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Celil Parker "Jerry Parker" (région de l'Abitibi, QC)

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Vinyan (Bilingual) [Import]
Vinyan (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Emmanuelle Béart
Price: CDN$ 19.97
26 used & new from CDN$ 1.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Weird, Densely Beautiful, Disturbing French Film, but Not One for Placidly and Exclusively Mainstream Tastes, Feb. 7 2016
This review is from: Vinyan (Bilingual) [Import] (DVD)
C'mon, Amazonian-Canadians! We can do better than those prior two excessively brief comments about this interesting, mysterious, and visually rich motion picture. Alas, while one review, the two-liner, at least hinted at some enjoyment and appreciation of the film, the other, in three jagged lines, was so uncomprehending that one has to wonder why the viewer bothered.

Well, get this into the head: "Vinyan" is far from being the typical Hollywood, well-made, formulaic, and straightforward movie. (Many marvellous films have come, and continue to appear, from Hollywood, but they are not the kind of yardstick by which dunderheads write such dismissive reviews as what one finds for "Vinyan".) There is a narrative thread in this French motion picture (with a Brit, Rufus Sewell among the excellent cast), something that is lacking in many equally or more ambitions and wonderful avant-garde films. However, story (with extensive nudity in the telling) is not the point; psychology and nightmarish alternative, swarming jungle reality (feral jungle kids of the demonic spawn sort and all) definitely are.

Anyway, ignore the skimpy Canadian reviews and hone in on some of those for Amazon's U.K. and U.S. Websites. If one's liking is only-and-ever for films that are not straightforward and made as much to chew popcorn by than for attentive viewing, do not bother with "Vinyan" (the DVD edition watched being Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 304773). The lush scenery of South Asian rainforest and jungle set on jagged landscape) is very beautifully filmed and for some viewers might reason enough to see this film. Overall, "Vinyan" is a treat for the adventurous movie-lover.

Something Must Break
Something Must Break
Offered by Gray Fox Canada
Price: CDN$ 39.43
5 used & new from CDN$ 39.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Two Young Swedish Men, One Ambiguously Bisexual, the Other a Tranny, Meet, Carry on a Sexual Relationship, then Part Company, Jan. 14 2016
This review is from: Something Must Break (DVD)
This 2014 Swedish film presents the melancholy prospect of observing two men, Andreas, whose latent bisexuality is veering towards more homosexual attraction to men, at least to tranny Sebastian (a.k.a. "Ellie"), while Sebastian/Ellie him/herself gradually is drifting, over the summer's and early autumn's span of time, into increasingly greater assertion of a female identity (at least, more or less, queerly so). As their trajectories of sexual identity and desire meet, cross, and render asunder, one observes the desperation of Andreas to hold onto Ellie, while Sebastian/Ellie becomes ever more strongly, more defiantly and surely self-feminised.

The result is a break that Andreas does not want, but which Ellie needs to plunge fully into his/her new identity. Along the way, Ellie pries into Andreas' life and friendships, causing some strain which only furthers the lovers' alienation one from the other (not to mention, but it gets mention here anyway, embarrassment and difficulties for Andreas). There are some pleasant scenes of Sebastian and Andreas cavorting sexually, with some discreet full-frontal nudity, in various settings, urban/domestic, parklands, and nature.

The edition viewed, Network Releasing 7954293, is one obtained from Amazon-U.K., the DVD being in the PAL format. (There is a North American DVD edition available, formatted NTSC, as well, with similar features.). English subtitles are embedded, well displayed but not so prominently on the screen as to be unduly distracting, with the dialogue being in Swedish. The film is rather slow-moving, so it is not hard to stay apace with the dialogue via the subtitles. The only extra features are pretty minimal, namely, a trailer and a gallery of images.

Well filmed and enjoyable in a low-key, languorously elegiac sort of way.

