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181. Dvorák: Cello Concerto; Tchaikowsky
$20.99 $18.33 list($23.98)
182. Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35-41
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183. At the Movies
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184. The Phantom Of The Opera (1986
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185. Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas
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186. Les Miserables (Highlights from
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187. Classical Music for Children
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188. Classic Williams: Romance of the
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189. The Merchant of Venice
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190. Renée Fleming - The Beautiful
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191. Bach: The Art of Fugue;Musical
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192. Bourne Supremacy (Score)
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193. Being Julia
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194. Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Original
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195. Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well
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196. Music From the Star Wars Saga
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197. Harry Potter and the Chamber of
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198. Catholic Latin Classics
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199. Bye Bye Birdie (1960 Original
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200. Agnus Dei: Music of Inner Harmony

181. Dvorák: Cello Concerto; Tchaikowsky / Karajan, Rostropovich,
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000001GQ8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2771
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Mstislav Rostropovich is the world's greatest cellist, andhe has actually made at least five recordings of this greatest of all celloconcertos. I have a certain preference for his later version, with Seiji Ozawaand the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Erato. This version has long been a prime recommendation,and in this new remastering at mid-price, it's an even better deal now. Herbertvon Karajan accompanies with his usual expertise, and the Tchaikovskyperformance is quite simply the finest around. This concerto is one of thosepieces of which you'll want to have five or six copies. Just make sure this isone of them. --David Hurwitz ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully warm and lyrical - a sheer delight!
I found this CD to be an absolute delight! From opening to closing measure of both the Dvorak cello concerto and the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Herbert von Karajan, team up to establish a splendid musical dialog. The cello concerto, one of Dvorak's greatest masterpieces, is at the same time warm, passionate and lyrical. I've personally never heard a better performance of the second movement - adagio ma non troppo - with its almost ethereal quality. Tchaikovsky's "Rococo variations" are sheer magic from start to finish.

This is another of Deutsche Grammophon's "Originals" series, a digital re-mastering of recordings made in 1969. I found the sound quality to be quite outstanding. While retaining some of the characteristics of the original analog recording, dynamic range and realism in stereo imaging are enhanced. The recording's locale adds to the warmth of the performances.

This CD was awarded a rosette by the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs. (The rosette is the Penguin Guide's highest accolade, given to a recording of special distinction). For lovers of both Dvorak's cello concerto and Tchaikovsky's "Rococo Variations," this is THE CD to own!

5-0 out of 5 stars His Signature Concerto? You Betcha!
This is the premium recording of the Dvorak Concerto... right up there with Du Pre's, although I must say, that Rostropovich makes a lage sacrifice to getting it his own way to play this beautiful music with soul, heart, and great slavic tradition. It's a simply "attractive" recording of flawless, emotionally and beautifully played Dvorak Concerto, one of the most difficult in the cello reportoire, today. Also, the Rococco Variations is carried through out solidly, with perfect technique and wit and taste that I've heard in no other cellist (for those two pieces anyway). It's so wonderful. I am not much of a Rostropovich fan, but this recording really made me happy. I would recommend this recording to anyone who enjoys classical music, wholeheartedly. It's a truely great addition to your CD collection! (The price is GOOD for something so wonderful). Also, the recording technology doesn't give it away. It doesn't sound like something recorded in 1969. It sounds more like something of right around now.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Recording, but Giulini's verson is better
This recording of Rostropovich/Karajan is, of course, the editor's choice when it comes to Dvorak's cello concerto. But, editors simply passed over the Rostropovich/Giulini version, which is the better recording. It is now on the EMI Classics label, remastered, and is also on Rostropovoich's 75th birthday edition on the EMI Label. As a cellist, I feel Karajan's taste is good, but not as heartfelt as Giulini's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rostropovich - the Master - plays a Masterpiece..
The acnowledged master of the cello, Mstislav Rostropovich, much like jazz piano virtuoso Oscar Peterson, grunts and plays his way through what I feel to be the greatest of the romantic concertos for cello. Although my favourite Rostropovich rendition of this piece, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, is not to be found (so far..) on CD; this one, with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin is nearly as masterful - if perhaps a touch 'stiffer', in my opinion. Rostropovich takes this richly Slavonic concerto and makes it his own. Once you have heard him perform this piece, no other cellist will do. He is simply the best, and this is one of his best vehicles for showcasing his mastery of the instrument.

5-0 out of 5 stars How could there possibly be better renditions?
Before when I had only heard the Sony - #67173 recording of Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B Minor (with Yoyo Ma and Kurt Masur),
it did not take long for me to recognize the genius of this musical piece, but now that I have heard this version with Mstislav Rostropovich, it is now one of my favorite compositions of all time. Both recordings shine like gems, but this one seems more polished. The Tchaikovsky performance is also quite good and again the best I've heard thus far. This cd gets my vote for one that belongs in any exceptional collection of music. ... Read more


182. Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35-41
list price: $23.98
our price: $20.99
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Asin: B000001GQB
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3769
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Karl Bohm was one of this century's great Mozart conductors--a fact that's apt to beforgotten in the flood of authentic instrument productions, many of them on DG's associated labels.He conducted Mozart with real love and affection, maintaining moderate tempos, allowing eachwork's gorgeous melodies a chance to sing and breathe. Mozart's symphonic music has its roots inthe opera house, and so did Bohm. Listening to the witty woodwind interjections in the finale ofSymphony No. 39, for example, you can readily imagine the witty exchanges of differentcharacters in one of Mozart's comic operas. These beautifully recorded versions of Mozart'sgreatest symphonies belong in the collection of every fan of the composer. --David Hurwitz ... Read more

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars crisp and refreshing as mountain spring water
Given that these performance were originaly recorded in the 1960s, as part of the first ever complete survey in stereo of the Mozart symphonies, and the proliferation of alternate choices on both period and modern instruments, it would be easy indeed to pass this issue over as being outdated or even irrelevant. I think that would be a poor decision. The digital remastering has produced a considerable improvement over the original LPs and the performances have lost none of their vitality, rhythmic pointing, or precision in the playing of the Berlin Philharmonic. Although Bohm was a veteran conductor the tempi do not convey any loss of energy or enthusiasm. The Haffner, Linz and Jupiter symphonies are particularly successful. In comparison to Karajan's survey with the same orchestra and recording company, these performances do not have quite the same "big band" sound and are perhaps more classical in feeling - which is hardly a disadvantage. The Mackerras, Marriner and Levine sets are excellent too and choosing a winner among them is a judgment call. Nonetheless, anyone who enjoys this music on modern instruments will not be dissapointed with Bohm. The documentation is excellent too. Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Okay, Okay, Its Price is Formidable, But ...
You get two discs of the later Mozart Symphonies, which can't be wrong if Bohm and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra are also around. Bohm is a master of tempi, I think, and the orchestra's able to deliver quite a sound. You'll never hear me say that these are the definitive readings, but they are excellent and well worth the effort and are not the lesser of other recordings.

Most will be wanting to know whether nos. 40 and 41 are 'in shape'. Sure. The Mozart expert (or anybody, for that matter, if he/she has listened to other performances of the same works) will find moments where opportunities have been missed, but that same listener will discover plenty of things that balance the scale, in the end yielding a (hopefully) positive experience.

Now, next to Bohm I do also recommend Szell, Pinnock, and Menuhin. But to lift the veils for 'beginners', Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35-41, Conducted by Bohm, is an almost sure buy.

That sentence where I said that opportunities may have been lost sounds a bit depressing, but few things can please everybody.

5-0 out of 5 stars 40 Years On Still Among The Best
You might call Karl Bohm's Mozart old fashioned but don't take that as a put down. He does not take up the more recent practice of taking every repeat causing some works to go over 40 minutes. Not for Bohm the fine points of the latest academic trend but instead a a very fine feel for the spirit of Mozart's music. If the dramatic grand gesture is needed then Bohm magnificently provides it. If the music is livelier and more fleet of foot then Bohm sparkles with a wry grin. Overall this is Mozart to enjoy and Bohm never fails the listener. The 40 year old recording needs no excuses and neither do you for not buying these truly wonderful performances.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the best
As Karajan, Abbado, and Kleiber are for Beethoven, Bohm and Bernstein (along with Walter and Szell) are for Mozart.

