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Neotech 1901172 Soft Sax Strap - Swivel XL
Neotech 1901172 Soft Sax Strap - Swivel XL
Offered by B&G Music
Price: $18.17
11 used & new from $13.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Unintelligent Misdesigner Strikes Again!, October 24, 2014
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Perhaps I'm unjust in supposing that this strap was designed by a Tea Party Congressman. It IS plainly designated as a sax strap, but I was directed to it while searching for a bassoon strap. Still, I tried it on my tenor sax and I would have the same complaints if I'd purchased it for that instrument. First of all, it claims to be XL. It isn't; it's barely long enough for alto sax or a tenor played by a small person. Second, it's not quickly adjustable; if you play only one instrument, that wouldn't matter, but a strap at this price should be more practically designed. Third and most important, the clip is plastic junk! It won't stand up to professional or avid amateur use for long. And it's too fat! The hook won't slip into the typical metal eyes on most instruments, or it slips in only partially and therefore insecurely. Look for something else, musician friends! It's probably worth your while to go to a good old-fashioned music shop, where you can see what you're getting

Stohlquist Contact Glove, Black/Charcoal, X-Large
Stohlquist Contact Glove, Black/Charcoal, X-Large
Price: $21.12
4 used & new from $19.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm Not the Jolly Green Giant!, October 11, 2014
This review is from: Stohlquist Contact Glove (Sports)
I'm average height, about 5'10" after some age-related shrinkage. I do have large hands, nothing freakishly noticeable but I always want XL gloves and that's what I ordered from Stohlquist. The gloves are indeed labeled XL, but they're far too tight on my hands, so tight that I can predict that the seams will split by the third time I wear them. This is only a caveat emptor for other glove shoppers with large hands. My three star rating is intended to be neutral about the quality and durability of the gloves, since I haven't given them the test of time and use.

Mozart: Clarinet Quintet, Horn Quintet, String Quintet
Mozart: Clarinet Quintet, Horn Quintet, String Quintet
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $6.67
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of course the clarinet quintet is the masterpiece ..., July 25, 2014
... but it's the horn quintet that I've been listening to this morning, on this CD that's been in my collection for quite some time. This is music of boisterous joie de vivre yet suffused with nuance and subtlety, and the nuances are what one hears in the natural horn virtuosity of Lowell Greer. Mozart knew what a natural horn could do. He knew the horn player, his friend Joseph Leutgeb. He intended what he composed to capture what the horn and its master could do. Yes, there are closed tones and other peculiarities of timbre to be heard when a natural horn does the unnatural things required to play complex and virtuosic passagework. Could a modern French horn, with its four rotary valves, simulate those nuances? Probably so, but no modern French horn player has ever made the attempt.
This quintet can be previewed in its entirety on youtube. Then you can compare it to performances by modern horn players, even unto Dennis Brain. Be my guest. You may even prefer the brassy bumptiousness of the modern strings and horn ...
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2014 11:15 PM PDT

Masses & Chansons
Masses & Chansons
Price: $43.00
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Niche!, June 25, 2014
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This review is from: Masses & Chansons (Audio CD)
Poor Firminus Caron! Sandwiched between Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474) and Johannes Ockeghem (1425-1497), the two greatest composers of the 15th Century! Sounding at times a lot like the former, at times even more like the latter! Seldom performed or recorded in comparison to either. One wonders if Caron occasionally felt like sliced turkey breast!

Well now, the turkey wasn't known in Europe in Caron's era. And the neglect of Caron's music is an artifact of the 20th Century. The outstanding music theorist of the 15th C, Johannes Tinctoris, ranked Caron among the finest , as did another proto-musicologist a century later, Hermann Finck. Caron was particularly esteemed in Italy, where most of his compositions have survived, although it isn't known whether he spent time there. Caron's "Helas que pourra devenir" is the second-most commonly included chanson in the various manuscripts of the period. In other words, Caron had credentials and credibility.

