Sep 29

Schumann Masterworks: Multiple performers, produced by Deutsche Grammophon ?????

This is a wonderful mix of Schumann’s compositions, including his symphonies and other orchestral works, concertos, large choral works, songs, chamber music, and a rather comprehensive mix of his solo piano works. There are multiple performers, so that even in the piano works, you’ll hear a number of different pianists, including Pollini, Ashkenazy and others. Not all the works are the best of Schumann. As an example, Karajan does a much better job of the symphonies than does Gardner included in this set. The Lieder (songs) are very compelling, and offer a superb portrayal of Schumann at his best. Before my listening of Karajan’s rendering of the Schumann symphonies, I have never paid much attention to the works of Schumann as they have tended to be bland. Between Karajan, Kempff, and this set of Schumann Masterworks, life is brought into the Schumann compositions that has stirred my interest in this composer. This set contains 35 CDs and is well worth the price that one can find on the internet.

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Sep 29

Schumann Piano Works, by Wilhelm Kempff ?????

This is not a comprehensive collection of Schumann’s piano works, but rather an assembly of his most popular romantic works. Kempff performs flawlessly and with spirit, making them appealing. As with his Schubert performances, Kempff is one of the best interpreters of the early Romantic composers, and deserves a careful listening. This set consists of 4 CDs, and is usually sold quite reasonably through Amazon.com.

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Sep 29

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By Kenneth Feucht Media, Movies 2 Comments »

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This has to be one of worst films that I’ve seen in recent times. The only reason for two stars is that the graphics are incredibly well done.  The story is how a group of earthmen (mostly Marines and scientists) have need for a certain ore on a distant planet Pandora occupied by tall blue people called Navi. The earthmen have no regard for the environment of the planet, and run ripshod to tear up “sacred” landscape in order to obtain their ore. Eventually, the natives win out and are able to drive out the earthlings. So, what’s wrong with the film? 1. Character development: acting was poor. None of the characters in the film could be called admirable. Most were sullen, angry people (or Navi) bent on idolization of themselves. Sig. Weaver was a worn out hag. The Navi were angry, never happy, quite war-like and certainly not at peace even with themselves. The military marines and scientists were painted at thoughtless, brain-dead, clueless. The earth “traitors” that went over to the Navi side lacked any sort of insightful virtue. 2. Plot. This film has often been criticized for portraying developers and industrialists against environmentalists. That is too simple of an analysis. It one looks at the  Navi, they are essentially dressed with African animistic paraphernalia, and the thematic structure of their “religion” is essentially animistic and pantheistic, with the world “force” emanating out though every living being that is connected to the “mother”. Animism didn’t get the Africans and other primitive tribes too far, and fantasy films are now necessary to promote such religion of animism that is taking over America by storm. In total, this film make it for its graphics arts effects and not for its story, and so barely deserves two stars.

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