This double-decker comprised of the final six symphonies by Mozart (Symphony No. 37 was lost unfortunately and the original score remains undiscovered) is a MUST-HAVE for a Mozart fan. Bohm truly gives Mozart at its highest. Forget hesitating or regarding the price you should buy it simple as "1-2-3" and play music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Intense...
The intensity of Bohm's ideas about Mozart truly shine through...he is clearly the best in the Symphonies as an interpreter...Szell is so willful and contrived in comparison(sound on Szell is poor as well)....

this is one of the finest Jupiter's ever as Well!! ... Read more


183. At the Movies
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0001HAGPG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3928
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Music (without the usual Andre Party)
I will be the first to admit it. I judge Andre Rieu & the Johann Strauss Orchestra harshly. They have spoiled me with their perfection and now I accept nothing less. What can I say for a man who provides Heaven's Music on earth? This is the first CD that brings the slightest disappointment. Many tracks are from other CD's. (Have them already.) I miss the party Andre brings with his music but I understand that Andre must tire of playing the same type of music over and over, so this is something new for him and we the spoiled listener must be giving. At The Movies. It is Andre Rieu and it doesn't get any better. Starting with Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet with its rich tones and romantic soul followed by Somewhere My Love, these are songs we've heard a thousand times made new by Andre's arangements and the JSO. My Heart Will Go On which alone is worth the price of the CD, features Teun Ramaekers. His talent with wind instruments will meserize listeners from novice to professional. The Second Waltz. Another enjoyable arrangement of this music. An Andre Specialty. Heigh Ho with it's nod & tribute to Walt Disney takes us all to our childhood memories as we dance upon a cloud of dreams. The most simple of songs, the most powerful of emotions. Andre Rieu delievers the joy of childhood with the beauty of his violin. Moonriver, Sirtaki from Zorba The Greek both good and Speak Softly Love, the Theme/Main Title of The Godfather is hauntingly beautiful with its soft reflection of love. The JSO brings the fun of Bolero, reawakens us with John Dunbars Theme (Dances With Wolves) and presents a modern version of The Windmills Of Your Mind. I cry when I hear Edelwiess, it is one of the outstanding works on the CD. True Love, Stanger In Paradise, and Romance all worth a listen. Ending with the Main Title from Once Upon A Time In The West, yes.. this is a CD worth having. But then, it's Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra, the only recording group worth buying even if you have never heard one of the songs. This is Beautiful Music (but missing the party flavor we normally get with Andre) I reccomend this for your collect and for your ears. Most of all, I reccomend this for your spirit.
sally@andrerieufans.com

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous
Andre Rieu has given us another marvelous musical treat. I look forward to the next CD and/or DVD. I don't want to miss anything that he does. He and his wonderful orchestra are my very favorites.

5-0 out of 5 stars I LOVE IT
I can't think of any one of the CDs by Andre Rieu that doesn't deserve five stars, and if I could I would give AT THE MOVIES six stars. I have only one small thing I would change if I could. I would remove the two songs from SNOW WHITE. But even with those songs remaining, the CD is pure heaven. BUY IT!!!! ... Read more


184. The Phantom Of The Opera (1986 Original London Cast)
list price: $35.98
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Asin: B000001FLC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 19976
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

What's left to be said about Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera a decade after its premiere? That it's maddeningly ubiquitous? A stitch-up of various themes shoplifted from the Italian operatic repertoire? A critic-proof crowd pleaser that's probably being staged somewhere in the world as you read this? A megahit that will likely outlive Titanic in the pop-culture pantheon, Phantom has largely redefined--for better or worse--the manner in which modern musicals are conceived, staged, and marketed. Its influence has reached far beyond the traditional confines of London and Broadway. A favorite example: an abridged version that was the centerpiece of Los Angeles's longest-running transvestite revue, replete with 14-inch chandeliers and a man-playing-a-woman-playing-a-man in the title role. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (261)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Let the specacle astound you!"
I can get a pretty good sense of what a theatrical experience this show must be from listening to its London cast recording. All that thundering, overpowering, eerie but beautiful music, which is actually pretty good and may very well be Andrew Lloyd Webber's best. The above-average, occasionally beautiful and touching lyrics to such songs as "Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," and "Point of No Return." The fine performance of Michael Crawford as the Phantom, which does a great job of conveying the character's passion and pain and thankfully doesn't really conjure up memories of his best-forgotten days as a juvenile lead in such fimusicals as "A Funny Thing..." and "Hello, Dolly!" The beautiful voice of Sarah Brightman as Christine. The supporting cast, from Steve Barton's Raoul to Rosemary Ashe's stunning Carlotta to the two theatrical agents, Andre and Farmin (or something like that). All contribute to the enjoyment and, yes, spectacle of this recording, and no doubt did and, in the case of the music and lyrics, still do contribute to the success of the stage show. All are reasons for buying it, so why not?

5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best recording ever. . .the ONLY recording ever
Alright, let's get this straight. It's a simple math problem; even a first grader could get this. Michael Crawford=Phantom. Phantom=Michael Crawford. That's just how it is. In the title song, when he sings "The Phantom of the Opera is there"...oh its brilliant. Especially that funny thing his voice does on the "Phaaa" part of Phantom. Normally it might be a little awkward, but in this role its absolutley perfect. He really makes us sympathize with him and almost makes you bawl in the Finale.

Sarah Brightman does a great job with Christine. Most peolpe absolutely screw up the vocals at the end of the title song (ah-hem, 1992 Japanese Version and Sandra Joseph on Broadway. Hate to say it, but it doesn't work with their voices. Yeah, they can sing, but just not that. They do very well otherwise though) I like the way she screams out "I'll go MAD!" in Notes II.

The only bad part about this (but it's quite minor) are Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet. Buquet's voice is kind of breathy and the vibrato takes over and Madame Giry's voice is a little breathy also, but nothing major.

The orchestra in this is beautiful. In most recordings, the orchestra cuts short in the intrumentals before Hannibal and after the Auction (which is one of the best parts) but in this one is it really powerful. It gives you goosebumps because it blends so well together. Especially when the horns come in!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Recording
I simply love this recording. I have never seen Phantom performed on the stage and this is the only recording I have ever heard of the Phantom of the Opera, but I was delighted to hear its music. I have had this CD for only a week and cannot stop playing it for some reason! It has quite a musical score, and the story is very sad. I have never read the book (although I am waiting for its arrival from Amazon after ordering it), so I cannot tell you whether it is true to the original story. The story is that of a man who has been abandoned by all mankind and must live in a labyrinth under the opera house. He falls in love with Christine Daae and becomes her tutor. She believes that the Phantom is the Angel of Music sent by her deceased father. The Phantom loves her so and wants her career in the opera house to advance. He sends notes to the managers, telling them to give her main roles instead of the prima Donna Carlotta. It is a heart wrenching story because you really feel sorry for the Phantom.

The cast is strong. MICHAEL CRAWFORD plays the Phantom on this recording and is argued by many phans to be the best phantom. I have heard no other recording, so I can't argue that point. The role of Christine was written for SARAH BRIGHTMAN, so naturally she does well. There are many high notes and her role can be compared to that of COSETTE in LES MISERABLES because it seems that the majority of her parts are high. RAOUL is played by STEVE BARTON, and his voice is marvelous. ROSEMARY ASHE plays CARLOTTA. I don't like the part of Carlotta, but that isn't Ashe's fault!

Some of the music in this sounds familiar, like from CATS (I'm talking about a couple bars of music, not like a whole song or anything), so that is very interesting. If you like Andrew Lloyd Webber, you will love this rock opera! I like "Angel of Music," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Music of the Night."

Buy this CD because it is worth every penny!