Totally Fucked Up [Import allemand]
Totally Fucked Up [Import allemand]
Offered by TDiff
Price: CDN$ 81.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 69.87

3.0 out of 5 stars A Confusing Film, Until One Gets a Grip on the Narratives Unfolding within It, Jan. 9 2016
Although Gregg Araki is a film director and producer whose work in alternative (mostly gay-related) cinema I cherish, I really cannot say that "Totally F(uck)ed up", from 1993, is among my favourite films of his, whether as the first part of his "Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy", or amidst his wider body of work, or among the works of other directors and producers, either. The DVD edition viewed was a North American one (Peccadillo Pictures PPD-227). For all my quibbles, "Totally F(uck)ed up" does have its charms and a certain magic to it, if one be patient enough to untangle the strands, or at least some of them, that comprise the tangle of gay relationships unfurling within the film. They seem pretty much pell-mell, leaping back and forth from one thing to another.

For me, the most arresting to one's attention among the pairs of gay boyfriends and "hook-ups" in the film is that of Andy and Ian, played, respectively, by James Duval (looking quite different here as than he had as sweet but dopey character, Jordan White, in "The Doom Generation", part 2 of Araki's trilogy) and Alan Boyce. They are surely the best-looking young dudes in the movie, as well, and their gay relationship generates a lot of romantic and sexual heat, although there is little bare skin visible in their scenes together (and only two quick glimpses of full frontal male nudity in the entire film, so far as I noticed). Their love gives some temporary meaning to Andy's life. When Ian disappoints him and the two fail to connect by telephone at a critical moment when Andy, who has found little worth in living apart from this relationship, goes into deep anguish and commits suicide, the viewer really cares (or should do so) about the fate of these two young men. Fixing one's attention on their scenes (the most enjoyable and sexy in the film, anyway) can make some narrative sense of at least their parts of the movie, then, on reviewing, the rest, the action and the other characters, falls more easily into place.

I purchased "Totally F(uck)ed up" in order to complete the trilogy, of which this film is the least satisfactory segment. However, once I got my bearings in the confusing mish-mash of "Totally F(uck)ed up", I really did come to enjoy it.

Napoleon Dynamite (Sous-titres français)
Napoleon Dynamite (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Jon Heder
Price: CDN$ 5.00
74 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Peculiar and Funny Doings in the "Mormon Country" of Idaho, Jan. 8 2016
There already are more reviews of this delightful film on the various Amazon sites than anyone is likely to read all or most of. I'll just limit my contribution to comments about the movie to noting that I enjoy all the visual humour in this film, among its many other great ingredients.

I come from an Utah family on my mother's side and this film, set in Idaho, which is a single cultural entity, also highly L.D.S. Mormon, along with Utah itself; I admit gladly that some, maybe even many, Idaho folks, even some among those whom I know personally, disagree with that or resent that fact. There are lots of little clues that Napoleon and his family, and surely others in the cast of characters, are L.D.S. Mormons.

As for that amusing outdoor interracial wedding ceremony between Napoleon's older, very nerdy, pipsqueak brother, Kip, and very tall Lafawnduh, for those who wonder about the matter, one should realise that less than half of L.D.S. Mormon weddings take place in one of the L.D.S. Temples, so Kip's and Lafawnduh's is not surprising at all. My L.D.S. grandfather married twenty-two times (mostly in civil ceremonies in the days, before computerised records, when polygamists could be difficult to apprehend) and so far as I know, most or none of those times did he marry his mostly polygamous wives in the Temple; by his time, at any rate, polygamy was a "no-no" in the L.D.S. cult. Anyhow, grandpa was too much of a boozer to be able to obtain a "Temple recommend". Mormon bye-ways and folk culture do not necessarily comply with what many outsiders expect.

Among the funniest of the sly indicators of the Mormon culture underlying this comedy is one of Napoleon's t-shirts, which says "Ricks College" on it. Ha! Who even would want to identify so openly with that notoriously mediocre institution, which is on the low-brow end of Mormon education (B.Y.U. being at the high, VERY HIGH end)? Ricks College was a junior college, oriented towards business, education, and other middle-class quasi-professional or trade studies rather than at anything very intellectual or artistic soever. (However, Ricks has become an university in recent years.) So, wearing a t-shirt for Ricks is a sign of low aspirations.

Anyway, I love the movie. Westerners especially will enjoy it, but it is fun for all and sundry.

