All posts by Alistair Noble

China Wind: Robert Schubert plays the clarinet music of Julian Yu

Robert Schubert, clarinet, with various artists
Classical, New Music
Move Records MD3351
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2014

Julian Yu is one of Australia’s most illustrious composers, with an international reputation and a long list of awards to his name. This CD presents a selection of Yu’s music from several stages of his career, with the common thread being the clarinet, and more specifically, clarinettist Robert Schubert, a long-time champion of Yu’s music…. continue reading »

Collaborative Creative Thought and Practice in Music

Margaret S. Barrett, editor
Books, Musicology
Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. 326pp. Also in ebook PDF, ebook ePUB.
ISBN: 978-1-4724-1584-4 (hbk)
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Issues to do with both collaborative activity and creativity are of real interest and concern at this point in time. Not because either of these things are in any way new aspects of human activity, but because changes in social structures and mediating technologies seem to be altering both the mechanisms by which we collaborate… continue reading »

Encounters: musical meetings between Australia and China

Edited by Nicholas Ng. Authors: Wang Zhengting, Aline Scott-Maxwell, Kim Cunio, Yang Mu, Catherine Ingram, Tony Mitchell, Nicholas Ng, Shan Deng, Tony Wheeler, Erik Griswold, Vanessa Tomlinson, William Yang, Gao Ping, John Huie, Anne Boyd, Julian Yu, Larry Sitsky, John Curro, Ash Dargan.
Books, Musicology
Toowong, Qld: Australian Academic Press, 2012, 192pp.
ISBN: 9781922117069 (pbk) Also in ebook.
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

This paperback volume is a collection of papers and transcribed discussions derived from a conference-festival of the same title, held in Brisbane in May 2010. As such, the book falls into the sometimes maligned genre of conference proceedings. In this case, however, I feel that the relative informality of papers read at a conference is… continue reading »

Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride

Pinchgut Opera. Caitlin Hulcup, Grant Doyle, Christopher Saunders, Christopher Richardson, Margaret Plummer, Nicholas Dinopoulos, Cantillation choir, Orchestra of the Antipodes, Antony Walker, Erin Helyard
Classical, Early Music, Opera
Pinchgut Live PG006
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2016

“A beautiful Australian revival of Gluck’s great revolutionary opera.” Quite a number of the very important musical masterpieces of the 18th century are not part of the canon of commonly performed works today. One of the greatest of all such neglected works is Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, first performed in Paris in 1779…. continue reading »

Like a Maelstrom: the music of Brendan Colbert

Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Silo String Quartet, Phoebe Green (viola), Peter Dumsday (piano), Bruno Siketa (trumpet), Timothy Phillips (conductor)
Classical, New Music
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

Brendan Colbert is a well-established Melbourne-based composer, but perhaps less widely known outside of his home city. While his music has been performed in other parts of Australia and overseas, this CD offers a welcome opportunity for listeners everywhere to enjoy a substantial body of the composer’s recent works. The CD is a recording of… continue reading »

Lina Andonovska: Flute. Music by Bach, Martinu, & Vine

Lina Andonovska, flute; Rachael Tobin, cello; Ying Ho, piano; Kimberley Steele, piano
Classical, Early Music, New Music
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

Australia has a long tradition of strong flute playing, going back several generations. Among the leading younger inheritors of the tradition is the Melbourne-based Lina Andonovska, who has been building a solid reputation both nationally and overseas. She is a highly versatile musician, comfortable across a range of styles, most notably in the area of… continue reading »


Forenzics. Matthew Syres (guitar and effects), Joe Cummins (trumpet and electronics), Dirk Kruithof (guitar and fretless bass), John Wilton (drums)
Experimental Music, Improvisation
Self-release, CD and digital download
Reviewed by , March 1st, 2015

Forenzics is a Sydney-based collective of improvising musicians with a changing line-up of members and collaborators around the core group of Matthew Syres (guitar), Joe Cummins (trumpet and electronics) and Dirk Kruithof (guitar, bass). In this, their fourth album, the trio is joined by drummer John Wilton. Admirably, the album was recorded without overdubs or… continue reading »

