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Reviews Written by
Justin Weaver

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Penguin Classics Iliad
Penguin Classics Iliad
by Homer
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 21.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who cares what they say... it's the best translation., July 3 2001
This review is from: Penguin Classics Iliad (Paperback)
Alexander Pope was undoubtedly the most talented versifier ever to walk the English-speaking portions of this earth. Forget Shakespeare, forget Milton... they don't know anything about iambs compared to Pope. Once you've taken in the first 1000 couplets or so, you'll see what I mean. Plus, this is an excellent, faithful translation of Homer, no matter what the purists think. Sure, Rouse is great for prose, but if you want beauty and grandeur, Pope is your man. This book deserves a special place on your shelf: file under PERFECT.

4 used & new from CDN$ 32.19

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Qavvaalii CD ever !!, July 3 2001
This review is from: Shahbaaz (Audio CD)
I first heard Nusrat and Shahbaaz in Panjab and was immediately taken by this truly spectacular music. The quality of Nusrat's musicianship and vocal power defies immediate description. The only problem with this album is the total absence of information in the program notes. The lyrics aren't translated on the grounds that Qavvaalii is too esoteric for Westerners to understand -- nonsense!, I've been walked through the translation without any problems. No mention is even made of what languages (Panjabi, Urdu) the songs are in, nor the immense popularity and cultural importance in Panjab and Sindh of that most recognizable of tunes: Shahbaaz Qalandar. It's a good thing that Nusrat and his Party don't need good liner notes to earn 5-stars, heck 6... heck 17. Buy this, but surf the net for the translated lyrics and background info on the Qalandars and Sufism. Enjoy!

New Rhyming Dictionary and Poets' Handbook
New Rhyming Dictionary and Poets' Handbook
by Burges Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.77
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful... and fun, July 1 2001
I do a lot of translation/versifying and this book is an incredible tool. Far from being a crutch, it opens the mind to new possibilites of rhyme, which, once internalized, can be called up from memory without looking back to the book. In short, this book TEACHES you versification skills through exposure to rhymes. It also contains an extensive discussion of rhyming form and technique with examples. A must have for the serious formalist.

Saemtliche Lieder
Saemtliche Lieder
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 54.42
8 used & new from CDN$ 11.33

2.0 out of 5 stars the best songs ever ruined by uneven performing, May 4 2001
This review is from: Saemtliche Lieder (Audio CD)
This is a warning for all Poulenc fans NOT to take the bargain route and purchase this immense collection -- you might think you're getting a great deal but: the singing and pianism is substandard and doesn't do the music justice (remotely). Songs like Bonne Journe'e or Ho^tel are all but ruined... Here's what to buy: Bernard Kruysen's CD of selected Poulenc masterpieces (favoring the Elouard settings)... nobody will ever come close to Kruysen in interpreting Poulenc. Avoid THIS CD. They still get 2 stars for (1) being encyclical and (2) delivering clear and even sound quality.

Symphony 15
Symphony 15
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 110.44
7 used & new from CDN$ 22.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Best possible recording of best possible symphony, May 1 2001
This review is from: Symphony 15 (Audio CD)
Introverted, misshapen, quiet, slow, bizarre -- amazing! Shostakovich's final symphony takes some warming up to, but manifests itself as one of the most deeply thought, emotionally artless and directly expressive 'moments' in musical history. Rostropovich's virtually flawless performance should bring recognition to this little known and underappreciated autumnal work. From the opening strike of the glockenspiel to the rat-scurry of winds and strings in the 3rd movement to the final pedal point over which a peppering of xylophone and toms casts a mysterious shadow, this symphony exists in its own head-of-the-pin world... sometimes after listening, I feel somehow musically cleansed, as if all other repertoire has been rendered irrelevent. If you're looking to take a chance on a 'random' buy, get this symphony, put in on (with headphones if there's even a chance of aural distraction), give it your full concentration and you'll thank me!