Catholic Subject Headings
Catholic Subject Headings
by Oliver Leonard Kapsner
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Seemingly Outdated, This Work Nevertheless Still Can Provide Considerable Help for Those with an Interest in Religious Studies, Aug. 29 2015
Most readers might wonder why a professional librarianship working tool like this list of subject headings could be of any interest or use to them. Well, it can be such if one has any interest in religious studies, Roman Catholic or otherwise. Lists of subject headings (or, to more limited extent, of descriptors) are a map of the grid of studies in any area. These subject headings, among other uses, can provide possible phrases to use in doing computer searches, or, in isolating key words within the subject headings, to use as descriptors for similar searches.

The complete U.S. Library of Congress subject headings list is an attempt to do this kind of thing for all aspects and areas of human knowledge; on that scale, obviously, such a work is by necessity sketchier than a list of subject headings, references, etc. would be for a particular subject, which a specialised list, such as "Catholic Subject Headings", can map out in greater detail than any list can do that for all of knowledge and human endeavour. While it is true that any edition inexorably dates quickly for how libraries and abstracting services apply specific headings, which can change terminology and other factors over time, any edition at all of something like "Catholic Subject Headings" remains a valid outline of the subject and potentially a great help for anyone who needs the right vocabulary for searching a religious subject without prior knowledge of appropriate scholarly terminology, whether in subject bibliographies, specialised dictionaries and cyclopaedias, indexing and abstracting services (in print or digital form) and within book indices. The same applies to online searching of most kinds. It is a good investment to acquire some edition of "Catholic Subject Headings", at least if the cost does not exceed sixty dollars or so.

This particular list of subject headings is not limited to matters specifically Roman Catholic. It applies to Christianity and religion generally. "Catholic Subject Headings" can aid any religious scholar, sometimes greatly, to organise his use of terminology, to get an overview of aspects large and small, and to have a grasp of to what religious studies amount. The cross-references, as well as the subject headings themselves, are very helpful in breaking out of any logjam that may block one's path through such studies by indicating alternative and parallel modes to approach similar subject matter and its terminology, by single words or in phrases, by means of the grid that together they provide.

So, in sum, this "Catholic Subject Headings", in any of its editions, is a work admittedly of limited usefulness. However, it also is one that can solve problems of a nature with which even dictionaries and encyclopaedias help in ways that are not always pertinent to a researcher's needs for the particular approach and terminology that a subject thesaurus like this subject lists lays out with such clarity.

Zabriskie Point by Warner Home Video
Zabriskie Point by Warner Home Video
DVD ~ Michelangelo Antonioni
Offered by JnP Store Canada
Price: CDN$ 37.72

5.0 out of 5 stars A Young Couple of the 1960s/1970s in the U. S. of A. Act on the Rebellious Spirit of That Age and the Lad Loses His Life for It, April 11 2015
I lived through (and took part in) the student activism and "alternative culture" of the 1960s and the dawn of the 1970s as a student myself (at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, in the same urban centre where actor Mark Frechette carried out his activism during that decade, and at the all-too-explosively alive Kent State University). I remember how we despised the acrid and shallow materialism of the prevailing culture of the U. S. of A. and how we longed to see it all blow up in the faces of that nation''s besotted leaders and of the easily deluded citzenry that kept on (and continues) voting them into office. That has happened, at last, with the implosion of the U.S. economy in the first decade of the 21st Century. It is a pity that this collapse, that makes an arrogant nation seethe with poverty and frustration thus doomed soon to powerlessness, did not occur sooner. Such timing would have limited the toll of victims of American power and greed to between the time of the film, 1970, and that of an earlier financial and militarily agonised doom.

Daria, seething with resentment for Mark's needless death (although his carelessness certainly brought it upon him), fantasises that the very symbol of the bourgeois fatuity of American callousness and vulgarity, i.e., the garishly opulent corporate facility (and/or mansion) set high in the desert surface, with joltingly sudden violent force explodes to smithereens (with visions of explosions of urban artificialty of many additional sorts added to this). That creates a breathtaking vision of justice come to a besotted and unworthy American culture of excess and greed.

