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SBeckmesser's Profile

Customer Reviews: 8
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Helpful Votes: 68

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SBeckmesser RSS Feed (New York City)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing service, April 20, 2012
I ordered one of these (in Navy) yesterday and it arrived today! Less than 24 hours and with no special handling requested! The bag itself is on the lightweight side and probably won't last all that long in really heavy-duty service or as frequently checked luggage. But I was fully expecting this and the similarly constructed bag the new one is replacing has lasted a good 5 years going to the gym and as carry-on luggage. Not bad for the price.

Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics)
Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics)
Price: $5.46

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition positives and negatives, March 31, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not owning an actual Kindle, but reading instead on my PC via the Kindle Cloud Reader (and secondarily on my iPod Touch), the Kindle version of the Penguin edition of Milton's Paradise Lost (edited by John Leonard) offers one very substantial improvement over the print version: an indication that there's an endnote for a given line of poetry given by endnote numbers embedded in the poetic text. Clicking on the number sends you directly to that note. This is important because the endnotes by John Leonard are among the best of any lower-cost modern annotated edition of Paradise Lost (his introduction is also very good). Stripped of such annotations, as in the "naked" texts you can get for free from Amazon or Google, there's little chance the modern reader would be able to fully appreciate Milton's achievement. (Putting the notes at the end is the usual Penguin Classics practice with its printed books and is the principal flaw of its otherwise fine paperback series of Shakespeare plays.)

There are also drawbacks with the Kindle edition, however. There is no running header or footer indicating which "Book" of the poem you are in while skimming through -- it's all one congealed mass of text. Even worse, the original line numbers placed every five lines here also receive a line of their own. This upsets the margins in such a way that it looks like the poem is constructed in 5-line stanzas, which it is not and, equally detrimental, also upsets the visual rhythms of the poetry. These two factors make the poem harder to read out loud (Milton's poetry should be heard, even if only in your mind's ear) or to call up a specific passage that might be referred to in a classroom or in an essay in some other book. For example, getting to Line 263 of Book I ("Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.") is FAR quicker in the print edition than the Kindle one where you have to go to the table of contents to cue the first page of Book I and then turn pages one by one to get to Line 263. Navigation of a digital book should not be as cumbersome as this. Let this be a warning to publishers and buyers of electronic editions of Paradise Lost and other epic poems (Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Chaucer etc.), not to mention other major works with multiple layers of standardized labelled and/or numbered subdivisions, like Shakespeare or the Bible.

Lemminkainen Ste Op.22: 4 Legends From Kalevala
Lemminkainen Ste Op.22: 4 Legends From Kalevala
Price: $21.18
13 used & new from $6.95

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing sound quality, October 7, 2009
Most disappointing. I have to agree with the 2007 review. I've listened to this recording both in this release and in its incarnation in the Essential Sibelius compilation, also from BIS. Heard over my reference-quality headphones, the string tone is quite annoyingly nasal compared to the vast majority of orchestral recordings even to other recordings from these performers (such as the Sibelius symphonies, also on BIS). Given the importance of the strings in Sibelius orchestrations, there are other, better-sounding recordings of these pieces that serve the music much better, such as the bargain box of the complete tone poems conducted by Neeme Järvi(Deutsche Grammophon).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2010 6:02 AM PST

Haydn: The London Symphonies
Haydn: The London Symphonies
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $33.63
19 used & new from $22.71

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tight, crisp, well-propelled, March 24, 2009
The sound is relatively up-close, yet clean and natural. The orchestra plays on modern instruments and is audibly smaller than, say, the Concertgebouw orchestra in the Colin Davis (Philips) and Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Warner) performances. The performances here are well-propelled and more rhythmically snappy and either of those worthy cycles. The orchestral layout, disappointingly, is the standard "modern" layout, with both violin sections on the left getting in each other's way. And unfortunately, the only modern-instrument cycle I know of with divided violins (which approximates the layout actually used by Haydn in London) is the comparatively slack set led by Leonard Slatkin (BMG/RCA)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2014 10:37 AM PDT

Wagner - Gotterdammerung
Wagner - Gotterdammerung
DVD ~ Wolfgang Schmidt
Price: $48.99
5 used & new from $25.94

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wretched stereo sound, October 11, 2007
This review is from: Wagner - Gotterdammerung (DVD)
The DTS surround sound, which is pretty good, is nonetheless SYNTHESIZED, as the remastering credits on the last page of the booklet make perfectly clear. On the other hand, the PCM stereo soundtrack, which presumably served as the basis of the of the multichannel synthesis, sounds like it derived from a low-bitrate webcast (like MP3 or WMA running at 44 kbps) and is disgracefully bad from such a prestigious company and such a modern recording. The Barenboim ring (Warners) sounds better in stereo and has true surround sound. Besides the DG technical quality, I enjoyed the performance, the minimalist, non-Eurotrash staging and the unobtrusive video direction. The opening Norn scene, which has been tough to bring off on video, I thought particularly well handled. The shark-fin shape shown on the cover derives from the Wieland Wagner's 2nd Bayreuth staging (1962) of Tristan Act III. It also serves as a handy reflector for the voices standing in front of it.

