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Reviews Written by
J. Komar

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William Christie & Les Arts Fl
William Christie & Les Arts Fl
Price: CDN$ 52.99
4 used & new from CDN$ 50.88

2.0 out of 5 stars SUBSTANDARD PACKAGING, Feb. 6 2013
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Musically, these are impeccable performances under the direction of a consummate artist, William Christie. But this is vocal music. If the words are important enough to be set to music, they are important enough to be understood by the listener. This is not possible with this album unless the listner already knows the vocal texts from memory, as no vocal texts are provided. And, in my opinion, this amounts to gross deception on the part of ERATO, as I already own the Charpentier CD(part of this album), published previousy with sung texts; thus I assumed that surely the sung texts would be provided for all six of the CDs in this album of reissues.

I am amazed that an artist of the calibre of William Christie would permit his work to fall victim to ERATO's profit margin. But I am not surprised, as this is just another example of the present craze to maximize profit at the expense of the consumer. I doubt my dismay is shared by the CEO of ERATO, or something would be done to eliminate thid deplorable practice. My recommendation? Do not buy this album unless you are fond of being victimized. I will never purchase another ERATO vocal album unless it is absolutely clear that it contains vocal texts.

PS: The booklet accompanying this album contains merely the track listings for the contents. And it is filled with advertisements for other ERATO albums. How gross can you get?

Pilate in Terra Pax Golgotha
Pilate in Terra Pax Golgotha
Price: CDN$ 53.74
18 used & new from CDN$ 30.81

2.0 out of 5 stars DECEPTIVE PACKAGING, Feb. 4 2013
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4 Feb 2013: This is vocal music. If the words are important enough to be set to music, they are important enough to be understood by the listner. And that is not possible with this album, as it comes without vocal texts. As it is, I was compelled to listen to this album as purely instrumental music, having absolutely no idea what the words meant. It is a bit like watching a movie with a poor soundtrack, where you cannot understand the spoken dialog: you end up watching it as a silent moview, trying to make sense of it from the visual image alone.

Do not buy this album unless you have access to the sung texts from another source. This is definitely unacceptable packaging. And it is about time that professional reviewers began pressuring manufacturers to raise industry standards- James Komar

Incidental Music (Schauspielmu
Incidental Music (Schauspielmu
Price: CDN$ 23.61
25 used & new from CDN$ 18.30

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SUBSTANDARD PACKAGING, Feb. 1 2013
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1 FEB 2013:

If you enjoy listening to opera as instrumental, rather than vocal, music, you will love this album; for no sung texts are provided for the vocal selections. This is a pity, as the instrumental performances are excellent. Unfortunately, most of today's professional reviewers of CD offerings do the public a disservice by neglecting to mention the absence of vocal texts or a libretto for vocal music.

Since this item was entitled "Incidental Music," I made the mistake of assuming that it was purely instrumental; or I would not have purchased it. Unless you enjoy being frustrated, or know the vocal texts from memory, I do not recommend that you purchase this album. - James Komar

Poulenc: Integrale
Poulenc: Integrale
Price: CDN$ 51.02
27 used & new from CDN$ 32.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GREAT COLLECTION; POOR PACKAGING AS USUAL!, Nov. 16 2012
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This review is from: Poulenc: Integrale (Audio CD)
As usual, EMI disappoints, but does not surprise, in its presentation of vocal music. Five of the twenty discs are vocal compositions, and additional vocal music is scattered throughout the collection. If the words are important enough to set to music, they are important enough to be understood. Yet, as usual, EMI has not provided digital or hard-copy documentation of the sung texts.

This collection is a great addition to my library. However, considering that the collection is mostly a repackaging of previously released material, on which EMI has already made a profit, I find the omission of sung texts unacceptable. I purchased this collection as it is the only complete collection that I could find, and I love the music of Francis Poulenc. But I am not inclined to purchase another EMI collection containing vocal music unless EMI starts to include sung texts in printed or digital format.

Boccherini Cello Concertos, Symphonies and Solo Works
Boccherini Cello Concertos, Symphonies and Solo Works
5 used & new from CDN$ 58.89

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Geart Performances; Cheap Packaging, Sept. 14 2012
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I bought this set of 5 CDs for the first three CDS; I already owned the last two CDS, published by Sony under the SEON label. The SEON set came with a booklet of liner notes; this set does not come with such a booklet. Considering that this set is a reissue of earlier releases, on which Sony has already recovered its expenses and made a profit, I find it unacceptable that this set is published without any notes whatsoever. But then, this seems to be Sony's practice with its current spate of re-releases in box sets. And it certainly does nothing for the image of Sony as a quality CD publisher.

I had reached the point where I no longer purchase vocal CDs which are published without sung texts. And I have now reached the point where I will no longer purchase box sets without booklets of liner notes, or a CD-ROM containing the notes, no matter how the critics rave about the performances. Au revoir, Sony, you have become penny-wise but pound-foolish in my eyes!

Sequentia: Hildegard von Bingen
Sequentia: Hildegard von Bingen
Offered by Gray Fox,
Price: CDN$ 126.60
4 used & new from CDN$ 64.34

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DECEPTIVE PACKAGING: NO SUNG TEXTS, Aug. 18 2012
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I purchased this boxed set to complete my collection of the Sequentia recordings at a bargain price. Sequentia originally made these recordings for BMG, and the boxed set is now distributed by Sony. The three BMG recordings of Sequentia which I already own came with full sung texts in Latin and English; so I assumed that this boxed set would also contain the full sung texts. But it doesn't contain any of the texts, and I guess some genius in Sony's marketing deptartment decided that by omitting the texts, Sony could maximize its profit.