4-0 out of 5 stars Just as good the 100th time!
This is truly a great recording. Overall, I am totally in love with it, but I am here to give a review, not to push my personal biases on others. So, from the standpoint of a musician, actress, and singer, here goes. First of all the actors...
MICHAEL CRAWFORD: Overall, Awesome. Truly the best cast member. His voice is easy to listen to, and very expressive. He IS the Phantom. No questions asked. Technically, not perfect, but this is theatre, not technical type singing. Sometimes, he sounds like he has a bad cold, and tends to slide into the correct note on the higher notes, but overall, this detracts very little from his outrageous awsomeness.
SARAH BRIGHTMAN: Not a huge fan of Sarah's, I'm afraid. Vibrato is one thing, but when you sound like a chipmunk singing while sitting in one of those massage chair things, you're using a little too much. She hits all of the notes beautifully, but you would too if your husband wrote the part for you. Her acting skills and expression are below par, and her inunciation is like she's singing with dental equipment in her mouth. She should definately practice singing more forward, as she gets caught in the back of her throat frequently. Her solos can wear on the nerves, but overall, you could do worse, she's not completely devoid of vocal talent, and she sounds fine when she's singing with someone else.
STEVE BARTON: Not much to say about him. No surprises here, but easy to listen too, expression is on par, and he is technically the best out of the three leads. No complaints, but I've heard this voice a million times before.
OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT: Carlotta is excellant, and beautifully annoying, all though she does have one moment in NOTES where she slips out of character for a phrase. Meg sounds like she's singing while trying to breath through an oxygen tube, in other words, barely audible. I would have liked to hear her more in the harmony on Angel of Music. Everyone else: Fine. Cooly. No complaints.
AS FOR THE MUSIC: There is a lot of it, and it rocks. The orchestrations are fabulous for Broadway, and the melodies are beautiful, if frequently repetitive. Don't buy this if you don't like the tune of Angel of Music, it shows up in practically every song. The chorus numbers are ass-kicking and funky harmony-full.
THE FINAL VERDICT: You can't go wrong here. Even if you despise Sarah Brightman, everyone else more than compensates for her, erm , lack of pronunciation. Crawford is at his best, and the melodies are some of the most memorable in musical history. Even newbies to the Phantom world will rejoice. Go ahead, throw away your money here. You won't be dissapointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Overblown, but still worth a listen.
I am not one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest fans. But still, this is a good show. People that give this negative reviews claim that it is overated. And they are correct. But there are very good melodies in this show, although the lyrics are not top quality. There are also so many layers of the phantom that Gaston Leorux wrote in this character that are not explored in the lyrics. In this show we have little reason to sympathize with the main character. But in Sondheim's"Sweeney Todd" we are told in sometimes Gruesome detail why Sweeney has those killing sprees. But these shows are completly different animals of the theater. Phantom is a show that takes you to another world, while "Sweeney" makes you think. In my opinon, this is Andrew Lloyd Webbers last good show. ... Read more


185. Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas / Vladimir Ashkenazy
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000041LE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8856
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Opinion
Alright I will make this short and sweet. When pianists become as good at Beethoven as Vladimir Ashkenazy or Alfred Brendel it comes down to opinon of which you enjoy the most. I recommend listening to this one and then Brendel and Richter and anyone else. Just remeber get which ever one you like the most.

I hope that helps!

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the Best!
I wonder if the people who wrote negative reviews about this CD really understood Beethoven. Have you heard any of his symphonies? Beethoven is about dynamism! Maybe they should stick with Mozart.
Ashkenazy gave a flawless performance. And technically the CD is very well recorded, fully exploiting the dynamic range available on the CD format, very finely mastered.
I consider this a golden classic worth collecting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ashkenazy has 'done his reading'
Beethoven was a dynamic man who never failed to hold back his
volatile temperament. He was not even tempered with even his
closest associates,relatives and music publishers. These facts
are unanimously noted by all the great Beethoven biographers, both past and present. Too not expect Beethoven's temperament
too pervade his music, especially pieces as personal as his
piano sonatas, is to be mistaken. Ashkenazy recognizes and keeps
Beethoven's emotional nature in his playing of these sonatas. Of
course, we dont know EXACTLY how Beethoven would have played these works, but to think he would not have played them in an
emotionally charged manner, with rising and subsiding waves of
emotion would be to misinterpret the composer. I fully expect
to be jolted by loud playing after very soft playing, etc., and
would never expect Beethoven to have played in a consistent dynamic level throughout his pieces. I base this on what we can
read of the great Beethoven in his bigraphies and his own personal notebooks. So, for those of you who are just discovering
Beethoven's music, dont be put off by those reviews that diminish
the importance of individual playing style,temporal niceties and
having to adjust your volume control. Ashkenazy plays the quiet passages quietly, and the charged passages emotionally, just
as Beethoven wrote them. If, afterall, we are looking for consistency of piano technique throughout, we can always listen
to Haydn.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Battle Between The Artist And The Technician
When I heard this work it was a monument to good practice. the pianist played all the right notes with the right dynamic and the right tempo without error. Objectively this is an excellent recording, however subjectively I did not like this interpretation of Beethoven. The dynamics of most of the pieces seem like they are seperate from the integrated whole because they are given more consideration than what I think are more important musical qualities. Much of the time I heard the dynamics more than I heard the melody. Some may like that, but I found it rather irritating to go through a passage that you can barely hear one moment and have to turn the volume down the next. The highs and lows can sometimes be extreme like that. I don't think that is what Beethoven had in mind for all of his music. I prefer Beethoven played with more respect for the phrasing, melody, and timing with the dynamic in subjection. It's a lot more relaxing that way and easier on the ears. I'm going to sell my copy and search for a recording that is more to my liking, I've found it in other distinguished recordings of Beethoven, so I am hopeful that I can find the sonatas as well, as I really never liked this interpretation although I love these sonatas. The bottom line is that although Ashkenazy is always an excellent technician, sometimes his artistic interpretation leaves something to be desired.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ashkenazy goes horribly wrong.....
I admire Ashkenazy for his Mozart Concerti(20, 21, 23, 24, 25), all his Chopin except for a slow Raindrop Prelude, all his Beethoven Piano Concerti in 1986-1987 with the Cleveland Orchestra and his wonderful playing on the Beethoven Violin Sonatas with Perlman. He is also outstanding with Rachmaninov's Piano Concerti, wonderful.

However when it comes to Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, it's almost as though he's afraid to play it straight and he totally upsets the dynamics of every piece, usually too slow, too tentative in all the wrong places, a good example is how slowly he plays the opening chords to the Appassionatta, no passion whatsoever!

He has not the least sensitivity to this monument of music, what a terrible disappointment and waste of 7 years recording. For much better LvB Piano Sonatas try Rudolf Serkin, John O'Conor instead. O'Conor is especially good with the Hammerklavier. ... Read more


186. Les Miserables (Highlights from the 1987 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000084TRM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1594
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

While not overly generous at 55 minutes, the highlights album of the 1987 original Broadway cast recording of Les Miserables is intelligently selected and likely to prove satisfying to most fans. It includes the best-loved numbers of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score, beautiful ballads ("Bring Him Home," "I Dreamed a Dream") and rousing anthems ("One Day More," "Do You Hear the People Sing?") alike, but eliminates some choral numbers ("Lovely Ladies"), redundancies ("Red and Black"), and connective tissue that propels the plot along ("Valjean Arrested," "Come to Me (Fantine's Death)"). Sure, a more perfect selection could have lasted longer than half of the two-disc set's 104 minutes by adding "At the End of the Day" and "In My Life," among others, but it's still a good representation on a convenient single disc. Of course, those who always want to re-create the theatrical experience will never be satisfied with a highlights album.

Re-creating their roles from the London production, Colm Wilkinson plays the heroic Valjean and Frances Ruffelle is the despondent Eponine. Randy Graff (Fantine), Terrence Mann (Javert), David Bryant (Marius), Judy Kuhn (Cosette), Michael Maguire (Enjolras), and Leo Burmester and Jennifer Butt (the Thénardiers) fill out the cast.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Don't even bother to get this
Les Miserables is an outstanding production. With so many excellent versions out there (particularly the 10th Anniversary Concert recording), you'll be missing a lot if you get only the highlights. Get any of the full recordings, so you'll have a true feel of this great show.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Highlights CD
All the best songs from the show are on this CD. Terrence Mann is the only Javert, and Colm Wilkinson is THE Valjean, their counterparts on the CSR are HORRIBLE!! I can't stand Phillip Quast as Javert, he is unbearble! Gary Morris is OK, but not as good as Colm Wilkinson.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This music really brings the play to your home. Every song is sung beautifully and makes you want to listen to it over and over again. This is a must for anyone who loves Les Misarables or show songs!! ... Read more


187. Classical Music for Children
list price: $3.98
our price: $3.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000002XE8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3805
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful CD for all ages
My whole family has enjoyed this CD. It is very upbeat and easy to listen to. I think there is something for everyone on this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars What fun!
A wonderful selection of classical music! I bought this one, then started searching for the other CD's in the series. My 6-year-old daughter LOVES it & I often play it when she's not home. (I even took it to work for a few weeks & my officemates all commented on the collection of songs -- there's something on here for everyone to enjoy!) This is the kind of classical music that makes you tap your foot & hum along -- it's familiar & fun -- a great collection of songs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kids love it.
I was in the car and I put on the radio to listen to some soft rock. My seven year old asks, "Can you put the classical music back on."