Hydrogen Juke Box
Hydrogen Juke Box
9 used & new from CDN$ 11.46

5.0 out of 5 stars THIS is Glass's best work - a must own!, May 1 2001
This review is from: Hydrogen Juke Box (Audio CD)
I just saw Philip Glass at a screening of Koyaanisqatsi and then at a composer's forum, inspiring me to take to the keyboard (the piano AND the computer version). This is my favorite Glass piece in my ever-growing collection -- ironically, it's the first one I ever bought. The genius of Glass's middle-style -- slow unfolding poignant minimalism with operatic sensibility and universal themes -- comes to absolute fruition where the music meets Allen Ginsberg's insighful, 'deep-thinking' beat poetry. All of the rough edges of the early style (shaky orchestration, the tendency for overkill) seem well-trimmed here... In under an hour and a half Glass creates a masterpiece with every bit as much to say as Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha or Akhnaten. Indeed, newcomers to Glass ought best to start here. Highlights include Ginsberg's reading from Wichita Vortex Sutra, Aunt Rose, and the final ode to death. And like most all Glass music since the early operas, this piece is very user-friendly for connoisseurs and non-art-music-fans alike. Hydrogen Jukebox is proof that minimalists need not meander adrift on the waves of cyclic time, but can produce grippingly poingnant short pieces. This may well be Glass's masterpiece and deserves greater recognition. Buy now!!

Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel; Why Patterns?
Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel; Why Patterns?
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 39.87
11 used & new from CDN$ 30.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Among voices all their own, a voice all his own, April 9 2001
Within the oft befuddled stylistic wash of the 20th century, we have our camps, our geniuses, our individuals, our movement-founding demigods... Feldman's music is so unique, it transcends, even ignores, any self-concept of 'the individual', focusing all of what little energy it needs to expend on subtleties among subtleties: such as layering identical choral chords and exposing the shaky hollowness of the human voice in Rothko Chapel. Yes, Rothko Chapel is a revolution -- a quiet revolution nearly lost within itself... it ends, though it does not fade, and it remains: the vibraphone keeps faint, lucid rhythm, the viola turns back on itself, the choral murmur hovers... and just lingers on.

Madrigals (2 CD)
Madrigals (2 CD)
Price: CDN$ 17.55
27 used & new from CDN$ 5.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Hear the Renaissance dissipate before your ears..., March 25 2001
This review is from: Madrigals (2 CD) (Audio CD)
... dissipate and morph into something quite extraordinary: the early Baroque in the hands of its first great master, Monteverdi!
Never has a composer been so generous in gradually but persistently 'easing' his audience into a new art, a new music. True the fourth book of madrigals has Sfogava con le stelle (marvelously rendered with the rest of the book here by the Consort of Musicke), but the fifth - therein lies the rub. It all begins with the familiar (but dissonant and daring!) sonorities of the Second Practice, but by the end these teeming harmonies have been reduced to chordal instrumental accompaniments to the most gorgeous monody and, yes, Baroque choral singing... you can quite literally hear the Renassiance tradition slowly dissolve into the Baroque, one of the most engaging 'moments musical'. It takes a mind of rare genius to father a new age of music... Monteverdi did just that and in THESE very madrigals.
As a bonus, Rooley et al. have included excerpts from the 7th and 8th books of madrigals just to show us where all these experiments led... Get to know these pieces. It's worth the efforts!

Price: CDN$ 19.36
36 used & new from CDN$ 11.18

5.0 out of 5 stars A love-it-or-hate-it masterwork, Feb. 17 2001
This review is from: Part,Arvo:Passio (Audio CD)
Yes it is 70 minutes of the same textures reiterated over and over again with nary a moment of respite. Yes it is a neo-medieval noninterpretive stoical approach to liturgy. And yes an aura of supreme depression and hopelessness surrounds the music from end to tragic end.
But... yes it is an amazing essay in pressing the limits of artistic sensibilities. Yes it is an exacting and charged performance by the Hilliard Ensemble. And yes there is a sort of solemn indulgent joy amidst the minimalist sadness.
Buy it to love it; buy it to hate it.

Stephen Malkmus
Stephen Malkmus
Price: CDN$ 25.95
13 used & new from CDN$ 1.44

2.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Malkmus doesn't need a 'self-titled' 'debut', Feb. 17 2001
This review is from: Stephen Malkmus (Audio CD)
C'mon man, you're not Christina Aguilera... titling an album after yourself is lame-o. And what's the point of ditching your buddies in Pavement if you're just going to reform another band that sounds almost just like 'em but nowhere near as good! -- oh, but this time there's two attractive women in the band... so that's it, Steve :)
The point: Malkmus's album is an essay in ego from a true genius who doesn't need a big head to get by. If the music were supergood we might forgive him, but the only great track of music here is Jenny and the Ess-Dog, the rest of the album features track after track of watered down mainstreamized rock without any Indie energy or character. Even the lyrics aren't up to standard. The final track is painfully uncreative -- Steve just isn't trying here at all.
Pavement's premature passing will be forever mourned! This album is NOT the continuation of the Pavement legacy, but the death knell for that legacy. Keep putting on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain or Brighten the Corners and remain in ignorant bliss of the downfall.

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