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Classical
126 Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Composed by Julian Yu

Artist/s: Michael Kieran Harvey, piano
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Move Records MD 3404 [Double CD]
Reviewed by

“Julian Yu’s 126 Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for piano is a tour de force of compositional craft, brilliantly interpreted by pianist Michael Kieran Harvey.” Julian Yu has already had significant success with his variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little…

Jazz
A Dove, A Lion, A Coast, A Pirate

Artist/s: Luke Howard Trio. Luke Howard, piano; Daniel Farrugia, drums; Jonathan Zion, double bass
Category: Jazz
Label: Which Way Music WWM018
Reviewed by

This album is one of several recent Australian jazz albums to have been recorded at Rainbow Studio in Oslo that raises the question: why are Australian musicians going to Norway? The two countries have some similarities – both are middle…

Classical
A Little French Cello

Artist/s: Zoe Knighton, cello, Amir Farid, piano
Category: Classical
Label: Move Records MD 3367
www.move.com.au
Reviewed by

This CD was immediately appealing given my love for all things turn of the century (19th to 20th) the wondrous contribution of the French to all aspects of that time’s aesthetic, my relatively nouveau affaire d’amour with the cello and…

Classical
A Little Variation: Variation Form as Used by Australian Composers

Artist/s: Jeanell Carrigan, piano. Works by McKay, Webb, Hannan, Polglase, Davidson, Isaacs.
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Australian Music Centre VAST032.2
Reviewed by

Jeanell Carrigan is a passionate pianist. She seems to be able to harness that passion and find works by primarily Australian composers that deserve a thorough, active listening. Without her, a lot of good music would lie mouldering in the…

Improvisation
Across the Top

Artist/s: Paul Cutlan, Brett Hirst, The NOISE
Category: Improvisation, Jazz
Label: Tall Poppies TP211
www.tallpoppies.net
Reviewed by

Across the Top is a convincing synthesis of European art music influences and jazz-informed improvisation. Paul Cutlan, one of Sydney’s leading improvising saxophonists, provides compositions that he performs with great sensitivity alongside bassist Brett Hirst and string quartet The NOISE…

Jazz
Adam Katz

Artist/s: Adam Katz, piano. With Keith Carlock, Julien Wilson, Steve Magnusson, Nic Lam, Christian Meyer, Ben Anderson, Brendan Tsui on various tracks
Category: Jazz
Label: Newmarket Music, NEW 3321.2
www.adamkatzmusic.com
Reviewed by

This cheerful album is well recorded with good clear sound at the reputable Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne, and features a good line-up of Melbourne based musicians with Adam Katz, piano, Keith Carlock, drums, Julien Wilson, and Ben Anderson, sax,…

Classical
Addicted to Bass. Seven Premiere Australian works for Bass Recorder

Artist/s: Alicia Crossley, with Joshua Hill, Anna Fraser, Vatche Jambazian, Victoria Jacono, Ben Carey
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Self-release
www.aliciacrossley.com.au www.soundcloud.com.au/alicia-crossley
Reviewed by

Ken Tribe used to speak of the “bootstraps principle”. He was a member of the first Music Board of the Australia Council in the early 1970s when it was developing policies for performance grants; his notion was that aspiring musicians…

Classical
Adès: Polaris – Voyage for Orchestra. Stanhope: Piccolo Concerto

Artist/s: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Markus Stenz, Benjamin Northey, conductors. Andrew Macleod, piccolo
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: ABC Classics 481 0862
Reviewed by

Once upon a time British music was seen by an aspiring Australian avant-garde as incorrigibly conservative. A semi-mythical figure, the English organist-composer, minted by one or other Oxbridge college, would descend on Australia and, taking up an academic or other…

Contemporary
Aesthesis

Artist/s: Dead Letter Circus. Kim Benzie (vocals), Luke Williams (drums), Clint Vincent (guitar), Luke Palmer (guitar) and Stewart Hill (bass)
Category: Contemporary
Label: UNFD 070-A
Reviewed by

Well, I’m locking my gun in the cabinet with the Wedgwood china and discarding the key just to ensure that my penchant for political, environmental and social activism does not lead to a drift from the lagoon of pacifism to…

