Zappa his career."

Therefore, those who enjoy Frank Zappa's music, or at least some of what there is among its amazing variety, just sit back and enjoy the informative chats about it. The audio was decent enough to facilitate doing just that even in my seventies, when my hearing is deteriorating, I am able to make out almost everything that is spoken; more than that really is not required for a video that is all words about Zappa's music and none of it there to hear.

Appartenir Au Destin
Appartenir Au Destin
Offered by Musique du Faubourg
Price: CDN$ 8.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 8.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Discovery of a Talent That Bears Further Watching, Feb. 9 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Appartenir Au Destin (Audio CD)
This is a very pleasant CD to discover. Jonathan Mercier (not to confuse with the famous Swiss hockey player of the same name) was in 2007, the year of the copyright statement for "Appartenir au destin", a young and quite handsome (in the cute/macho sort of way) French-Canadian pop singer, presumably Québecois, of a tenorish, pleasing voice and good musicianship. The pleasant music of the songs, gratefully unpretentious and of solid melodic quality, is of his own composition and in some cases he wrote or co-wrote the words (in French) also.

Jonathan Mercier bears watching, if his musical career really still be an active one; his blog rather appears to be rather inactive (or perhaps simply one that is too undeveloped). New, sealed copies of "Appartenir au destin" still are available from Amazon-Canada at the time of writing this review, early 2016. If ever a music video of him comes my way, for sure I shall view it. I like Mercier enough to have placed, at least for now, a poster of him (the same image on the front packaging of the CD) on a wall in my home. An enjoyable release his CD surely is.

Leningrad Symphony
Leningrad Symphony
Offered by USA CD SELLER
Price: CDN$ 33.46
10 used & new from CDN$ 3.62

2.0 out of 5 stars Hideously Ugly, Brutal Performance, in Turgic Sound, of a Symphony That Requires More Loving Understanding, Jan. 28 2016
This review is from: Leningrad Symphony (Audio CD)
Some recordings have historical importance as curios due to circumstances of various kinds that do not necessarily carry much specifically musical value, given the product that resulted. That is the case with this dreadful racket of a misperformance of Shostakovich's Seventh ("Leningrad") Symphony. I sure have vivid memories of the transition from knowing the work in this, William Steinberg's pioneering but utterly banal 78 r.p.m. record set and Leonard Bernstein's revelatory recording with the N.Y.P.O. As 19-years-old sailor in 1963, another dude, a grubby, pimply, odourous, and obnoxious fellow sailor, had that bulky Steinberg 78s set (long after it was "cool" to play discs of that older format a decade and an half after the advent of 33.3 rpm. and 45 rpm. microgroove discs, the more so for a performance so mediocre and of quality so blaring and blasting, like an hydroelectric dam being dynamited in "low fidelity"!) and he played the set over and over and over again in the barracks. Everybody (most of us, in our common situation, were musically inclined and trained) just came to detest the work. Steinberg and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra seemed to do everything to emphasise all the worst in this symphony: utter, noisy bombast and claptrap.

Years later someone insisted that I reacquaint myself with the Seventh. I suspect that Seinberg, so hopelessly Germanic in musical termperament, just was not the right man to conduct this very Slavic work, however ardently Shostakovich echoed his own anti-Nazi zeal and portrayed his adoptive countrymen's wartime joint national effort in harness with the U.S.S.R. (and, of course, Britain and its Empire). His Allied-patriotism in doing so makes the work to sound, in part rather ironically (and a lot, indeed too much, of the time), like Nazi military music of the most aggreesive kind that people tend to imagine (real German military music being, actually, surprisingly fine musical stuff). The tubby sonics of the 1945 recording of such a tub-thumping performance did not help at all, in a work that needed more vivid sound recording quality than what the Musicraft label (the original company that put out those ghastly 78s) could provide, something which the R.C.A. sound engineers for Koussevitzky's or the European team behind Mengelberg's late recordings of the same years could have managed, but not Musicraft's team. I got the Bernstein recording of this symphony, heard it, entirely amazed (and pleased with the music). Now the work sounded like the masterpiece of emotion, sensibility, and epic structure that it is.

Seldom have I had such a transformation of the estimation of any musical work as that. When and if I get around to hearing Vasily Petrenko's and some other conductors lead this music in more recent recordings, it is likely to remain Leonard Bernstein's N.Y.PO. bout with the Leningrad Symphony who will be the measure of success in knowing whether the young men grasp just to what this music can amount. Before buying this CD reissue of William Steinberg and his symphonic buffalos savagely stampede Shostakovich, sample it on YouTube. Stand forewarned!