Almost nothing is known about his life, however, not even the dates of his birth and death. He probably met Dufay in Cambrai in the 1460s or 1470s. He may well have been roughly the same age as Ockeghem; one can only guess. His music was plainly influenced by Dufay -- everybody's was -- but it sounds, especially the five surviving masses, much more like Ockeghem's. That doesn't mean Caron was under the influence of Ockeghem. One could argue the opposite, since Caron's music chiefly dates from the 1460s, and it's widely supposed that Ockeghem composed most of his works rather late in his long life. One thing the two have in common: a predilection for richly ornamented and expansive bass parts, liberating the bass from merely singing a "countertenor bassus" expanding the harmonies of the tenor part. Ockeghem was reputed to be an excellent bass singer, so perhaps Caron was another.

Modern musicologists have tended to regard Caron's masses as a blend of the thrilling sonority of Dufay's and the profundity of Ockeghem's -- the melodic genius of the former with the rhythmic complexity of the latter. And that's exactly so, but is it a flaw or a virtue? The "historical" approach to musicology, to my mind, overvalues originality and distinctiveness, and thus underesteems Caron. Listen to this CD, especially the two masses on disk 2, and form your own opinion. "Jesus autem" has the fervor and unity that Ockeghem's mathematical genius seldom achieved. "L'Homme Arme" is subtler in its use of the cantus firmus, and more cohesive, than any other mass using the famous themesong of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Each of Caron's masses has a dramatic high point, a spiritual climax reminiscent of Dufay's ability to rouse the monks from their choir stalls.

The all-male voices of "The Sound and the Fury" are as rousing as those of any singers in the musical marketplace. They are not afraid of sounding bold and theatrical, and the resonant ambiance of their recordings magnifies their boldness. Their blend is superb, with the basses most expressive, as should be the case for this music. Their tempi thrust the polyphony forward. Their rhythmic interpretations are the perfect combination of assurance and independence, always together, always free. This is the sort of performance, once heard by enough people, to elevate Caron from the crevice of obscurity where he had fallen into the proper statuary niche where he belongs, alongside Ockeghem, Josquin, and later masters.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2014 12:55 PM PDT

Missa Ave Maris Stella
Missa Ave Maris Stella
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS is how to sing Josquin!, June 11, 2014
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This review is from: Missa Ave Maris Stella (Audio CD)
All male voices, one or two on a part! I sat around yesterday and listened to the kyries from a dozen polyphonic masses sung by a dozen different currently performing ensembles. Honestly, all twelve were thrilling, even the over-hyped Tallis Scholars. Hey, I love polyphony! However, the all male ensembles thrilled me most; there's a cohesion of timbres that "convinces" me both musically and affectively. Several of the mixed-voice ensembles rely on upward transposition, which may work as concert music but which stifles the profundity of (dare I, an atheist, use the word?) Spirituality.

The eight voices of Cappella Pratensis are all superb simply as Sounds, but it's their tightness of ensemble and their security of rhythm that make this interpretation outstanding. The lucent "boy-soprano" voices of conductor Stratton Bull and Andrew Hallock balance wonderfully with the more dramatic masculine surge of the basses and tenors. Neither Bull nor Hallock is still a boy, by the way, though Hallock looks mighty boyish in the cover photo. The tall chap in that photo, bassus Lionel Meunier, is also the director of a marvelous vocal ensemble, Vox Luminis, which specializes in a later Baroque repertoire of sacred music.

"This recording," it says in the notes, "aims to recapture a sense of the ceremonial context that would have surrounded Josquin's sacred polyphony in a place where he sang and composed and where his music continued in use long after he left. That ritual context is the Saturday Mass for the Blessed Virgin during Advent, a liturgy focused on the Annunciation story; that place the Sistine Chapel in Rome."
You'll have to imagine the Sistine Chapel; the recording was actually made in a church in Belgium. But the details of the liturgy are extraordinarily authentic. The two motets inserted in the mass are fine works of Josquin himself, as are the polyphonic sections of the opening Hymnus "Ave Maris Stella," one of the most exalted chants of the Medieval church and the structural 'tenor' of Josquin's four-voice polyphonic mass. The plainchant sections of this liturgical concert are gorgeously sung. The Mass is a bounty of melodic exaltation, one of Josquin's most gracious masterworks. Cappella Pratensis always sings from "original" white notation, using a large choirbook, in parts rather than score, poised on a lectern. This is NOT an affectation of authenticity! If you know something of the rhythmic conventions of Franco-Flemish notation and vocal technique, I swear you'll be able to hear the difference in the horizontally flowing freedom of the parts. Josquin, by the way, used the full four-part texture sparingly; like his mentor Ockeghem, he set much of the mass text in varying combinations of two or three voices. The concluding Agnus Dei is a rapturous celebration of "Mary, Star of the Sea" -- saturated with the chant melody in canonic flux of Tempus Perfectus (triple meter) and Tempus Imperfectus (duple meter). So beautiful that I think I'll stop writing here and go listen to it again!
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2014 12:49 AM PDT