Classical
Agony and Ecstasy: Australian Music from the Time of Arthur Boyd

Artist/s: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, South Australian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, various conductors
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: ABC Classics 481 1210
Reviewed by

What with the perils of internet piracy, the impending death of classical music and the end of the civilisation as we know it, the recording business faces one or two challenges. These are met with various strategies, ranging from the…

Classical
Aida : Verdi. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

Artist/s: Latonia Moore (Aida), Walter Fraccaro (Radamès), Milijana Nikolic (Amneris), Michael Honeyman (Amonasro), David Parkin (Ramfis), Dubinsky (The King Gennadi), Eva Kong (High priestess), Benjamin Rasheed (Messenger) Opera Australia Chorus, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra Brian Castles-Onion (conductor), Gale Edwards (director), Opera Australia (production)
Category: Classical, Opera
Reviewed by

“The main attraction of this Aida by Opera Australia lies in the splendid singing of the two female leads, rather than in any compelling staging or novel conception of this magnificent late opera of Verdi. Latonia Moore has the perfect voice for Aida, and the role of Amneris, sung by Milijana Nikolic, is also wonderfully realised.”

Improvisation
Alister Spence and Raymond MacDonald. Stepping Between the Shadows

Artist/s: Alister Spence, piano and prepared piano; Raymond MacDonald, alto and soprano saxophones
Category: Improvisation, Jazz
Label: Rufus Records, RF095
Reviewed by

Two musicians improvising together can be imagined as a Venn diagram, where the distinct ‘musicalities’ (think personalities expressed through music) of the individuals partially converge in moments of shared experience. This is not to suggest, however, that improvisers working in…

Jazz
Alister Spence Trio: Live

Artist/s: Alister Spence, piano, samples, music box; Lloyd Swanton, double bass; Toby Hall, drums, glockenspiel
Category: Jazz
Label: Self-release
www.alisterspence.com
Reviewed by

Since I began listening to the contemporary end of jazz, or what was the contemporary end then – in the early 1950s that was – I have heard many breakaways from forms and styles that had in themselves been breakaways.…

Jazz
Alluvium

Artist/s: Tiny Hearts. Eamon Dilworth, Dave Jackson, Steve Barry, Tom Botting, Paul Derricott, plus Elana Stone.
Category: Jazz
Label: Alluvium Records AR001
Reviewed by

Presented as “a collection of stories written individually and re-imagined together”, this album by Tiny Hearts is true to its promise with some fine writing and good individual and collective improvisation. The group’s music does indeed sound like the sum…

Jazz
Ambon, by Lloyd Swanton

Artist/s: Ensemble, comprising Lloyd Swanton – double bass, Paul Cutlan - bass clarinet, saxophones, recorder, James Eccles - playing Lloyd’s uncle’s viola for its first public performance since the 1930s, Sandy Evans - tenor and soprano saxophones, James Greening - trombone, cornet, pocket trumpet, tuba, Fabian Hevia - cajon, percussion, Chuck Morgan - ukulele, Jon Pease - guitar, Ron Reeves - kendang, percussion, Michel Rose - pedal steel guitar, Alex Silver - trombone, Hamish Stuart - drums
Category: Jazz
Label: 2 CDs, Bugle Records. 36-page booklet
Reviewed by

The question hanging over the Ambon interlude of WWII (for those who have actually heard of it) – is this: why send a cursory force to defend a small island against the Japanese when that island had little strategic value,…

Jazz
Amoroso

Artist/s: Grey Wing Trio. Luke Sweeting on piano, Ken Allars on trumpet, and Finn Ryan on drums
Category: Jazz
Label: Jazzhead HEAD 217
lukesweeting.bandcamp.com
Reviewed by

Sydney’s Grey Wing Trio present music that is seamlessly free-flowing, super-melodic, and harmonically engaging. Amoroso is, above all, infused with adventure, joy, and tenderness. With Luke Sweeting on piano, Ken Allars on trumpet, and Finn Ryan on drums, Grey Wing…

Classical
Andrew Schultz Piano Music

Artist/s: Antony Gray (piano)
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Wirripang Wirr 078 (2016)
Reviewed by

“Andrew Schultz’s impressive piano music collection is deeply rooted in the unique resonant qualities of the instrument. His long-time collaborator, Antony Gray, interprets the works with both sensitivity and panache.”

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