It is a good collection, good audio quality, outstanding price. You can't go wrong.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for Everyone
I sent for this CD and thought it wouldn't amount to much because it is geared towards children. Well, through the years I have come to love such music as "Clair de Lune" by C. Debussy, The "Moonlight Sonata" by L.van Beethoven, the delightful "Minuate Waltz" by F.Chopin, "The Nutcracker Suite - Russian Dance" by P.I. Tchaikovsky, F.Chopin's "Grand Valse Brillante Waltz No.1 op.18,the happy "Chinese Dance" from the Nutacracker Suite by P.I. Tchaikovsky Including the "March" from the Nutacracker Suite. All of this I was thrilled to find on the CD. I never thought this could ever have happened. And the bonus is the rest of the selections of variation. This CD is called CLASSICAL MUSIC FOR CHILDREN.....Well, it's not just for children unless you want to say it is for the children in all of us. I am very pleased with this CD. The music is clear and not at all boreing like some CD's that play several selections one after the other each sounding like the one before it. Buy this and you won't be dissapointed. ... Read more


188. Classic Williams: Romance of the Guitar
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Asin: B00004T0P4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3883
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Guitarist John Williams (no, not John Williams the soundtrack composer) adds to his fine catalog of impeccable recordings with Classic Williams: Romance of the Guitar. But this isn't just a best-of collection (though some of his greatest work is included here) since the disc contains three new recordings. Among the new tracks, Fauré's Pavane is a real stunner, a short but gorgeous piece originally meant for orchestra and choir, where Williams's guitar sounds as though it always belonged there. We get Williams at his most interpretative--his arrangements of Satie's Gymnopedie No. 3 and Piazzolla tango Verano porteno--and his most serene (the "Cavatina" theme from the movie Deer Hunter). Let's face it, some fine classical guitarists can lull their listeners into near comatose states with their instrument; Williams, on the other hand, is just the opposite. His gorgeous tone, inventive arrangements, and interesting repertoire continue to make the classical guitar sound exciting. In short, a great introduction to Williams and a real gem for lovers of classical guitar. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars The CD that all the people can enjoy
In Japan, recently classical guitar is boom, because young Japansese artists emerge. Off course not only Japanese guitarists but also foreign guitarists, is known in Japan. For instance, Andrew York is that. But the most famouse guitarist in foreign gutarists will be A.Segobia and J,Williams. The former is needless to say, about the latter, long ago I was shocked about new style, that is, the combination of electric guitar and classicas guitar. I think that he is top of the classical guitarist, on the other hand a revolutional guitarist that break the established old style.

The music songs included in the CD is variety, that is, in history Baropue, Roman, recently music, in place Spanish, south america etc.
Therefore the CD will be favorite thing for people that don't know about classical guitar.

Off course in the CD, we will be listen to his ultimate skill, in [Nataria}, in spite of the difficult left fingars touch, he play the song in high speed tempo, beautiful sound.

Thank you for reading my poor writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful interpretations and flawless performance
Many of the tracks here are from previous releases by Williams, but don't let this deter you from purchasing (I nearly did, almost missing a brilliant music programme and really fine performances by the artist). Romance, the first piece, is unusual and stunning; it segues charmingly into the Pavane, so you very nearly have two side-by-side tracks that flow into one another, one fulfilling the promises made in the first. Next, music that is gentle or lively, but always exactly as the title of the CD states -- romantic, so it pulls at the senses at the same time that it evokes all the possibilities of great music. The Cavatina will leave you aching for more. And two of my favorites, in my opinion Williams' best performances, Asturias, and the final track, the Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez, are lively and tonally perfect. Just as mentioned in the Editorial Review above, Williams' music is gorgeous -- he is able to arouse sounds from his guitar that demonstrate his status as the highest master of his instrument. These are the sort of performances where an artist becomes one with his instrument, in fact, since they flow out from the strings so beautifully, with a perfection and emotion that you rarely hear with other guitarists. If you like guitar at all, or even if you are curious, don't neglect this CD.

4-0 out of 5 stars The CD that all the people can enjoy
Reviewer: taka(Japanese from Tokyo, Japan
In Japan, recently classical guitar is boom, because young Japansese artists emerge. Off course not only Japanese guitarists but also foreign guitarists, is known in Japan. For instance, Andrew York is that. But the most famouse guitarist in foreign gutarists will be A.Segobia and J,Williams. The former is needless to say, about the latter, long ago I was shocked about new style, that is, the combination of electric guitar and classicas guitar. I think that he is top of the classical guitarist, on the other hand a revolutional guitarist that break the established old style.
The music songs included in the CD is variety, that is, in history Baropue, Roman, recently music, in place Spanish, south america etc.
Therefore the CD will be favorite thing for people that don't know about classical guitar.

Off course in the CD, we will be listen to his ultimate skill, in [Nataria}, in spite of the difficult left fingars touch, he play the song in high speed tempo, beautiful sound.

Thank you for reading my poor writing

5-0 out of 5 stars Ethereal and Transcending
This album builds a tapestry of diversity, depth, and breadth that few artists can emote as Williams has. His love for the music of the guitar and willingness to lovingly and abundantly share it differentiates Williams as a unique spirit. Many of his contemporaries would do well to study at his feet and realize the exhilarating joy of performing for the sake of, and beauty of, the art as Williams freely and unpretentiously reveals. You will be lifted up to a rarely experienced aural realm by this masterpiece of passion, grace, joy, and love. Truly, this work is a genuine monument and praise to all who have contributed to Williams' transcendence to the consummate performer and artist he has become.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Mostly" Classic Williams
I hesitated to buy this CD because I have several other Williams CDs with many of the works featured on this one. However, I was too curious about the 3 new recordings. "Romanza", I'm afraid to say is not that interesting, although it's an ideal piece for beginning guitar students. Faure's Pavane and the arrangement of "El Condor Pasa," on the other hand, are fabulous. Williams' performance of Myers' Cavatina completely obliterates the notion that Williams plays with little emotion. Included are several other works that I consider among my favorites such as the exuberant "Sunburst," the passionate "Verano Porteno," the charming "Natalia," and the dreamy "Berceuse" (enough emotion there for ya?). I would have replaced some of the pieces for others that I believe are Williams classics. However, if you don't have a Williams CD and are curious, this CD and the Seville Concert CD would make a great introduction to a truly phenomenal musician. ... Read more


189. The Merchant of Venice
list price: $18.98
our price: $18.98
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Asin: B00068V37A
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3446
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb soundtrack
I was quite new to the name of composer Jocelyn Pook although I have always been sure that a good soundtrack make a film great and I am fond of good scores. And that's the case of the MoV. When I firstly saw the movie I was so captured by the hounting score of the movie. I love Renaissance and celtic music and this masterpiece is a sweet mix of both cultures. Every single track is a genuine piece recalling the atmosphere of the XVIth century. THe author mixed the sound od mandolin, harp and flaute in such a haunting mood. In addition Andreas Scholl and Hayley Westenra (singers) joined 3 tracks providing such a superb voice. I personally love the "With Wand'ring Steps" as leit motive of the whole work.
A very good CD. If you like relaxing music but at the same time reflection, that's pretty good. One of the best scores I have.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful film score
Although it has been awhile since I saw "The Merchant of Venice", I always knew that one day I had to get the soundtrack. I absolutely loved Jocelyn Pook's compositions. The music really fit the time period of the story, very 16th century. I finally got around to buying the soundtrack. It is absolutely breathtaking. The music truly captures the essence of the Shakespearan play. I felt like I was transported back to the 16th century. Not all of the songs are instrumental. There are quite a few tracks with vocals. My personal favorite song with vocals is "Bridal Ballad" with Hayley Westenra. It is a beautiful classical-pop song, more classical than pop. According to the liner notes, Jocelyn took a line from Edgar Allan Poe for the song. I love how intricate the melodies are throughout the entire cd. The overall sound is lush and romantic, very nice to relax to. Jocelyn Pook definitely did a marvelous job of creating such a lovely atmospheric film score that doesn't overwhelm the listener's ears like a lot of composers do nowadays. I certainly look forward to hearing more from Jocelyn in the near future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Basanio vs Shylock
Myself Nihar I am a Bachelor in Commerce and I am a great fan of Willam Shakespeare and I had read the Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice more than hundred times, I know you will not belief to me but i read his all nobels, poets and dramas everyday and every night without fail.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Gorgeous, Atmospheric Score
After viewing the film on which Jocelyn Pook based her majestic score, one wonders how THE MERCHANT OF VENICE could be considered one of Shakespeare's comedies.

