Saturday, 22 May 2010

Vaughan Williams

English composers have always featured in my awareness of classical music since the earliest of days and one I have been exploring more of is Vaughan Williams.
I recently bought this box set of his symphonies in acclaimed performances by Sir Adrian Boult that were originally issued as 5 individual mid price cds in the 1990's and to whom the remastering of the analogue recordings is superb.
It has the advantage of not having any unwanted other works coupled with it which helps not just enjoying the music but also filing your discs in some kind of order.
His Job-a Masque for Dancing is a most interesting work based upon the Old Testiment stories and originally conceived as a ballet. This 1984 recording is sublime. 
As an enjoyable account of these three works, this 1985 recording is hard to beat never mind the fine full blooded EMI sound.
 One of his most famous works is the Fantasia on Greensleeves which was featured on tis 1991 recording.
I've had this excellent disc which was released in 1995 that features his piano concerto for a good number of years now and it makes a great companion to the box set. It was recorded at Manchester's Free Trade Hall. 

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Reflections post election.

Generally you won't here much from me on Politics as as much as it interested me it's too divisive a topic and some get very personal over it but anyway here are a few non-partisan thoughts.
Well the results were inconclusive so no one Political party had a majority in the House of Commons as Labour had lost, The Liberal Democrats didn't have a surge on votes and the Tories didn't convince enough to run the country outright.
After much discussion unlike say the Harper government in Ottawa, the Tories here agreed a full blown coalition with the Liberal Democrats sharing government posts and even making the Liberal leader the Deputy Prime Minister.
This no doubt is hard for activists of both parties to accept having spent much of their time in politics accusing each of the being the very devil incarnate but it is clear the UK needs a functioning government.
The UK faces some if the highest public sector debt anywhere in the western world although much of this arises from the necessity to rescue the private sector banks (If only they'd of followed Canadian account conventions rather than US, the excessive risks taken leading to this would never had been passed!).
52% of GDP spent is in public sector and to restore confidence the debt needs to be tackled and this will unfortunately mean reductions in government spending to make a decent start on repayments.
It maybe that this coalition government will identify savings that will not impact adversely on the least well off and already it is clear that health care spending will not be reduced while tackling some of the nations quangos that seem to spend a small fortune on not doing very much.
Another area to explore might be where services are bought. For instance one health trust found buying meats for hospital catering in their locality saved them a lot of money AND kept local farmers in work.
Buying in overnight General Practitioners (MD's) services something whose cost has escalated with agency staff being bought in following a change of contracts a few years back, looks set to examined by the Heath Secretary. This may also tackle issues around continuity in patient treatment.

Although these are early days it is good to see two party leaders put their differences aside to help govern the country in a stable and responsible fashion.

Friday, 7 May 2010


In for GBP £60 at Monsoon is this lovely V necked turquoise Mombassa Tunic in polyester with a drawstring tie at the waist.
Length 83 Cm.

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Grand Illusion

Not the edition where I do a vanishing trick but the title of Styx 1977 album release featuring Come Sail Away and Little Miss America recently remastered by Mr Kevin Grey for Audio Fidelity.
Processing a warm tonal complexion I really like it even if it's not anything really special just the job done right.