Ockeghem/De La Rue: Requiem
Ockeghem/De La Rue: Requiem
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bird Lives!" Well, so does Ockeghem!, June 10, 2014
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Johannes Ockeghem (c.1410 - 1497) was adulated by his contemporaries and successors as fervently as jazz master Charlie Parker was by his. I can imagine graffiti on cloister and cathedral walls saying "Ockeghem Lives." Unlike Parker, Ockeghem was well off and respected by the Powers That Were, awarded numerous lucrative sinecures by the French kings, including the office of Treasurer of the Church of Saint Martin at Tours, and dispatched to Spain in 1470 on a mission of diplomacy by Louis XI. He was reputed to be a kindly man of probity and piety. He lived some 87 years, compared to Parker's 35, and most probably his "drug of choice" was Music itself. He was patently the most influential composer of his era; among his 'disciples' were Josquin Deprez and Pierre de la Rue.

Fifteen of his polyphonic masses have survived in whole or in part, along with a mere six motets and roughly 21 chansons. Of the masses, this Requiem is the most often recorded, and that's peculiar. It's not by any means his best work, nor is it typical of his intricate style. It's almost certainly incomplete, known only from one source, the Chigi Codex. Musicologists have disagreed about its authenticity and about its claim to have been the "first polyphonic requiem" ever composed. The competitor for that latter honor would be a lost Requiem Mass by Guillaume Dufay. Dufay (1397-1474) is properly regarded today as the greatest master of the generation before Ockeghem, although the two composers met and perhaps shared music. Some musicologists have suggested that Ockeghem's Requiem in fact includes or paraphrases portions of the lost Dufay. In any case, Ockegehm's work is not structured around and unified by a recurring "tenor" chant or by themes from a secular chanson, as were the mass of the masses of the "Franco-Flemish" masters. Each of its five movements is built around a different segment of chant, chiefly sung without embellishment, and the whole work is largely "homophonic" rather than complexly polyphonic in Ockeghem's usual vein. The effect is almost archaic. It's not a work of intellectual unity ... and yet it IS unified in its affect of resigned serenity and profound (deep) sonority. Ockeghem was known as a magnificent bass singer and 'profundity' - descending to C or B-flat below the bass clef - was a hallmark of his manner.

Cappella Pratensis luxuriates in Ockeghem's serenity and profundity. The lower voices are lusciously dark and strong. The tempi of portions of this performance are perilously/peerlessly slow; such serene stillness is harder to "pull off" than a more animated rendition, but Pratensis sustains the solemn rhetoric of phrases while luxuriating in the consonance of the music's homophony. The Requiem is ostensibly a four-voice composition, though about four fifths of it is assigned to three or two voices. Pratensis sings two-on-a-part ... or do they? The precision of diction and tuning is so fine, especially between the countertenors Statton Bull and Andrew Hallock, that my ears are often uncertain when and if parts are being doubled. If pressed, I'd say not.

In short, this Requiem is superbly and movingly sung, a performance a notch above any other on CD.

Pierre de la Rue (c. 1452 - 1518) was a generation younger than Ockeghem, but it's possible that his Requiem was composed rather soon after Ockeghem's. The mere idea of setting the funeral liturgy in polyphony was still unorthodox and indeed approved reluctantly. Nevertheless, following Ockeghem's lead, composers including at least Fevin, Prioris, Richafort, and Brumel produced Requiem masses within Pierre's generation, and Pierre's Requiem was chosen for weekly performance by the Order of the Golden Fleece starting in 1501. Pierre's mass bears obvious similarities to Ockeghem's, especially in voicing, but it's both thematically more unified and stylistically more diverse. There's a touch of flamboyance in its sobriety, a vibrancy that Pratensis captures with delicate virtuosity. Despite the reverence felt for Ockeghem and his Requiem, Pierre's setting was more widely disseminated. At least six manuscripts of it have survived. Pierre was, if anything, even more professionally successful than Ockeghem, serving as a singer and composer of the highest rank in the Habsburg-Burgundian "Grande Chapelle" for most of his mature career. His Requiem is ineluctably one of the musical monuments of the 15th Century, and Pratensis gives it a performance commensurate with its genius.
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 16, 2014 10:01 AM PDT