After listening to this beautifully recorded, hauntingly atmospheric soundtrack, one may ask the question twice.While buffered by some of the jolliest comic scenes Shakespeare ever wrote,this deadly serious film, based on one of the poet's most moving and difficult plays, asks how it is possible religion and law -- the pillars of modern life -- have so often served the human drive toward cruelty and avarice, towards religious bigotry and misogyny.

There is no weak link to this score. Classical and world music lovers will recognize and relish the soloists who perform some the most memorable cuts on the recording, but prior knowledge is not required.

This soundtrack draws carefully on Renaissance musical motives, and is orchestrated with such respect for the script that I actually enjoyed the recording as well at home --as I did the score in the theatre.

That is the greatest compliment that can be paid any film composer.

We would have welcomed more informative notes.We would have enjoyed a more extended disc.Personally, I feel the retail price of the recording will preempt its purchase (outside of amazon, of course) by those who most enjoy it.

But it is one of the greatest scores I've heard in my 52 years.Atmospheric and melancholy, emotional one momentn Spartan the next.It will serve as a grreat souvenir for Shakespeareans of all ages who love this noble play, and to those who enjoyed the film too.

If you love distinctive scores, buy without delay.

5-0 out of 5 stars as delicate as elf
The music style is very similar to that of HOMM4(Heroes of Might and Migic 4). Those songs sung by poets (in the movie) just remind me of those scenes of elf realms from fantasy fictions/movies/games. Highly recommend this OST. ... Read more


190. Renée Fleming - The Beautiful Voice ~ Gounod, Lehár, Orff, Puccini, Rachmaninov, Strauss
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Asin: B0000042I6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1249
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

This vocal recital certainly lives up to its title, perhaps too well. It's a collection of arias andsongs Fleming has sung for years that for some may be too much frosting and not enough cake. Surely, herperformances are rich with interpretive nuances, wonder-filled portamentos and word colorings that reflecta long history with this repertoire, which ranges from Charpentier's "Depuis le jour" toRachmaninoff's "Vocalise." Some may find Fleming a bit much, but agree with her or not, she'sfar more interesting than singers who keep a safe, discreet distance from the music. --David PatrickStearns ... Read more

Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, exactly "beautiful voive"
I love this recording. I heard Renee Fleming's voice in television when I was 15-year-old. I thought she would be a great opera singer so I was looking foward to hearing her voice in disc someday. Now I can hear her voice at last!

I'm very happy to listen to those songs. In every songs, her beautiful and enchanting voice is suited well. I think it's very natural that this album received the Grammy Award.

So, I have three of my favorite singer. Julie Andrews, Cecilia Bartoli, and Renee Fleming.

5-0 out of 5 stars A New Generation of Soprano
Since many people feel the need to compare Renee Fleming to Dame Joan Sutherland I guess I will too. Both have big, full bodied voices, Sutherland's is rounder, Fleming's has much better projection. Both have a particularly fine vocal trill technique and considerable vocal range. Fleming has absolutley clear diction so that you har every word clearly, Sutherland sacrificed diction for tone to the point that most of the words weren't distinguishable. Both are magnificent musicians, Fleming has a tendency to be overly dramatic at points. When you add it all up these two sopranos are pretty much even. So if you approach this cd with the notion that Fleming can't compare to Sutherland you're really going to miss out on some beautiful music. Some tracks of particular note are a splendid rendition of Che il bel sogno di Doretta, Morgen, and Rachmaninov's Vocalise. Fleming's vibrato is very natural and not forced or overly wide. Fleming is already showing all of the characteristics of a mature vocalist. All in all, this is an essential cd to any music fan. Highest Recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of those magical recordings
You will love this CD. I heard a friend playing it and knew that I would have to get it some day. It is truly gorgeous.

I am amazed by some of the reviewers who can dare to give this recording fewer than five stars. I know there are some opera perfectionists out there who can be fickle, but this recording is gorgeous. I'm willing to concede that Renee Fleming may not be the greatest opera singer the world has had in the last 100 years, but her voice is what the title says--beautiful. Fleming has worked hard to get where she is today and it shows. Jeffrey Tate seems to do a fine job, and he doesn't get in the way.

Fleming sings each aria with flair, amazing presence, and musical integrity. Each aria showcases her voice, and yet is quite musically inspiring. "Chi il bel sogno" by Puccini and "Marietta's Lied" by Korngold (an oft-overlooked composer) are among my favorites. I also like the aria from Carmina Burana as well as the one from Manon. If you click on the Manon aria (Track 3) to listen online, you will be sold on the CD.

If you don't know anything about opera, you will love this recording. If you are an opera fanatic--no matter who your "favorite" soprano is--you will be forced to admit the singing here deserves instant respect.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most beautiful voice in the world!!
This woman sings and heaven opens up. A golden, pure voice and yet an artist, an artist working on her portrayals. Like all human beings she isn't perfect but every breath she records is filled with this incredible passion and emotion. Seeing her in several Strauss-operas was absolute heaven, what would I give for a video of "Der Rosenkavalier" with her as Marschallin! Mind you, I love Schwarzkopf and Jones in this role but, my god, Fleming would be heaven.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfection
Fleming here gives some truly magnificent examples of singing.
Her Sogno di Doretta is the best I have have ever heard. This aria devides the singers into 2 categories. Those who can sing the difficult part and those who omitt a note in it.
I won't refer to the well known singers who omitt the very small note in the fioritura part, but I will mention that Fleming here does an exemplary reading of this aria plus with the best vocal colour I have heard for Doretta.
Marietta's Lied is what we would call a super hit for Fleming. It is truly amazing how she sings this piece. You will play it again and again and again...

One of Fleming's most magnificent creations is Manon... her sensual erotic voice and her perfect techinique has allowed her to become the Definitive Manon casting all other great Manons miles away. This is how a contemprorary singer can fight all the phantoms of the past and distinguish herself as the Best...

Fleming posseses a God given voice (her trills are almost as accurate as Schwarzkopf's and MORE beautiful than Sutherland's)... we only hope she follows Beverly Sills' advice and sings Norma before it is too late for her voice. ... Read more


191. Bach: The Art of Fugue;Musical Offering
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our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000050GK0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10076
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Most Fabulous CD other than Bach with Pluck!
This is a terrific musical offering to the listener! The ambience of listening to the ensemble that Bach puts together. It is truly an awe-inspiring work, and I say it whole-heartedly. I am not looking for credit for helping you, but I hope you do indeed pick this up. You will listen to it non-stop... At home, in the car, during you commute, at work! The variances are endless!

Pick this up today!

5-0 out of 5 stars if I could give it more stars I would
I have tons of different recordings of The Art of Fugue, & this one of them all is absolutely my favorite. Each melodic line is very distinct. This is also the best recording of Musical Offering I know. Please get this cd. I think this might in fact be some of the very best recorded Bach available if you ask me. I'm not kidding. It's very heady & more soulful/emotional than you're likely to find in many other interpretations of his music, & without straying from what I think Bach had in mind with his music. Yes, this is what he intended.

