Music & Book Reviews

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Latest Music Reviews

Ballads. The Idea of North

Artist/s: The Idea of North. Sally Cameron, Naomi Crellin, Nick Begbie, Andrew Piper
Category: A cappella, Jazz
Label: ABC Jazz 478 2695
Reviewed by

“In Naomi Crellin’s arrangements, the voices combine so well that, after hearing them, it is difficult to imagine the songs presented in any other way.”

Brahms. The Symphonies

Artist/s: West Australian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Asher Fisch
Category: Classical
Label: ABC Classics 481 4413, 2 CDs. All four symphonies
Reviewed by

“This is my first exposure to the WASO either live or in recording, and this survey of the Brahms symphonies proved to be a highly committed and even revelatory recording.”

Clarion/Whisper

Artist/s: Gian Slater and Invenio: Gian Slater (composer and director), Miriam Crellin, Georgie Darvidis, Gemma Tully, Bronwyn Hicks, Natalie Carolan, Lisa Salvo, Loni Thompson, Audur Zoega, Louisa Rankin, Jeremy Hopkins, Jem Savage, Tilman Robinson, Ed Fairlie, Sam Young, Ben Harrison, and Ben Taylor.
Category: Choral Music, Jazz, Pop
Label: Invenio Music (inv001)
www.inveniosingers.com
Reviewed by

“Gian Slater and Invenio’s second album is a lighter, more lyrically-focused collection of eight compositions.”

Deer Heart. Tilman Robinson

Artist/s: Tilman Robinson (composition/production, field recordings, body sounds miscellaneous instruments), Una Sveinbjarnardóttir (violin),Þórunn Ósk Marinósdóttir (viola), Júlía Mogensen (cello), Borgar Magnason (bass), Jóel Pálsson (clarinet/bass clarinet), Frank Aarnink (percussion), Jacob Abela (Ondes Martenot), Paul Evans (additional production).
Category: Ambient, Electroacoustic
Label: Hobbledehoy Record Co (HOB 041)
https://tilmanrobinson.bandcamp.com/album/deer-heart
Reviewed by

“Deer Heart is an expressive and richly textured example of the electroacoustic producer’s craft.”

Frame of Reference. Sean Foran

Artist/s: Sean Foran (piano, Rhodes), Stuart McCallum (guitars), Julian Aeguelles (saxophones), Ben Davis (cello), Joost Hendricks (drums).
Category: Jazz
Label: Jazzhead HEAD222.
www.jazzhead.com/frameofreference
Reviewed by

“This is an album that has been put together competently but is let down in places by the writing and lack of a really strong unified concept or identity.”

I Thought I Heard a Magpie Call. Heritage Australian Art Songs

Artist/s: Margaret Schindler (soprano), Philip Mayers (piano)
Category: Art Songs, Classical, Music
Label: Wirripang Wirr 076
http://www.AustralianComposers.com.au
Reviewed by

“Another very enjoyable release from Wirripang: thirty- two Australian songs, most composed pre WW11 – an era when we felt we still belonged in the “Old Country” and our songs were still populated by fairies, pipers and shepherds, and spring sprang forth in May! The performances are excellent from Margaret Schindler, soprano, accompanied by her long-time colleague, Philip Mayers, on piano.”

The Rhapsody Tapes

Artist/s: Ocean Grove. Luke Holmes (vocals), Sam Bassal (drums, production), Mathew Henley (guitar), James Hall (guitar), Dale Tanner (clean vocals and bass), Running Touch (sampling, production, vocals)
Category: Contemporary
Label: UNFD075
Reviewed by

“If this is the calibre of their first album, one wonders how Ocean Grove cannot become a formidable force into the future.”

Safe Haven

Artist/s: Masha’s Legacy. (MD/composer/arranger/saxophones, clarinet, Arabic nay), Christopher Soulos (electric bass), Elsen Price (contrabass), Mahammd Lelo (q’noon), Adem Yilmaz (daf/darabukka/cajon/congas/percussion), Nick Southcott (piano, keyboards), Adnaan Baraké (oud), James Tawadros (req’, bendir, cajon), Miriam Waks (vocal), Ghada Daher-Elmowy (vocal).
Category: Fusion, Jazz, Middle Eastern, World
http://www.svmusic.com.au/mashas-legacy
Reviewed by

“Masha’s Legacy, a Sydney based multicultural music ensemble has created one of the best cross-cultural albums I’ve heard in a long time.”

War Letters. New music commemorating WWI

Artist/s: Halcyon: Alison Morgan, Jenny Duck-Chong, Clive Birch, James Wannan, Kaylie Dunstan, Jo Allan, Geoffrey Gartner
Category: Art Songs, Classical, Music, New Music
Label: Wirripang Media Pty Ltd Wirr 074
www.australiancomposers.com.au
Reviewed by

“This music enhances and underlines the emotional impact of war in settings of letters written by people who experienced the actuality first hand, as relevant today as ever.”

Working Class Boy. Jimmy Barnes

Author: Jimmy Barnes
Category: Biography
Sydney: Harper Collins Publishers Australia P/L, 2016. 362pp.
ISBN 9781460752135 (hbk)
Reviewed by

“Given the relentless violence and almost unbelievable amount of alcohol, hallucinogens and speed he consumed for so many years, it is nothing short of a marvel that Jimmy Barnes’ recollections are so clear, stark and even humorous.”

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.”

Latest Book Reviews

Biography
Working Class Boy. Jimmy Barnes

Author: Jimmy Barnes
Category: Biography
Sydney: Harper Collins Publishers Australia P/L, 2016. 362pp.
ISBN 9781460752135 (hbk)
Reviewed by

“Given the relentless violence and almost unbelievable amount of alcohol, hallucinogens and speed he consumed for so many years, it is nothing short of a marvel that Jimmy Barnes’ recollections are so clear, stark and even humorous.”

Books
The World of Music (new series) Vol.4 (2015) 1: Sound Futures: Exploring Contexts for Music Sustainability.

Author: Editor: Birgit Abels, Co-editor: Barbara Titus; Guest Editors: Dan Bendrups and Huib Schippers
Category: Books, Cultural Policy, Ethnomusicology
Berlin: VWB: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 2015, 146 pages
ISSN: 0043-8774, ISBN: 978-3-86135-910-4
Reviewed by

“This special issue of the world of music on musical sustainability, guest edited by Bendrups and Schippers, offers some unique perspectives on what sustainability might mean in a diversity of musical contexts.”

Biography
Grant and I: Inside and Outside The Go-Betweens

Author: Robert Forster
Category: Biography
Australia: Penguin Hamish Hamilton 2016, 339pp.
ISBN 9780670078226 (pbk)
Reviewed by

In December 1977, Robert Forster asked Grant McLennan to form a band with him. Some weeks later, McLennan agreed and The Go-Betweens were formed. Grant and I is a story of Forster and McLennan, their friendship and the music they…