Music and Book reviews

Browsing: Classical

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…

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…

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…

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.”

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.”

Classical
Antonín Dvořák Violin Concerto and Legends

Artist/s: Richard Tognetti, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Christian Lindberg conductor
Category: Classical, Music
Label: BIS-CD-178
Reviewed by

Dvořák was influenced by both people and places in his composing and in this, his famous Violin Concerto in A Minor, both musical heavyweights and his own Czech heritage help shape his composition. The Concerto took several years to reach…

Classical
Arnold Schoenberg. Complete Works for Solo Piano

Artist/s: Danaë Killian, piano
Category: Classical
Label: Move Records MCD 513. 10,000 word accompanying essay on the Move website
Reviewed by

Looks can be deceiving. Move Records’ recording of Danaë Killian playing the complete works by Schoenberg for piano comes in a case so slender that a label can’t fit on its spine. It also comes without a booklet, although one…

Classical
Astra 60. Piano works by Keith Humble, Helen Gifford, Margaret Boland, Tom Henry, Mark Pollard, Warren Burt and Lawrence Whiffin

Artist/s: Michael Kieran Harvey piano
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Michael Kieran Harvey Collection. Move Records (MD 3357, 2012)
Reviewed by

Melbourne’s Astra Chamber Music Society has for many years provided a cultural enclave for musical modernism, and this recording of Australian piano works is no different. All the compositions on this CD can be described as non-tonal or post-tonal, though…

Big Band
Aubade & Nocturne: Music of Sally Greenaway

Artist/s: Sally Greenaway; Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra; Luminescence Chamber Choir; Trichotomy; others
Category: Big Band, Classical, Jazz, Music, New Music
Label: Self-release
www.sallygreenaway.com.au
Reviewed by

Young composers with the stamina and wherewithal to independently fund, record, and produce their own albums are rare. Sally Greenaway has managed it three times. Her first two records focused on the big band. This album, her first art music…

Classical
Australian Portrait. Music by Hindson, Batterham, Broadstock, Boyd, Smetanin, Zadro

Artist/s: HD Duo. Michael Duke, saxophones; David Howie, piano
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Cala CACD77013
http://www.calarecords.com/acatalog/info_CACD77013.html
Reviewed by

It was, if memory serves, the late John Dankworth who described the soprano saxophone as ‘an ill woodwind that nobody blows any good’. That’s not, of course, true in the case of Dankworth himself, nor in that of Michael Duke.…

Classical
Australian Voices: Mondrian Interiors. Works by Stuart Greenbaum

Artist/s: ANAM musicians featuring Jessica Fotinos (harp)
Category: Classical, New Music
ANAM 1501 (2015)
Reviewed by

This recording project is a spinoff of the “Australian Voices” series of concerts, a collaboration between the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). The CD consists of three works by Melbourne-based composer Stuart Greenbaum performed…

Classical
Bach, Brandenburg Concertos

Artist/s: Orchestra of the Antipodes, Antony Walker, conductor
Category: Classical, Early Music
Label: ABC Classics 476 1923
Reviewed by

Although there seems to be no evidence that Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt paid much attention at all to the ‘Brandenburg’ concertos — he appears never to have organised for their performance, for example — great attention has been paid…

Classical
Bach. Piano transcriptions by Reger, Vaughan Williams, Busoni, Goossens, Grainger, Saint-Saëns, Martucci and others.

Artist/s: Antony Gray
Category: Classical, Early Music, New Music
Label: ABC Classics 4765171 (3 CDs)
Reviewed by

When period-instrument performances of Baroque music became mainstream in the 1970s, it must have seemed like a breath of fresh air after the sort of outings in which, as Debussy once put it, Bach seems to ‘bear the weight of…

Classical
Bach: The Cello Suites

Artist/s: Michael Goldschlager
Category: Classical, Early Music
Label: ABC Classics 476 4625 2CDs
Reviewed by

The Cello Suites of J S Bach are probably the most well-known solo cello works in the repertoire, yet it is hard to know the composer’s true intentions because no manuscript in the composer’s hand exists. Any daring cellist is…

Classical
Bajazet, by Vivaldi

Artist/s: Pinchgut Opera. Christopher Lowrey, Hadleigh Adams, Emily Edmonds, Russell Harcourt, Helen Sherman, Sara Macliver, soloists; Orchestra of the Antipodes conducted by Erin Helyard
Category: Classical, Early Music, Opera
Label: Pinchgut Live, PG007
pinchgutopera.com.au
Reviewed by

“This performance is about as fine as one could hope for. The singers are almost uniformly superb, investing the right amounts of heroic bravura and pathetic tenderness wherever required. Every bit as good as the singers is the orchestra, which shows an admirable unity of purpose under Helyard’s direction.”

Classical
Beethoven: Piano Trios

Artist/s: Seraphim Trio: Helen Ayres (violin), Timothy Nankervis (cello), Anna Goldsworthy (piano)
Category: Classical
Label: ABC Classics 4811980
Reviewed by

This recent release from ABC Classics is the fruit of a long meditation in which the Seraphim Trio has been engaged on the piano trios of Beethoven. They performed the trios across Australia through 2015 sometimes, it seems, in unlikely…

Classical
Beethoven: Symphony No.9, ‘Choral’

Artist/s: Australian World Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choir conducted by Alexander Briger, with soloists Cheryl Barker (soprano), Elizabeth Campbell (mezzo), Steve Davislim (tenor), Teddy Tahu Rhodes (baritone)
Category: Classical
Label: Deutsche Grammophon/ABC Classics 481 0550
Reviewed by

“A fine record, in two senses, of the birth of a major Australian performing ensemble.”

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