I like the natural touch of the two leading actors using their real first names for their roles. Mark and Daria are the only truly natural humans in the film, doing what comes naturally to them, too, even if by thoughtless whimsy (e.g., Mark's theft of the aeroplane) at times, as well as by following their feelings to moving expression of what they experience at every moment, leads them, unafraid, to such natural sexuality and joyous revelry in each other, amidst the artificial constructs throughout the film, from which they stand aloof, of crazed student ideological excess, ruthless law enforcement, business and corporate cupidity, and so forth. Some of this may be naïve, and doubtlessly is, but it is such a relief to find these two young adults in this film who do not fall into the "cookie-cutter" patterns of American popular and corporate culture.

Alas, Mark in the film dies for daring what he does, from an insistence on following his impulses (for better and for worse) in unfettered freedom, which his society quickly crushes brutally and without immediate sufficient cause (i.e., for him having "borrowed" without permission the aeroplane which he is returning). Mark Frechette himself, whose performance in the role is so edgily convincing (and who was the gay lover of American-Québécois writer, Robert Dôle, also a young hippie during those years, before Antonioni filmed "Zabriskie Point", Dôle having departed by then to live in Québec) was a true counter-cultural rebel who lived out his convictions (none too wisely, but very intensely) and who died all too young for living out what he believed. As someone who was as radical and impulsive as the character Mark in the film, Mark Frechette, the handsome young actor whose career and very life ended so prematurely, was a real-life parallel (apart from the matter of Frechette's gay sexuality) in important aspects to what and whom he portrayed in this movie in which he appeared.

This is a wonderful film, redolent (of course!) of its era, but surprisingly relevant for the decades to follow and for present times of so much accumulated bitterness and of justice that too long has been delayed. A mere account of the film's action simply cannot convey the richness and untrammeled irony of what Antonioni accomplished thereby in this masterpiece of cinema.

I wish that the DVD edition that I acquired (or any other one) had included supplementary material and an appreciation of what Antonioni accomplished (but only if it were well done and worthy of him) but I also am simply pleased that this DVD is available at all, being a film, as it is, which does not flinch from judging the crassest kind of modernity that Southern California, Arizona, and the U. S. of A. as a whole, embody and have to represent to the entire world.

Zabriskie Point
Zabriskie Point
DVD ~ Mark Frechette
Offered by moviemars-canada
Price: CDN$ 10.90
4 used & new from CDN$ 10.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Consigning the Rotten, Decadent, and Greedily Corrupt Old Order of America to the Flames, April 11 2015
This review is from: Zabriskie Point (DVD)
I lived through (and took part in) the student activism and "alternative culture" of the 1960s and the dawn of the 1970s as a student myself (at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, in the same urban centre where actor Mark Frechette carried out his activism during that decade, and at the all-too-explosively alive Kent State University). I remember how we despised the acrid and shallow materialism of the prevailing culture of the U. S. of A. and how we longed to see it all blow up in the faces of that nation''s besotted leaders and of the easily deluded citzenry that kept on (and continues) voting them into office. That has happened, at last, with the implosion of the U.S. economy in the first decade of the 21st Century. It is a pity that this collapse, that makes an arrogant nation seethe with poverty and frustration thus doomed soon to powerlessness, did not occur sooner. Such timing would have limited the toll of victims of American power and greed to between the time of the film, 1970, and that of an earlier financial and militarily agonised doom.

Daria, seething with resentment for Mark's needless death (although his carelessness certainly brought it upon him), fantasises that the very symbol of the bourgeois fatuity of American callousness and vulgarity, i.e., the garishly opulent corporate facility (and/or mansion) set high in the desert surface, with joltingly sudden violent force explodes to smithereens (with visions of explosions of urban artificialty of many additional sorts added to this). That creates a breathtaking vision of justice come to a besotted and unworthy American culture of excess and greed.

I like the natural touch of the two leading actors using their real first names for their roles. Mark and Daria are the only truly natural humans in the film, doing what comes naturally to them, too, even if by thoughtless whimsy (e.g., Mark's theft of the aeroplane) at times, as well as by following their feelings to moving expression of what they experience at every moment, leads them, unafraid, to such natural sexuality and joyous revelry in each other, amidst the artificial constructs throughout the film, from which they stand aloof, of crazed student ideological excess, ruthless law enforcement, business and corporate cupidity, and so forth. Some of this may be naïve, and doubtlessly is, but it is such a relief to find these two young adults in this film who do not fall into the "cookie-cutter" patterns of American popular and corporate culture.