Symphony 7
Symphony 7
Offered by langton_distribution
Price: CDN$ 42.78
7 used & new from CDN$ 42.78

2.0 out of 5 stars Like Armies of Mega-Belching Brutes During the Thunderous Collapse of an Hydroelectric Dam, and in "Low Fidelity", at That!, Jan. 28 2016
This review is from: Symphony 7 (Audio CD)
Some recordings have historical importance as curios due to circumstances of various kinds that do not necessarily carry much specifically musical value, given the product that resulted. That is the case with this dreadful racket of a misperformance of Shostakovich's Seventh ("Leningrad") Symphony. I sure have vivid memories of the transition from knowing the work in this, William Steinberg's pioneering but utterly banal 78 r.p.m. record set and Leonard Bernstein's revelatory recording with the N.Y.P.O. As 19-years-old sailor in 1963, another dude, a grubby, pimply, odourous, and obnoxious fellow sailor, had that bulky Steinberg 78s set (long after it was "cool" to play discs of that older format a decade and an half after the advent of 33.3 rpm. and 45 rpm. microgroove discs, the more so for a performance so mediocre and of quality so blaring and blasting, like an hydroelectric dam being dynamited in "low fidelity"!) and he played the set over and over and over again in the barracks. Everybody (most of us, in our common situation, were musically inclined and trained) just came to detest the work. Steinberg and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra seemed to do everything to emphasise all the worst in this symphony: utter, noisy bombast and claptrap.

Years later someone insisted that I reacquaint myself with the Seventh. I suspect that Seinberg, so hopelessly Germanic in musical termperament, just was not the right man to conduct this very Slavic work, however ardently Shostakovich echoed his own anti-Nazi zeal and portrayed his adoptive countrymen's wartime joint national effort in harness with the U.S.S.R. (and, of course, Britain and its Empire). His Allied-patriotism in doing so makes the work to sound, in part rather ironically (and a lot, indeed too much, of the time), like Nazi military music of the most aggreesive kind that people tend to imagine (real German military music being, actually, surprisingly fine musical stuff). The tubby sonics of the 1945 recording of such a tub-thumping performance did not help at all, in a work that needed more vivid sound recording quality than what the Musicraft label (the original company that put out those ghastly 78s) could provide, something which the R.C.A. sound engineers for Koussevitzky's or the European team behind Mengelberg's late recordings of the same years could have managed, but not Musicraft's team. I got the Bernstein recording of this symphony, heard it, entirely amazed (and pleased with the music). Now the work sounded like the masterpiece of emotion, sensibility, and epic structure that it is.

Seldom have I had such a transformation of the estimation of any musical work as that. When and if I get around to hearing Vasily Petrenko's and some other conductors lead this music in more recent recordings, it is likely to remain Leonard Bernstein's N.Y.PO. bout with the Leningrad Symphony who will be the measure of success in knowing whether the young men grasp just to what this music can amount. Before buying this CD reissue of William Steinberg and his symphonic buffalos savagely stampede Shostakovich, sample it on YouTube. Stand forewarned!

Brotherhood of Justice [Import]
Brotherhood of Justice [Import]
DVD ~ Keanu Reeves
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 42.17
14 used & new from CDN$ 1.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Keanu Reeves in the Flush of Youthful Beauty and Charm, in a 1980s Teen Drama Well Produced and Still Worth Viewing, Dec 28 2015
"Brotherhood of Justice" has been noted for some star billing among its cast and with good reason: it features two celebrities, Kiefer Sutherland and, more significantly, Keanu Reeves, the latter of whom is an actor who has attained major star status, together in the cast in one of one of Keanu's earliest movies. This "made-for-television" movie is about some high-school football jocks who decide to form a vigilante brigade to maintain good order and to reduce vandalism on their school's campus. This film is one put out on a relatively low-budget but which is fully professionally produced and carefully edited. Among other good things, the film image quality beautifully conveys the lovely natural and suburban scenery of Northern California. Obviously, teens are too young and immature for the kind of social intervention which they attempt, which, unsurprisingly, turns out badly, and which is the kind of thing that often goes awry even when adults get involved in such antics.

Keanu Reeves turned twenty-two in 1986, the year of release for "Brotherhood of Justice", but he looks very much the adolescent, so fresh-faced, beautifully boyish, and utterly nubile and appealing, as, indeed, he would continue to look for about another decade of his life, well into, chronologically, handsome early middle-age. The casting, of Keanu Reeves, Kiefer Sutherland, and of the other young actors, works well since the film's script does not probe depths of emotion, motivation, or of psychology which in any way would overtax the skills of young actors beginning to make their way in cinema. Overall, "Brotherhood of Justice" makes for enjoyable viewing, whether only once or, on DVD, more frequently than that.

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