It would have made for greater customer satisfaction, I suggest, to have offered the full texts on a separate CD-ROM, even if this meant an additional cost to the consumer. To be fair, the box itself and the disc jackets do meet industry standards. And to conclude my review, never again will I purchase a boxed set of vocal music from Sony unless I am certain, beforehand, that it contains the full vocal texts. How else can the listener make sense of the singing?

Buyer beware: this set is not a bargain without sung texts unless you already have access to a copy of the texts or know them by heart. Shame on you, Sony!

DVD ~ Joyful Noise
Price: CDN$ 21.99
12 used & new from CDN$ 12.32

2.0 out of 5 stars MEDIOCRITY ENSHRINED, July 13 2012
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Visually, this production captures the presence of a live performance; so I have rated it at 2 stars rather than 1 star. With a few exceptions here and there, I found this production tasteless and musically disappointing. I could recognize strains of Handel's magnificent score here and there, but the sublimity and grandeur of Handel were gone. Compared to Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock epic "Jesus Christ Superstar." which brings a new dimension to the Christian story, this version of Handel's Messiah strikes me as a flop which could interest only the curious or the musically illiterate. I still fope for a worthy rock version of Handel's Messiah one day; but this is definitely not it. Sorry! - J.Komar, Saskatoon

British Orchestral Collection
British Orchestral Collection
Price: CDN$ 91.87
7 used & new from CDN$ 91.87

3.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE OF PACKAGING!, July 12 2012
I have rated this collection 3 stars because concents are not everything in a boxed set, and Naxos should know that. The musical contents of this collection is superb, and for this I congratulate Naxos. While I have a good deal of this music on earlier single releases by Naxos, I bought the collection to have the music all in one place for easy accessibility. But Naxos' packaging of the collection defeats this purpose. The collection is packaged in a flimsy, lightweight container which will not have much of a service life. The booklet accompanying the collection is merely a table of contents for each disc; it is printed in a small, light typeface difficult to read; to locate a particular selection you have to browse through the contents of each disc. And the 25 discs are packaged in 25 identical blank window envelopes made of thin paper, rather than in industry-standard cardboard jackets containing track listings and times for each disc. To use this collection, I had to buy 25 disc cases and type up labels for each case. I spent $15 for the cases, and then there was my time to type and print labels for each case.

Considering the high price of this collection, and that it is mostly a repackaging of individual releases on which Naxos has already made a profit, I find the collection overpriced and of little reference value in its present inadequte packaging. While my collection contains some superb Naxos releases, I regret to say that I would not buy another Naxos collection without a prior physical examination of the packaging. And I suggest that Naxos seriously consider its marketing strategy with regard to packaging. Just take a look at what Brilliant Classics is doing for the money!

Jim Komarr, Saskatoon

Operation Messiah: St. Paul, Roman Intelligence and the Birth of Christianity
Operation Messiah: St. Paul, Roman Intelligence and the Birth of Christianity
by Thijs Voskuilen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 42.90
11 used & new from CDN$ 25.11

5.0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING BUT NOT CONVINCING, July 1 2012
I have rated this bok at 5 stars because it is an interesting read, not because it makes an entirely convincing argument that Paul was a Roman spy. Paul's letter to Philemon, one of the 7 Pauline letters considered genuine, reveals a Paul who is compassionate; a man who will stick his neck out to save a runaway slave, something unheard of in Roman society of his day. This reveals a personality which could well have brought Paul into disfavour with the Roman authorities, possibly to the point where they would have had him disposed of quietly as an embarrassment. Likewise, Paul's second letter to Timothy while not considered genuine, reveals a lonely but loving man. There are also instances in Acts (not exactly a work of reliable historicity) which show a compassionate Paul in the spirit of Jesus. These three examples do not square with the self-serving, perhaps cynical, Paul whom the authors present on the basis of Romans 13, where Paul advises that hristians who keep the Roman law have nothing to fear from the Roman authorities. In other words, I find that the authors' arguments are based on a 1-sided selection of passages from the Pauline letters and from Acts. But that is not an uncommon practice in books of this sort.

Nevertheless, the academic credentials of the book are impressive. The authors do a creditable job of making their argument, even if I do not reach the same conclusions as they do. I too feel the book is overpriced and cheaply produced; but this may be due to a limited press run. But I also feel that this book offers anew avenues of understanding into the champion of Gentile Christianity. Don't miss it!

Lucas Me Queria a Mi [Import]
Lucas Me Queria a Mi [Import]
DVD ~ Esperanza Roy
Offered by CAMusicFiendz
Price: CDN$ 42.62
11 used & new from CDN$ 14.87

5.0 out of 5 stars SHADES OF ALMODOVAR! WONDERFUL!, Dec 11 2010
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Behind with their rent, three young gays rent a room in their apartment to Lucas, an accomplished bedroom adventurer. Each develops a crush on Lucas, and they begin to quarrel over him. The three return home one night and find Lucas stabbed to death multiple times with a set of kitchen knives. They hide Lucas' corpse in his room, but it is discovered by their cleaning woman, whose daughter has also been intimate him. The police inspector and her assistant become involved and burst into the apartment to investigate the murder of Lucas. But the inspector is Lucas' girlfriend, who has been looking for him for several months. The inspector's assistant has also been intimate with Lucas. So has a cabaret singer, an acquaintance of one of the three men who works with her and has designs on her husband. The singer too bursts into the apartment for a rendezvous with Lucas, only to discover his cadaver, a shock which causes her to lose consciousness. The upshot is that the police inspector gets them to destroy the evidence by burning the body of Lucas in the furnace at police headquarters; and they go their separate ways, presumably to live happlily ever after. This goes double for the singer, who returns to the arms of her astonished but delighted husband.

First rate comedy all the way: plot, acting, photography, subtitles, and music. Don't miss this one! Perhaps it will be reissued at an affordable price. - Jim Komar

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