Kodak EasyShare 5300 All-in-One Printer Print, Copy, and Scan (8804056)
Kodak EasyShare 5300 All-in-One Printer Print, Copy, and Scan (8804056)
Offered by Integrity Woman
Price: $399.95
7 used & new from $113.22

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flakey -- beware!, October 10, 2007
After working just fine from the day I purchased it, on the very first attempt to replace the ink cartridges with new ones the printer keeps insisting that they still have to be replaced. And this problem persists after the latest (as of Oct.11,07) firmware upgrade and the online-recommended cleaning procedure. (As an electronics engineer, I fail to see the how such a superficial cleaning could help what is essentially a sensor/firmware problem.) The 1st email I got from Kodak help was essentially a duplicate of the online help (with alcohol subsituted for water as the cleaning fluid). The second email I got recommended a printhead cleaning procedure that actually is impossible to perform(!) if the printer is in an error state, as it is when the cartridges supposedly need to be replaced. And this error state essentially locks out even the non-printing functions such as scanning, making the machine completely worthless if you run out of ink or the printhead fails. In the 5300's case all-in-one apparently means one fault will shut down all printer functions!

Update Feb08: Kodak for free replaced the ink cartridges and the printhead (even though there was no error msg stating the latter was defective) and the printer worked fine until this week when the cartridges ran out and I tried to replace them. Now the ink from the black cartridge isn't coming out and yet I get no error messages. And even though the cartridges are genuine and BRAND NEW, according to the printer's status monitor they are now half empty -- without a single correct printout to show for it. Apparently the system counts attempts to put ink droplets on the page as it adds up ink usage, whether or not those droplets actually make it to paper -- a poorly thought-out "open-loop" monitoring system. I'm now half out of ink while all I've done is several printhead cleanings and attempts to print out the built in "demo sheet," none of which have been successful. Kodak is now sending me new ink cartridges having deduced over the phone that the black cartridge is defective. If that doesn't work they say they will replace the printer. None of these problems should occur with a properly designed and quality-controlled product.

Summary: every time I've tried to replace an ink cartridge the system has become inoperable. The down time so far is not worth the supposed "savings" on ink cost, although I guess I am actually saving on ink because Kodak is supplying nearly all of it for free! STAY AWAY FROM THIS AND THE OTHER KODAK 5000-series designs.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2008 8:14 PM PDT

by Anton Bruckner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.42
31 used & new from $11.89

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware of shoddy laser printing, April 11, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My copy of this score was laser-printed, and poorly at that. For example, the beams between 8th notes (and shorter notes) are almost all blurred together making it difficult to tell the true note durations. Also it is often difficult to distinguish among the blobby sharp, flat and natural signs.

This is a mini score exactly reproducing the lastest Nowak Bruckner Edition study score which is already reduced in size from that Edition's full/conductor score. So the printing quality in such a small format as the Eulenburg is crucial and here they have failed. Beware of this and other Eulenburg laser-printed scores.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $47.24
65 used & new from $18.22

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Virtuosity from Jim Dale (CD version), December 14, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Jim Dale's "reading" on the CD version of Phoenix turns this thick book into a virtuoso piece of one-man theater (would that he would tackle War and Peace or Moby Dick). Dale brings an experienced stage-actor's pacing, emotional inflections and, most incredibly, various vocal characterizations and (British) accents for dozens upon dozens of different characters. Even the most gifted "amateur" reader would be hard put to match this prodigious effort. The climactic fight near the end of the book, if anything, is easier to follow and far more exciting with Dale's pacing and delivery that a mere reading of the printed pages.

Encouraged by this success I also listened to Dale's performance of the next installment (#6, Half Blood Prince) where his acting gifts make Harry's faults more vivid than the printed version (Potter is, by now in Dale's interpretation, definitely not your unblemished do-gooder) and intensify to an almost unbearable degree the final chapters of the book. In the cave scene especially, Dale's performance brings out, to a disturbing extent, the agony and sadism inherent in the plot.

All these discs, transferred to a iPod or other personal player, will make for many delighted hours in the presence of a voice-acting master.

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