Alas, Mark in the film dies for daring what he does, from an insistence on following his impulses (for better and for worse) in unfettered freedom, which his society quickly crushes brutally and without immediate sufficient cause (i.e., for him having "borrowed" without permission the aeroplane which he is returning). Mark Frechette himself, whose performance in the role is so edgily convincing (and who was the gay lover of American-Québécois writer, Robert Dôle, also a young hippie during those years, before Antonioni filmed "Zabriskie Point", Dôle having departed by then to live in Québec) was a true counter-cultural rebel who lived out his convictions (none too wisely, but very intensely) and who died all too young for living out what he believed. As someone who was as radical and impulsive as the character Mark in the film, Mark Frechette, the handsome young actor whose career and very life ended so prematurely, was a real-life parallel (apart from the matter of Frechette's gay sexuality) in important aspects to what and whom he portrayed in this movie in which he appeared.

This is a wonderful film, redolent (of course!) of its era, but surprisingly relevant for the decades to follow and for present times of so much accumulated bitterness and of justice that too long has been delayed. A mere account of the film's action simply cannot convey the richness and untrammeled irony of what Antonioni accomplished thereby in this masterpiece of cinema.

I wish that the DVD edition that I acquired (or any other one) had included supplementary material and an appreciation of what Antonioni accomplished (but only if it were well done and worthy of him) but I also am simply pleased that this DVD is available at all, being a film, as it is, which does not flinch from judging the crassest kind of modernity that Southern California, Arizona, and the U. S. of A. as a whole, embody and have to represent to the entire world.

Zabriskie Point (Sous-titres français) [Import]
Zabriskie Point (Sous-titres français) [Import]
DVD ~ Mark Frechette
Price: CDN$ 26.55
17 used & new from CDN$ 18.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Two Kids of the 1960s/1970s Youth Culture Who Not Only Expouse but Also Live by the Ideals of the Time and of Their Generation, April 11 2015
I lived through (and took part in) the student activism and "alternative culture" of the 1960s and the dawn of the 1970s as a student myself (at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, in the same urban centre where actor Mark Frechette carried out his activism during that decade, and at the all-too-explosively alive Kent State University). I remember how we despised the acrid and shallow materialism of the prevailing culture of the U. S. of A. and how we longed to see it all blow up in the faces of that nation''s besotted leaders and of the easily deluded citzenry that kept on (and continues) voting them into office. That has happened, at last, with the implosion of the U.S. economy in the first decade of the 21st Century. It is a pity that this collapse, that makes an arrogant nation seethe with poverty and frustration thus doomed soon to powerlessness, did not occur sooner. Such timing would have limited the toll of victims of American power and greed to between the time of the film, 1970, and that of an earlier financial and militarily agonised doom.

Daria, seething with resentment for Mark's needless death (although his carelessness certainly brought it upon him), fantasises that the very symbol of the bourgeois fatuity of American callousness and vulgarity, i.e., the garishly opulent corporate facility (and/or mansion) set high in the desert surface, with joltingly sudden violent force explodes to smithereens (with visions of explosions of urban artificialty of many additional sorts added to this). That creates a breathtaking vision of justice come to a besotted and unworthy American culture of excess and greed.

I like the natural touch of the two leading actors using their real first names for their roles. Mark and Daria are the only truly natural humans in the film, doing what comes naturally to them, too, even if by thoughtless whimsy (e.g., Mark's theft of the aeroplane) at times, as well as by following their feelings to moving expression of what they experience at every moment, leads them, unafraid, to such natural sexuality and joyous revelry in each other, amidst the artificial constructs throughout the film, from which they stand aloof, of crazed student ideological excess, ruthless law enforcement, business and corporate cupidity, and so forth. Some of this may be naïve, and doubtlessly is, but it is such a relief to find these two young adults in this film who do not fall into the "cookie-cutter" patterns of American popular and corporate culture.

