Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Tchaikovsky the Karajan way

One character that loomed large in my childhood discovery of classical music was the conductor Herbert von Karajan who rather like André Previn during that era were superstars, always recording and performing and promoted by record companies more than most.

During that period I acquired a number of  his Tchaikovsky recordings on record, listened to more thanks to the municipal library and the radio who'd have show playing recordings and even live concerts.
Recently I bought this 8 cd set that has many of his stereo recordings made for DG of Tchaikovsky's works that included a good number from those I owned but what is so good about this set is the six symphonies have a separate disc each to which overtures and other shorter pieces are added rather than being put together that often leads to two of them being split between cds which is a pain.
The 1972 disc of the Sleeping Beauty and Swan lake ballet suites that original came in their memorable silver foil lp jacket are joined by the 1967 Nutcracker Suite that originally coupled with Serenade For Strings as a single cd. 
Talking of which in this set they don't use that Serenade for Strings but the 1981 digital remake which is odd but it's very similar so the only real difference is improved inner detail.
The final disc has Christian Ferras's 1965 account of the violin concerto which is rather sentimental but one I loved at the time and the 'about-face' 1963 Richter performance of the piano concerto which always gave me the impression pianist and conductor were at odds with each other about how to play this piece.
The re-mastering for cd is completely new unlike some previous cd issues in the past with the sound in the 1812 Overture with the Don Cossack choir sung introduction sounding fuller.
While my tastes have moved on, this set is highly enjoyable for the performances and also for bringing back those childhood memories.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Inland Waterways

This scene is a typical one near Caroline's home.
It is the summer and in this part of England, people travel sections of inland waterways called Canals in a set pattern. The section of canal is called the Trent and Mersey linking the Midlands to Lancashire
This particular vessel is registered at Whixall, Shropshire in the Midlands and often is seen where she is hired from travelling from Audlem in the South to Runcorn in the North of Cheshire, a district with close links to Liverpool and the Wirral.
The people will typically stop overnight having used local shops, the Post Office and Public Houses before travelling toward Middlewich for the next leg.
Continuing with last months theme here are a few new pictures for you.

Sloe Motion. What a name, eh? This one is registered nearby at Northwich.
It has traditional flower and brass fittings.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

R.I.P. The Family Album

While recovering from getting drenched this afternoon in the rain and lightning I did start thinking about something that's been on my mind ever since digital photography became mainstream.
In the past, we took pictures on film with most of us making up photo albums usually based on a theme such as "My hiking holiday 1996" or something a bit like that with perhaps the odd memento such as a rail ticket added to the package that we shared with friends or kept as a reminder of past events ourselves.
While looking in Smiths, I saw what are called "Digital photoframes" a display device usually with some memory to store pictures and this one had limited sound options so say with a picture of your children you could have say a sound file with them saying something.
I wonder how many people actually have these at home as I've never seen them whenever I've visited people on shelves or fireplaces where in the past people would put family pictures in their homes?
Is it that either people leave them on the digital cameras on computers or do they use image sharing sites to which they may post links to albums for family and friends?
Are we in danger of just being takers of images that never see light of day with the posibility of gaping holes in our family albums?
What do you think?