5-0 out of 5 stars ART is access to illusion.
Sublime,especially the canons from The Musical Offering.
I can't live without this perfect harmony.Bach's fame ever
increases.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unashamedly Romantic Bach-playing
This is one of the most beautiful versions of the Art of Fugue I have ever heard -- rich, colorful, and extremely musical. This is a must for anyone who wants to hear a full-blooded non-"period" performance. ... Read more


192. Bourne Supremacy (Score)
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Asin: B0002IQI3I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1607
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Novelist Robert Ludlum's amnesia-plagued, tough-as-nails spy/assassin Jason Bourne again proves that success begats sequels, be they literary or cinematic. As he did for the saga's initial big screen installment, composer John Powell concocts an electro-orchestral fusion score that seasons its tense, bristling rhythms with dollops of melodicism, synth-atmospherics and staccato string figures. Those welcome touches hearken back to composer's similar work on the '03 action-thrillerThe Italian Job, with Powell initially evoking the film's exotic locales by employing a savory synth pop-meets-Eastern European palate. The tension-building rhythms and percussion flourishes familiar from Powell's other action-centric scores are the score's musical pulse -- even if they eventually upset the finely honed balancing act by boiling over into the familiar explosive cliches of all too many thriller scores.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more


193. Being Julia
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Asin: B00065U0NG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9700
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194. Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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Asin: B0000BWVC5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2214
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stellar Rodriguez
I just loved the movie when it first came out and the music that was showcased in it just added a tinge of flavor and spice. The mystical approach of the spanish guitar, you just feel yourself lost throughout the story. The surprise? It was all put on by Robert Rodrigues himself.

The CD has very much common ground with the Desperado soundtrack, but where the other had a sung by the actor, Antonio Banderas, this one has a wonderful track by Salma Hayek. Rodrguez brings in an eclectic number of musicians that add to the album's diversity. And added plus, of course, is excerpts from the movie before the start of each musical piece

In all, this is a wonderful CD to put on and drift away. The guitars will take you away to that sandy village in Mexico. Just hope yoy're lucky enough and Salma visits you in that day dream.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but...
OUATIM is a great movie and part of what makes it great is the music. As soon as I heard the main theme in the movie (at the beginning with mariachi trying out a guitar) I wanted the soundtrack. But surprise! that song isnt on it! Which is why I gave it 4 stars. Good soundtrack nonetheless.

2-0 out of 5 stars what song is it?
I just wanted to know what song the mariachi band was playing right before the president requested his song.

5-0 out of 5 stars re: the song the president requested...
...is called malaguena which happens to be a traditional mariachi song. there are thousands of renditions of this song played by various artists with cds available for purchase. in fact, in once upon a time in mexico, malaguena was played differently at least two times that i can remember by banderas (once in the beginning and second time when the president requested it). however, the melody is still fundamentally the same. if you are a guitar enthusiast such as myself, i would suggest that you find the melody (readily available on internet search) and learn to play it. it is really not that hard to learn...

3-0 out of 5 stars Can someone help me?
I am looking for the song that they showed the main character playing, because i would like to learn it and if anyone knows the name of it it would be very helpfull . thanks ... Read more


195. Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1966 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B000067AS5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3149
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

At the time of this show's 1968 Greenwich Village debut, French singer-songwriter Jacques Brel's body of theatrically insightful ballads was already an obscure but deeply influential treasure trove for many American musicians. The revue's success would go on to influence artists as diverse as Leonard Cohen, Bowie (who covered "Amsterdam" shortly thereafter), and Sinatra, and it may even be responsible for one-hit wonder Terry Jacks's revival of "Seasons in the Sun".

More important, the pioneering musical-without-a-book helped introduce Brel's oft-brooding, ever evocative art to a wider American audience--and arguably had an evolutionary influence on Broadway itself. This complete reissue of the 1968 boxed set cast album offers up a rich cross-section of Brel's songs about life, death, and love--and typically sharp-eyed observations about the human follies that season them--deftly performed by a cast that includes Elly Stone, Alice Whitfield, Shawn Elliott, and, crucially, rock pioneer, Brel associate, and co-producer Mort Shuman. This new edition fleshes out the set with the sessions' only unreleased song, a sprightly take on the deliciously cynical "The Middle Class."--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars JACQUES BREL for the ages
JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS brought Brel back into the spotlight (if indeed he ever left). The original off-Broadway production of 1966 became the toast of New York when it first appeared and featured a cast including the delicious Elly Stone.

For Elly Stone fans, this reissue is a must-own. For Jacques Brel fans, it is equally so. The masterful song-stylings of Stone with Mort Shuman, Alice Whitfield and Shawn Elliott cannot be beat.

Elly Stone delights with "I Loved" and later tears at the heartstrings with "You're Not Alone". Mort Shuman delivers the sobering "Next" with all the anger of innocence lost, and Shawn Elliott is superb with "Bachelor's Dance".

Highly-recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brel better than ever on this remastered CD
... This just released remastered version of the original Off-Broadway cast brings back memories of the first time I heard it on vinyl in the mid-70s, only here the sound is better and an extra song ("The Middle Class") makes this a must-have CD for any fan of show music, Brel and French cabaret torch songs...with that Brel edge of course.

4-0 out of 5 stars --
For those of us English-speakers, it's a bit tough to really 'get' what Jacques Brel did and how good he was, so it's necessary for us to see this production and/or buy it, along with Scott Walker's English interpretations. There will always be criticisms of how well the cast represented Brel and his energy but I don't think that was really the point of the show. Shuman and Co. wanted to be as accurate as possible as far as conveying the spirit of Brel's work, but the intent of the production was to introduce the English-speaking world to Brel's work, and in that respect they succeeded.

You can't commend Mort Shuman enough for how seamlessly he translated Brel's original French into English without compromising any of the content or rhythm and it speaks volumes about how talented he was as a songwriter in his own right. Future generations are, and will be, grateful to him for it. Regardless of how one interprets the work of this cast, Shuman will always be responsible for anybody's English version of a Brel song because he was the one who sat down with Brel himself and worked it all out.

One thing this project experimented with to a good deal of success was using a female as Brel's voice for some of the more tender and vulnerable songs. I think 'Timid Frieda' and 'Old Folks' outshine Brel's originals due to that element and 'You're Not Alone' at least matches Brel. The two female cast members, Stone and Whitfield, sing throughout, but those solo performances are a nice touch.

Although Shuman and Elliott perform admirably, I find myself preferring Scott Walker's voice and sneer on 'Mathilde', 'Jackie', 'Amsterdam' and 'Next'. Walker projected more power and anyone who's into Brel should really seek out Walker's work if they haven't already.

Mortality is the foremost theme in all of Brel's work, and what made him so great is how he made death and poverty beautiful and not so much a tragedy. Still, for all the songs about dying and aging he'd still throw in a jaunty trot like 'Madeleine' or 'Brussels' to balance things out.

Moods aside, the music strikes the North American as very European and somewhat exotic for it has a richness of tradition and history that the Americas lack. Not necessarily in terms of time, but in terms of critical experience and culture. We don't know what it's like to live in a country that lost a war or to experiment with different forms of government or socialism on a grand scale. Brel's music comes from just such a place and it's interesting, leaving the listener somewhat jealous.

Brel's greatest talent in my opinion though is how he dealt with challenging and complex issues using such simple language that anybody can understand them, and not only that, but feel it in their heart. You just can't find anything more heartbreaking than 'Old Folks' and 'Fanette' anywhere and neither of them ever get dense or particularly poetic. They're like a raw feed, so to speak, from the center of existence.

Brel himself gets five stars anywhere but this particular interpretation gets four. That's a good four though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sparkling, engaging music, spirited lyrics, smart cast
Introduced to "Alive and well" in a college production in fall 1972, this album has captivated me for years, from young adulthood to middle age. The music is timeless, the energy is magnificent, the translated lyrics are moving, irony-filled, funny, spiteful, insightful and a whole lot more.

With this superb four-person cast, supported by a small number of instruments, the voices and lyrics make this a full-bodied hit. Mort Shuman's "Amsterdam," Brel's dedication to the night life in the port of the Dutch city, haunts and enlivens me. His "Next", a sad memory of his first sexual encounter, provided gratis by the army, makes it clear why he never wants to be "next" ever again. Elly Stone's voice leaves me near tears. Shawn Elliott and Alice Whitfield have slightly smaller roles and receive lesser accolades, but their contributions are memorable and make the production full, rich and well-rounded. The closing, "If we only have love," is a tribute to the author and to the cast. With 23 stylish numbers, this CD is one you can play endlessly, enjoying. Adding "The middle class" to this version is not only a nice 'extra', it is one of the best numbers, a memorable tribute to the terror of first despising the middle class, only to later find you are part of it, and despised as well.