Alas, Mark in the film dies for daring what he does, from an insistence on following his impulses (for better and for worse) in unfettered freedom, which his society quickly crushes brutally and without immediate sufficient cause (i.e., for him having "borrowed" without permission the aeroplane which he is returning). Mark Frechette himself, whose performance in the role is so edgily convincing (and who was the gay lover of American-Québécois writer, Robert Dôle, also a young hippie during those years, before Antonioni filmed "Zabriskie Point", Dôle having departed by then to live in Québec) was a true counter-cultural rebel who lived out his convictions (none too wisely, but very intensely) and who died all too young for living out what he believed. As someone who was as radical and impulsive as the character Mark in the film, Mark Frechette, the handsome young actor whose career and very life ended so prematurely, was a real-life parallel (apart from the matter of Frechette's gay sexuality) in important aspects to what and whom he portrayed in this movie in which he appeared.

This is a wonderful film, redolent (of course!) of its era, but surprisingly relevant for the decades to follow and for present times of so much accumulated bitterness and of justice that too long has been delayed. A mere account of the film's action simply cannot convey the richness and untrammeled irony of what Antonioni accomplished thereby in this masterpiece of cinema.

I wish that the DVD edition that I acquired (or any other one) had included supplementary material and an appreciation of what Antonioni accomplished (but only if it were well done and worthy of him) but I also am simply pleased that this DVD is available at all, being a film, as it is, which does not flinch from judging the crassest kind of modernity that Southern California, Arizona, and the U. S. of A. as a whole, embody and have to represent to the entire world.

Brahms: Symphonies - 3 CD Set for the price of 2
Brahms: Symphonies - 3 CD Set for the price of 2
Offered by Gray Fox Canada
Price: CDN$ 72.42
6 used & new from CDN$ 46.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ah-h-h, Brahms' Own Arrangement for Orchestra of His "Liebeslieder" Waltzes -- Oh, Yes, Also His Symphonies and Much Else, Aug. 26 2014
I have longed, for many years, to find a CD of Johannes Brahms' own orchestral arrangement for orchestra of excerpts (to perform with or, better, without voices) from his two sets of the "Liebeslieder" waltzes. Here is one, at last! For most buyers, the presence of these waltzes as "fillers" on a complete set of the composer's symphonies would be a mere detail. For me, those waltzes are the very reason to obtain this set of the symphonies and various other music for, or arranged for, orchestra.

These dances work somewhat better as Brahms arranged them instrumentally for piano duo, but they delight best of all as recast for orchestra (without the option of having voices to sing along). Decades ago, Boyd Neel made an LP disc that included these waltzes. I kept it for many years, indeed, still have it somewhere lost in my basement.

Never have I heard any vocal recording of these waltzes that really satisfies me, although, strangely enough, some choral performances of these dances tend to fare better than renditions by solo classical vocalists do so. The singing, on any of the recordings, just is too heavy-going, with viscous textures resulting which are unsuited to these fluffy and utterly beguiling dance melodies. The almost disconcertingly light and airy textures of the orchestration which Brahms himself provided as this particular option for instrumental performance would seem to point to the advisability of rendering these waltzes with something less than rotundly galumphing overemphasis. If they are to be sung, what really is required is fine voices of quite another kind than of the usual operatic heavy artillery, but rather of impeccable musicianship, yes, but of non-classical timbre and of less density as well. How about, for a celestial "would-be" recording, on featuring genuinely idiomatic operetta vocalists, as one alternative. Another would be with performers from the folk-revival or popular (even county-western) idioms. Such (trans-generational) vocal pop luminaries as Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, or Joan Baez, to take the upper female part, and like Roy Orbison, Ricky Skaggs, or Chris Isaac as tenor, could participate, and so it would go up and down the vocal registers of the vocal quartet's four voices, entailing vocalists who could sing the music just as Brahms himself composed it, but without the glutinous and cloying texture of the classically-formed voices which one hears in previous recordings of the work. Whether together they would attempt to sing in German or would resort to singing in English translation would leave me relatively indifferent. Such a line-up of vocalists together at one time, of course, only is going to happen "up there" in the Heavenly Realms, with Brahms himself looking on, listening with an appreciative smile.