Olympus Stylus TG-2 iHS Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Red) (Old Model)
Olympus Stylus TG-2 iHS Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Red) (Old Model)
9 used & new from $307.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Wonder!, April 29, 2014
I bought this camera in Hawaii, on the spur of the moment, to use while snorkling. I'd used other cameras underwater and I can swear that this one works as well as any ... which is only as well as the water clarity and the persistence of the snorkler allows. I took dozen of shots, almost all of which are just murky mementos of a great vacation. The camera survived hours of underwater time without a scratch or a leak.
Meanwhile, I discovered by serendipity that this is a superb pocket camera for above water. Light as it is, the shutter touch is even lighter, making it easier to take hand-held pictures without jiggling. My mini Panasonic, by comparison, demands that It touch the shutter button ever so gingerly; even so, I sometimes take photos of empty space.
But the real wonder of this Olympus in its macro settings! Precise focus and excellent depth of field even at a few inches from the subject! Unexcelled for hand-held shots of flowers, insects, keyholes, tattoos, whatever!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2014 10:06 AM PDT

Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos 4 & 5 /Schoonderwoerd * Ensemble Cristofori
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos 4 & 5 /Schoonderwoerd * Ensemble Cristofori
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imagine yourself in a large room ..., April 3, 2014
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... the largest room in the largest house of your richest friend. How large? Let’s visualize it as ten meters wide by twenty meters long. Plenty big for a debutante’s ball. But now install a modern symphony orchestra with a concert grand piano: you’ll barely have room to stand and your ears won’t survive a performance of a Beethoven Piano Concerto. But let’s get historical and set ourselves in the salon of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz, where Beethoven himself played fortepiano in his Fourth Concerto in 1807. The chamber orchestra, with a mere dozen strings and several winds, would still have been imposing in such a room. Or shall we hear the premiere of Beethoven’s Fifth Keyborad Concerto in the Leipziger Gewandhaus? Not the Gewandhaus of 2014, however! The first Gewandhaus was really the ordinary building of the Leipzig guild of textile merchants, where the meeting hall was a modest space smaller than the lobby of most modern concert auditoriums. Now honestly, wouldn’t you rather hear a chamber orchestra like Ensemble Cristofori in such a space? The modern symphony orchestra and the modern metal-framed grand piano evolved in response to the acoustics of mammoth concert halls beyond anything Beethoven could have foreseen. Do I need to say, “for better or worse?” Of course, a tiny period orchestra with a puny fortepiano would sound skimpy in today's major concert halls ...

But wait? What does this have to do with reality? THIS IS A RECORDING! A CD! If the modern orchestra is too loud, you turn it down, right? And if the period orchestra isn’t thunderous enough for you, you turn the volume up, especially if you’re listening on your car radio while driving from Brisbane to Wagga Wagga. If raw volume isn’t the issue, what is? In fact, Ensemble Cristofori’s performance of the Fifth Concerto is magnificently thunderous. The period instruments and chamber-scaled forces render a wider spectrum of dynamics, from pianissimo to crash-issimo, than you can hear on recordings of humongous modern orchestras. Trust your ears here, not your prejudices!

The “fortepiano” differs from the modern grand in more ways than simple volume. The narrower register of the instrument sounds distinctly “uneven” in timbre in its upper, middle and lower ranges. The upper notes are glassy, tinkly, bell-like; the lowest octave sounds more like a timpani than a lute. That difference in timbres from high to low has been treated as a defect in the instrument by later music critics, but in fact one could make a case that such contrasting timbres help make sense of otherwise homogenous counterpoint. The harpsichord of Beethoven’s apprenticeship had two keyboards, coupled and uncoupled, to achieve the “dialogue” of registers that 18th C composers relished. To my ears, it sounds as if Beethoven intended to exploit the contrasts of upper and lower ‘voices’ on the fortepiano in both of these concertos, exploiting not only harder/softer touch on the keys but also the rumbly/glassy timbres of his instrument to create tension and dialogue. In effect, I’m suggesting that the fortepiano has an interpretive edge over the modern grand, apart from any deficiencies of decibels.