These are 'show tunes' in the best sense of the term, and although there is no linear plot to follow, the music makes the show one worth repeating. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Jacque Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris - SUPERB
I've been looking for this CD for years and am delighted that it has finally been made available (and remastered!). You must listen to the words; then the music will just envelop you, and you won't be able to get the songs out of your mind. I was lucky enough to see the play when it ran in San Francisco with the original cast. ... Read more


196. Music From the Star Wars Saga
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Asin: B0002OOUTG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10567
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197. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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Asin: B00006IR5S
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1578
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Another multi-gazillion-dollar Hollywood franchise, another chapter in the remarkable career of John Williams. Though he's already been responsible for scoring some of the most overwhelmingly successful film series of all time, in tackling the second installment of the Harry Potter saga, Williams once again proves why his name is held in such high regard in scoring circles. While he utilizes the themes he established in Sorcerer's Stone, Williams's restless inventiveness still manages to cast this chapter in a fresh new musical light. Since many of the cues here are action or atmospheric-oriented, and thus lacking in need for strong melodic hooks, the veteran composer's mastery of orchestral color--and no small amount of stylistic reinvention--infuses the proceedings with a sense of wholeness and a surprising maturity that's a key element in conjuring up the film's crucial suspension of disbelief. Harry Potter may be but a fictional wizard, but John Williams proves yet again he's the real thing. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (73)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great CD! John Williams is Wonderful!
I bought Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets soundtrack and it is great! My favourite pieces are "Prologue: Book II and Escape from the Dursleys", "Fawkes the Phoenix" and "Harry's Wondrous world". This is a great cd for any Harry Potter fan! John Williams (the composer) did a wonderful job capturing Harry in music. It includes all of the pieces featured in the movie. The music expresses the excitement of the flying car and the darkness of the Chamber of Secrets. It has the happiness of everyone being together again at the end of the movie and the the magic of Fawkes the Phoenix. If you love the Harry Potter movie then you'll love the soundtrack!

5-0 out of 5 stars Another John Williams Masterpiece!
Yet another fantastic assembly of music from John Williams for the second installment of the Harry Potter stories. I think that Chamber of Secrets director Chris Columbus says it best:

"When John Williams and I first viewed the rough cut of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," we realized that the film, at it's core, still possessed the heart and soul of the first Harry Potter film. But Harry's second year at Hogwarts was also edgier, funnier and much more exciting. John's score would need to reflect the changes in Harry Potter's world, while not abandoning the thematic integrity of the original film's soundtrack."

"When you play this album, you'll hear the familiar themes that all of us have grown to love and associate with Harry Potter. You'll also hear a wealth of new material, a glorious tapestry of themes that are filled with humor, emotion and magic. Like the Potter novels, John Williams' new score is not a sequel. It is a timeless classic, a rich, complex work that brilliantly captures Harry's second year at Hogwarts."

~Chris Columbus. September 18, 2002. London

2-0 out of 5 stars Could Be Better
I didn't think that this was all this great. The songs sound the same after a while. The sound too similar to the first and there movie.
I do like it though. The music is nice and creative. But only to a point.
I would personally just stick with the first sound track.

3-0 out of 5 stars Out of Order
The music is pretty good, but the tracks go out of order when compared to the movie, which bugs me so much that I never listen to this.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great new themes!, everything else is (deja vu)
I really liked the additional 20 minutes written for this movie along with the new themes but that's about it. Everything else was material from the first movie rehashed by William Ross, thank god John actually wrote the 3rd movie's score because the end result is a fresh new score and it's way better then this one!, I've just finished listening to it. ... Read more


198. Catholic Latin Classics
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00004YRAW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8278
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Do you love the Latin Mass?
If you prefer the Tridentine rite (the Old Latin Mass) then this recording is for you. It's such a contrast from the banal claptrap we get nowadays (Dan Schutte, St. Louis Jesuits, et al., with their On Eagles Wings, Be Not Afraid, Glory to God, etc.) It's also not the least bit saccharine or overdone as is often the case with recordings of popular Catholic hymns and songs. The recording is tasteful and devotional, almost Anglo-Catholic in its execution, if you know what I mean. Nothing smacking of electric votive candles or overly sentimental renditions of To Jesus' Heart All Burning (not that that doesn't have its place!).

For the most part the arrangements are straightforward. My one regret is that the second verse of Tantum Ergo is a bit over arranged to the point where the melody is lost. I would have preferred if they had recorded Tantum Ergo with the first verse a capella (as they did) with an organ coming in for the second verse all the while swelling towards a resounding crescendo. That's the way it's done at the Benediction service I go to and that's the way I prefer it.

But don't let that stop you from buying it. The Regina Caeli Laetare is especially well done as is the Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, the latter bringing to mind images of the next papal Coronation (and yes, let's pray that it is a Coronation this time: triple tiara, crozier, etc.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
I would recommend this CD to anyone who is looking for a general Latin Catholic CD. The music soars and takes me back in time to the reverence of the Mass, and the focus on what truly is most important. Great to calm the mind and heart and guide in meditation. Especially appreciated are the liner notes in both Latin and English.

3-0 out of 5 stars GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS
OK, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that this recording is a welcome addition to any collection. The selections are classical Catholic hymns and melodies, rarely heard in churches now, and steeped in tradition. The Ave Maria by Bach and the one by Schubert are often heard at weddings. The Panis Angelicus is done with taste, with no dramatic effect. The singing by the Cathedral Singers of Chicago is up to par, not exceptional, but of good quality. The accompaniment is strange. I could not detect the sound of the organ, although the notes say there is one.

Now the bad news. (Has anyone ever read the encyclical on sacred music by Pope Pius XII?) It seems to me that the Catholic Church has lost all sense of sacred music. An obscure Jesuit from the backlands of Maine writes a new song and bingo, everyone wants to sing it. Christians have such a treasury of music but they hardly use it. Another point: this CD perpetuates the wrong idea that church music is to be listened to and not sung along. Catholics have lost the art of congregational singing, if ever they had it. Is this an attempt at correcting that?

I hope the next Pope will restore sacred music and insist that local churches listen. (I have left the RC Church by the way, and the main reason was music.)

5-0 out of 5 stars A serene and heavenly voice
This beautiful disk contains several main favorites of Latin hymnody that have remained albeit in the back of the Catholic memory, such as the Ave Marias. There are also a number of hymns or settings of well-known hymns with which the listener may not be familiar. The performances are serene, pure, dignified, and one might even say, "simple" in the sheer immediacy with which they speak to the soul. There is something of an English aesthetic to many of the chorales, but the warmth and balance of the ensemble and, of course, the perennial beauty of the music rise beyond some identifiably country: this is truly Catholic music with a small and majuscule "C". The Ave Verum Corpus may be the most beautiful piece of music ever bestowed by God, and the choir here realizes the gift. I like this disk most of all for its purity and sincerity -- there is no trace of either the "artsy" or the "schmaltzy" on this disk. It's said that to sing is to pray twice. I think that here they pray thrice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Burn the "Glory and Praise" hymnal!
For those who have had enough of folk masses, youth masses, and "On Eagle's Wings" - as I have, since about 1988 - this is the antidote. I resent the 1960's generation who felt the need to throw out 1500 years of beautiful sacred music and replace it with the Paul Simon-like strains of "Here I Am Lord." When I hear this music in Latin, all I can say is "DEO GRATIAS!" ... Read more


199. Bye Bye Birdie (1960 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $8.99
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Asin: B00004THM0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4551
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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A lighthearted romp reflecting the Elvis revolution,Bye Bye Birdie follows Albert Peterson (a pre-MaryPoppins Dick Van Dyke),the manager of rock & roller Conrad Birdie (Dick Gautier), who issweeping through the town of Sweet Apple on a publicity stuntsurrounding his being drafted into the Army. Meanwhile, Albert'sfaithful but exasperated secretary (Chita Rivera) hopes he will give up showbusiness to settle down with her and become a respectable Englishteacher. In CharlesStrouse and LeeAdams's energetic and tuneful score, Van Dyke sings the standard"Put On a Happy Face," the high schoolers are high schoolers ("A Lot ofLivin' to Do," "The Telephone Hour," "One Boy") and bewilder theirparents ("Kids"), Gautier thrusts his hips ("Honestly Sincere," "OneLast Kiss"), and homage is paid to that icon of home entertainment, EdSullivan ("Hymn for a Sunday Evening"). Bye Bye Birdie won the1961 Tony for Best Musical, and Van Dyke reprised his role in the 1963film version. The 2000 remastering features outstanding clarity as wellas a bonus track of Strouse himself introducing and singing "Put On aHappy Face" at a Smithsonian lecture in 1978. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Original Version - Original Charm
What bad thing can you say about the original version of the musical that stole America's heart? Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera, and Susan Watson are all magnificant! This C.D. has the original charm, which makes it special every time you listen to it. I've done this play, and when I first heard this C.D., I knew this was the musical for me!

