Music & Book Reviews

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Latest Music Reviews

Everybody Loves Somebody

Artist/s: Monique di Mattina. Monique di Mattina (vocals and piano), Eamon McNelis (trumpet), Paul Williamson (tenor sax and clarinet), Andrew Hammon (trombone), James Sherlock (guitar), Howard Cairns (bass), Andrew Swann and Marty Brown (drums and percussion)
Category: Jazz
Label: Jazzhead HEAD214
Reviewed by

“This is a CD that contains a mixture of old and new songs with an old-fashioned vibe.”

George Dreyfus . . .Live!

Artist/s: George Dreyfus (bassoon, vocals and percussion), Paul Grabowski (electric piano and ARP synthesizer)
Category: Classical, Eclectic, Film Music, New Music
Label: Move Records MD3300
Reviewed by

“A reissue of an LP from 1972, Live! is an entertaining mix of George Dreyfus’s promiscuous musical practices encompassing composition, song, dance and bassoon acrobatics.”

Mandala 3 – Music by David Lumsdaine and Nicola LeFanu

Artist/s: Gemini. Ian Mitchell (director), Sarah Leonard (soprano), Aleksander Szram (piano)
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Métier MSV 28565
www.divineartrecords.com
Reviewed by

“Australian composer David Lumsdaine has waited almost forty years for this, the first commercial recording of his acclaimed work Mandala 3; is he to be another composer whose talent will be appropriately recognised only after his death?”

Roll Back the Stone: 1985 – 2016

Artist/s: Mark Seymour and the Undertow. Mark Seymour (vocals and guitar), Cameron McKenzie (guitars), Peter Maslen (drums), John Favaro (bass), Scott Griffiths (keyboard and guitar)
Category: Contemporary, Rock
Label: Liberation LMCD0310
Reviewed by

“Mark Seymour is, at heart, a storyteller and the wonderful traditions of Australian folk music are effusive, stripped of the aerophonic hardware prevalent in his Hunters and Collectors persona.”

The Songs Back Home: The Mission Songs Project

Artist/s: Jessie Lloyd, Monica Weightman, Leah Flanagan, Karrina Nolan, Jessica Hitchcock, Iain Grandage, Ed Bates, Rob Mahoney. Bonus Tracks by: Archie Roach, Lillian Geia, Lynelda Tippo, Alma Geia
Category: Indigenous Australian
Label: The Aviary Recording Studio, Melbourne, MSP002, 2017
www.missionssongsproject.com and www.jessielloyd.com
Reviewed by

“This album defies categorisation in an exciting and innovative way. It captures and revives older songs created between 1900 – 1999 by Indigenous Australian mission communities.”

Terrestrial

Artist/s: CHV. Ashley Cross (guitar), Rob Vincs (tenor saxophone/saxello), Anita Hustas (bass/ percussion/objects)
Category: Improvisation
Label: Self-release
www.anitahustas.com/
Reviewed by

“Despite attractive moments, the impact of this collection of improvisations from Melbourne-based ensemble CHV is compromised by stylistic disparities that suggest a need for greater aesthetic focus.”

Goodwood

Author: Holly Throsby
Category: Books, Fiction
Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2016. 376pp.
ISBN 978 1 76029 373 4 (pbk)
Reviewed by

“Goodwood is Holly Throsby’s first novel. This is an intriguing, captivating story, well written, presenting extraordinary insight into everyday life in a small town.”

Music, Evolution and the Harmony of Souls

Author: Alan Harvey
Category: Books, Music and the Body
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017. 304 pages.
ISBN 9780198786856 (hardback)
www.oup.com/uk/psychology
Reviewed by

In 1997, the cognitive scientist, Stephen Pinker, stated in his seminal book, How the Mind Works, that music served no evolutionary purpose and described it as ‘evolutionary cheesecake’. Sometimes such catch phrases can set off a hive of activity by…

Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures: An Ecological Perspective

Author: Huib Schippers and Catherine Grant
Category: Books, Cultural Policy, Ethnomusicology, Music Business
New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 392 pages.
978-019-025-9082 (pbk)
Reviewed by

“The project explores the notion of musical sustainability through nine different, international case studies of musical ecosystems.The study is very timely and necessary. Tools for recording and evidencing sustainable practices have an important role to play in assessing the vitality of traditions, whilst identifying areas where support is needed.”

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.”

Claire Edwardes: Kammerbox

Artist/s: MUSIC by Amanda Cole, Ross Edwards, Katy Abbott Kvasnica, John Psathas, Maria Grenfell, Andrew Ford, Elena Kats-Chernin, Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Charlton, Tim Dargaville, Stuart Greenbaum. PERFORMANCES by Claire Edwardes (percussion) with Karin Schaupp (guitar), Julian Smiles (cello), Jason Noble (clarinet, bass clarinet), Bernadette Harvey (piano), Christina Leonard (alto saxophone/soprano saxophone), Anna McMichael (violin)
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: ABC Music, digital release
Digital album. Stream or download here: abcmusic.lnk.to/Kammerbox
Reviewed by

“For Kammerbox, Claire Edwardes collects chamber works, mostly duos, by Australian composers for performances by herself and other high profile instrumentalists. There is an excellent standard of musicianship demonstrated by all the players and the works presented are compositionally outstanding for the most part.”

Latest Book Reviews

Books
Goodwood

Author: Holly Throsby
Category: Books, Fiction
Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2016. 376pp.
ISBN 978 1 76029 373 4 (pbk)
Reviewed by

“Goodwood is Holly Throsby’s first novel. This is an intriguing, captivating story, well written, presenting extraordinary insight into everyday life in a small town.”

Books
Music, Evolution and the Harmony of Souls

Author: Alan Harvey
Category: Books, Music and the Body
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017. 304 pages.
ISBN 9780198786856 (hardback)
www.oup.com/uk/psychology
Reviewed by

In 1997, the cognitive scientist, Stephen Pinker, stated in his seminal book, How the Mind Works, that music served no evolutionary purpose and described it as ‘evolutionary cheesecake’. Sometimes such catch phrases can set off a hive of activity by…

Books
Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures: An Ecological Perspective

Author: Huib Schippers and Catherine Grant
Category: Books, Cultural Policy, Ethnomusicology, Music Business
New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 392 pages.
978-019-025-9082 (pbk)
Reviewed by

“The project explores the notion of musical sustainability through nine different, international case studies of musical ecosystems.The study is very timely and necessary. Tools for recording and evidencing sustainable practices have an important role to play in assessing the vitality of traditions, whilst identifying areas where support is needed.”