The robust resonance of the modern orchestra’s string sections is necessary for modern public - democratic! popular! - concert hall performances, but that resonance is a timbre killer. Listen to this CD without prejudice, please, and hear the surprisingly distinct colors of the violas and cellos in dialogue with the violins! Notice the transparency of the strings throughout, allowing the timbres of the winds to be more poignant, pungent, colorful! Notice how effectively the fortepiano stitches its presence into the orchestral fabric even when the orchestra is in full cry! You may not hear grandiloquence in this performance but you’ll hear passage-work and piquancy that you’ve not heard on other CDs.

And let’s not fail to appreciate the precision of Arthur Schoonderwoerd’s keyboard technique. There isn’t a single measure of perfunctory tinkle or pounding in Schoonderwoerd’s Beethoven. Every phrase is alert to its own importance. Don’t try to listen to this CD while doing your taxes or trolling the internet! The tighter your concentration, the more you’ll be thrilled.

Isn’t it grand to live in 2014! Strawberries in our markets year-round! Hockey and soccer on TV to choose from, whatever the weather outside! Arthur Rubenstein / Arthur Schoonderwoerd ... AND rather than OR! To denigrate this performance with a one-star review, as has been done here on amazon, is no better than an ideological hissy fit. This is a beautiful CD. Don't deprive your ears of it!
Comment Comments (19) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 11:23 AM PDT

O Seligkeit!: Franz Schubert Partsongs
O Seligkeit!: Franz Schubert Partsongs
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O Fellowship! O Sociability!, March 31, 2014
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Why didn't I review this wonderful performance years ago, when I first heard it? Irresponsible neglect on my part! I've listened to it more often than many CDs of music of greater fame and (let's be honest) greater profundity. This is NOT profound Romanticism. The part songs were composed by jolly young Franz Schubert to be shared with his other jolly and mostly young friends. The "Heldenbabble" view of Schubert as a tormented introvert does not comport with this selection of bright-eyed and warm-hearted chamber music.
And the Egidius Kwartet is the farthest thing from grave Romanticism! They have fun singing, as you'll hear on this CD and as you can both hear and see on YouTube. Nearly all of their CDs are of the "Early Music" variety, especially of 15th-17th Century vocal polyphony, a repertoire for which they are among the "top five" in artistry. They have the infectious elation of the best barbershop quartet ever to sing motets.
Meanwhile I hadn't paid enough heed to the delicious fortepiano accompaniment by Arthur Schoonderwoerd. I suppose I took it for granted that Peter de Groot, the leader of Egidius, would hire the craftiest keyboardist in town. Schoonderwoerd is more than a mere accompanist. With his Ensemble Cristofori, he's produced several vibrant and gorgeous recordings of "piano" concertos by Mozart and Beethoven, using period fortepianos and period-scaled chamber orchestras.
Soprano Johannette Zomer enlivens the performances with the elegance and clarity of her vocal technique. I need to hear more of her Schubert Lieder.
But you don't need a hard sell from yours truly. There are MP3 samples on this product page. Listen and love!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2014 8:29 PM PDT

Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes
Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes
Price: $8.61
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schooderwoerd Takes Schlop out of Schopin!, March 30, 2014
Two things make this CD exceptionally enjoyable even to someone (like me) who seldom relishes Chopin. The first is Arthur Schoonderwoerd's tasteful restraint; of course it helps that his technique is impeccable. The second is the tonal clarity of the 1836 piano he plays for this recording; my ears tell me that he has tuned it to a Werckmeister or similar non-equal temperament, besides which the light uncrossed stringing releases each note from the overtone rumble of 20th C pianos.
Thanks to the obstreperous Australian reviewer who brought Schoonderwoerd to my attention.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 11:51 AM PDT

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