5-0 out of 5 stars We Love You Conrad.
Out of all the various versions of this beloved musical, this is the best BYE BYE BIRDIE album to own. Starring Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera, this album captures the comical and satirical essence that is BYE BYE BIRDIE. Some of my favorite songs include:

"An English Teacher"

"The Telephone Hour"

"Put on a Happy Face"

"Honestly Sincere

"Hymn for a Sunday Evening"

"Kids"

"Rosie"

This is a great album to listen to if you have ever been in the play and is the most true to the script. Avoid the movie version, unless you want to hear Ann-Margaret.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Nostalgic Classic
One of the classics of the American Musical Theater. In 1960, between the Elvis craze and Beatlemania. And Dick VanDyke's breakout role - that led to his TV show with MTM. Some parts of our culture from "Telephone Hour" to "Put on a Happy Face" to "Kids" and "A Lot of Livin' to Do". I did the show in college and my favorite part of the score is the dance break in "Put on A Happy Face" - great big-band arrangement that got lost in the movie. Close your eyes and see VanDyke's physical comedy/dance/slapstick at its best. (And yes, the sad little girl laughs - with a 'happy face' after all the shenanigans!)

3-0 out of 5 stars cute work but not outstanding
I liked this album but I wouldn't classify it as one of the best OCR around. Dick Van Dyke is not a great singer but I'd imagine he was dynamite to see on stage. Chita Rivera does her usual great job and Dick Gauthier's singing will surprise folks who only know him from "The Love Boat" or "Fanatasy Island". Worth owning if only to complete your collection of Broadway shows.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very underappreciated musical
With an outstanding cast headed by the great Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera and Paul Lynde, and many wonderful songs including Kids, Whole Lotta Livin to Do, Spanish Rosie, and my personal favorite Hymm for a Sunday Night, this semi-spoof of a late 50s rock star (Conrad Birdie), a songwriter, his overbearing mother and the woman he loves and almost loses is in my opinion a highly underrated and entertaining musical. As grounded as it is in its time period, at the same time it explores timeless themes and is as fresh today as when it was first released. The movie version is fine too, with the amazing Ann Margaret in her prime, but musically the Broadway recording is the best. ... Read more


200. Agnus Dei: Music of Inner Harmony
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000005E4J
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2493
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Beyond this recording's new age packaging and title is a splendid sampling of some of the world's finest choral music, sung by one of the world's outstanding choirs. This "anthology of sacred choral music" spans 400 years and includes such masterpieces as Allegri's Miserere, Bach's "Jesu, joy of man's desiring," and Barber's exquisite Agnus Dei, which is the composer's choral setting of his famous Adagio for Strings. Along the way we also hear Mozart's sublime "Ave verum corpus," Elgar's "Lux aeterna," and the Kyrie from Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli. There has been a choir at England's New College, Oxford, since the year 1379, and this impressive line of experience shows in the intelligent, unfaltering, and finely polished performances by today's ensemble of 16 boys and 12 adults.--David Vernier ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Music to Feed Your Soul
This is one of those albums that is conceived as a program carefully calculated to give the listener Goosebumps and evoke a tear from the eye. When lesser musicians try to pull such a stunt, the effect is maddening. You feel as though you are being emotionally manipulated, and you resent it. When the efforts of first class musicians such as Higginbottom and the Choir of New College, Oxford, attempt such a feat, it is an emotional, musical, and religious experience. The majority of the repertoire heard on this disc is quite familiar to most listeners in one form or another, but you will rarely hear a choir of such clean, precise and yet passionate sound take on these pieces.

The first selection on the disc is Samuel Barber's own transcription of his "Adagio for Strings" to the Mass text, "Agnus Dei." This composition is difficult for string players to keep in tune, so we can imagine how difficult it is for a choir to sustain the pitch a cappella! The New College performance is a "must hear." Words fail to adequately convey the beauty, balance, and intense music making captured on this disc. The effect is hypnotic. The conductor had the good sense and taste to offer a program with enough variety that you are given an emotional rest on occasion, but the basic meditative atmosphere is sustained throughout the program. The Elgar transcription of "Lux Aeterna" arranged by John Cameron is particularly worth treasuring. It shares much of the ethos of the Barber work and is rarely heard in this form.

The Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Faure which round out the work are very familiar favorites and given graceful, splendid performances. They are so good, in fact, that it would make the album a great gift idea for churches to give amateur choir members as a thank you and inspiration for improvement. The Rachmaninoff and Gorecki are music for the initiated and receive convincing, winning performances here. The Allegri, though rarely heard, is a hauntingly beautiful composition and was a particular favorite of Mozart.

This beautiful album makes a wonderful background for meditation. It is the perfect music to glory in when your soul is thirsty.

5-0 out of 5 stars Agnus Dei by The Choir of New College, Oxford
Two of the most beautiful choral masterpieces ever penned are included in this recording. "Miserere mei, Deus" by Gregorio Allegri features stunning ly beautiful treble solos by Thomas Herford and William Petter. The beauty of this work cannot be described by mere words. One must hear it to fully appreciate its beauty. Also featured on this album is "Hear my Prayer" by Felix Mendelssohn. This choral piece features another beautiful treble solo by Thomas Herford. The ending segment of this choral masterpiece has been extracted by many cathedral choirs and treble soloists and recorded under the name "O for the Wings of a Dove". (The most notable rendition was recorded by Anthony Way, a chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral and featured in a "Masterpiece Theater" presentation of "The Choir",which he starred in as the main character, Henry Francis Ashworth. (an interesting piece of trivia worth mentioning)). Other works featured on this album include pieces by Bach, Fuare', Mozart, Rachmaninov, Elgar, Gorecki, and Tavener. This album is truely a choral masterpiece!!

5-0 out of 5 stars If anything, buy for the Mozart
I usually don't like these sort of "Classical Mixes" that give you snippets of work that are particularily interesting to the non-initiated. For the sake of classical music, it's far better to listen to an entire piece and appreciate it on the whole.

However, this album contains one of the best recordings of "Ave Verum Corpus" I have ever heard. Even if you are only a casual listener of classical, this performance will turn your ears inside-out. The sheer beauty of this rendition is ethereal, the synthesis of voices and strings perfect, and the conducting flawless. It conveys a good portion of the full weight of Mozart's joyful genius. If the mood is constructed just right then and there, I get tearful.

Listening to Mozart; I hear the most effusive joy, even in his Requiem. It's as if he is rejoicing at the gift of his talent by exercising it fully in every piece. But if Mozart was ever arrogant or pompous in life, I cannot hear it in his music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transformed
This CD contains works so masterfully executed that you feel that you are in a church hearing the works performed live. I used this CD in my church for meditation at Eastertide. I listen to it every day and am transported to the place that the CD advertises, a place of inner harmony. I highly recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Contemplative harmonies
Choral collections abound but few have a sense of unity, the general preferences by the consumers so often is a 'sampler' disc of beautiful but unrelated music. AGNUS DEI is practically a formal concert by the Choir of New College, Oxford directed by Edward Higginbottom - a choral group comprised of all males, the treble voices being sung by boys and the tenor and bass lines sung by men. The quality of sound is superb and ethereal as only such choirs can sound. The variety varies from Palestrina , Bach and Mozart through Faure and Rachmaninov to Samuel Barber and John Taverner and even Gorecki. The accompaniment when indicated is the elegant organ of the New College Chapel. For those who yearn for moments of peace and inspiration, this is a first rate, high quality recording. ... Read more


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