Short of that, give me the composer's orchestral arrangements of some of those waltzes! Well, Riccardo Chailly now, and no longer perhaps only Boyd Neel so long ago, have done that. Goody! As for Brahms' four symphonies, I'll keep on listening to van Beinum's, Walter's, and Jochum's recordings conducting them, but this set will remain there on my shelves and in my CD player for the sake primarily (but not only) of these lovely waltzes!

Riccardo Chailly, too, is among the conductors whose work these days I savour, so I'll give a listen now and then, as well, to the rest of his Brahms orchestral CD set (even if Chailly's tempi and approach in some of Brahms' works on the set seem unnervingly peculiar in places), all the more since it is the Gewandhaus orchestra which Chailly conducts, the reputation of which had become more illustrious than ever in the early LP era under the direction of the great Franz Konwitschny, of blessèd memory. That ensemble remains one of the world's finest orchestras anywhere. Chailly is one of the few conductors nowadays worthy to lead such an exceptionally fine aggregate of musicians.

Brahms: Complete Symphonies (3 CD)
Brahms: Complete Symphonies (3 CD)
Price: CDN$ 39.99
27 used & new from CDN$ 24.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Ah-h-h! Those Infectiously Charming Waltzes, at Last, among the "Extras" of This Set of Brahms' Symphonies, Aug. 24 2014
I have longed, for many years, to find a CD of Johannes Brahms' own orchestral arrangement for orchestra of excerpts from his two sets of the "Liebeslieder" waltzes. Here is one, at last! For most buyers, the presence of these waltzes as "fillers" on a complete set of the composer's symphonies would be a mere detail. For me, those waltzes are the very reason to obtain this set of the symphonies and various other music for, or arranged for, orchestra.

These dances work somewhat better as Brahms arranged them instrumentally for piano duo, but they delight best of all as recast for orchestra. Decades ago, Boyd Neel made an LP disc that included these waltzes. I kept it for many years, indeed, still have it somewhere lost in my basement.

Never have I heard any vocal recording of these waltzes that really satisfies me, although, strangely enough, some choral performances of these dances tend to fare better than renditions by solo classical vocalists do so. The singing, on any of the recordings, just is too heavy-going, with viscous textures resulting which are unsuited to these fluffy and utterly beguiling dance melodies. If they are to be sung, what really is required is fine voices of another kind, of impeccable musicianship but of non-classical timbre and of less density. How about, for a celestial "would-be" recording, on featuring genuinely idiomatic operetta vocalists, as one alternative. Another would be with performers from the folk-revival or popular (even county-western) idioms. Such (trans-generational) vocal pop luminaries as Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, or Joan Baez, to take the upper female part, and like Roy Orbison, Ricky Skaggs, or Chris Isaac as tenor, could participate, and so it would go up and down the vocal registers of the vocal quartet's four voices, entailing vocalists who could sing the music just as Brahms himself composed it, but without the glutinous and cloying texture of the classically-formed voices which one hears in previous recordings of the work. Whether together they would attempt to sing in German or would resort to singing in English translation would leave me relatively indifferent. Such a line-up of vocalists together at one time, of course, only is going to happen "up there" in the Heavenly Realms, with Brahms himself looking on, listening with an appreciative smile.

Short of that, give me the composer's orchestral arrangements of some of those waltzes! Well, Riccardo Chailly now, and no longer perhaps only Boyd Neel so long ago, have done that. Goody! As for Brahms' four symphonies, which numerous reviews on Amazon's WWW U.S. and other national sites cover so well that I shall pass over reviewing Chailly's performances of them, frankly, they were not a significant motivation that entered into my decision to purchase this set of CDs, so I'll just leave that matter at saying that I shall keep on listening to van Beinum's, Walter's, and Jochum's recordings conducting those four works, but that Chailly's set will remain there on my shelves and in my CD player for the sake primarily (but not only) of these lovely waltzes!

Riccardo Chailly, too, is among the conductors whose work these days I savour, so I'll give a listen now and then, as well, to the rest of his Brahms orchestral CD set, all the more since it is the Gewandhaus orchestra which Chailly conducts, the reputation of which had become more illustrious than ever in the early LP era under the direction of the great Franz Konwitschny, of blessèd memory. That ensemble remains one of the world's finest orchestras anywhere. Chailly is one of the few conductors nowadays worthy to lead such an exceptionally fine aggregate of musicians.

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