Mosaic: Australian Guitar Concertos. Works by Richard Charlton, Ross Edwards, Philip Bracanin, Peter Sculthorpe

Karin Schaupp (guitar), Benjamin Northey, Richard Mills, Ronald Spigelman (conductors), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Classical, New Music
ABC Classics 481 0961
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

Mosaic: Australian Guitar Concertos, makes for an interesting historical document. This compilation of recordings, made at different times between 1993 and 2006, is a snapshot of a particular kind of Australian music of the early 1990s. This is a body of work that in hindsight seems strangely inhibited in many ways, certainly conservative, and one… continue reading »

Mozart: Stolen Beauties. Chamber music by Mozart, Punto and Michael Haydn

Ironwood with Anneke Scott, natural and piston horns
ABC Classics 481 1244
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2015

This recital album is a wonderful piece of work, featuring the English horn virtuoso Anneke Scott and the Australian ensemble Ironwood. In several respects, this recital is a very fine advertisement for the value of performance-oriented musicology (when it is done well). Scott’s own researches into the horn repertoire of the late 18th and early… continue reading »

Mozart: Violin Concertos 3 & 5, Sinfonia Concertante

Richard Tognetti, violin, Christopher Moore, viola, Australian Chamber Orchestra
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2014

This CD of two Mozart violin concertos and the Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola was released in 2010, but has only recently landed upon this reviewer’s desk. Does the world need another recording of Mozart concertos, one might wonder? As it turns out, the answer is emphatically yes in this case. This CD is… continue reading »

Not Music Yet by David Young

Zubin Kanga, piano
Classical, Experimental Music, New Music
Hospital Hill HHCD06140743
Reviewed by , January 1st, 2015

Imagine you had to play a piece of music that was not just a graphic score, but a watercolour painting. For many musicians, this would be a nightmare. For some audiences, the listening might be a challenge too. This CD is a recording of a particularly interesting and wonderful painted-score piece: David Young’s nicely titled… continue reading »

Open Polar Sea. Works by Col Fuhler, Salvatore Sciarrino, Morton Feldman, Damien Barbeler, Daniel Blinkhorn and Anna McMichael

Anna McMichael, solo violin, with Col Fuhler on one track
Classical, Electronic Music, Experimental Music, Improvisation, New Music
unsounds 46u (digital download)
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

Not so long ago, the fashion was for completeness in CD recordings: the complete works of Morton Fledman for violin and piano, for example. In the past several years, however, we have seen a growth in the popularity of the anthology-recital; albums of often short pieces (sometimes only parts of larger works) by different composers… continue reading »

Roger Woodward: A Concerto Collection

Roger Woodward, piano
Classical, New Music
7-CD box set: ABC Classics 481 1324
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2015

It has often been noted that Australia seems to have produced more than its fair share of great pianists during the last century and a half (if you start a list it just goes on and on: Ernest Hutcheson, Winifred Burston, Percy Grainger, Eileen Joyce, Bruce Hungerford, Gordon Watson, Geoffrey Parsons, Geoffrey Tozer, Larry Sitsky,… continue reading »

Schumann Piano Trios

Susan Collins, violin; Sue Ellen Paulsen, cello; Duncan Gifford, piano
ABC Classics 476 5165
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

Robert Schumann was surely one of the great figures of European music in the 19th century, one who really did play a pivotal role in turning musical composition in new directions. His originality as a composer was underpinned by deep scholarship and an energetic engagement with contemporary music, not to mention a great generosity towards… continue reading »

Semblances: Thomas Reiner Chamber Works

Jessica Aszodi, Kim Tan, Peter Dumsday, Tristram Williams, Silvia Tocchini, Luciano Tristaino, Francesco Gesualdi, Luigi Attademo, Gisbert Watty, Kenji Fujimura, Adrian Tosello, Luciano Tristaino, Gisbert Watty, Alessandra Gentile, Thomas Meyer, Teemu Myöhänen, Dorothea Eppendorf, Peter Sheridan, Kevin Schempf, CrossSound Sinfonietta, Stewart Emerson.
Classical, New Music
Ars Publica ARS141-018
Reviewed by , January 1st, 2015

‘A semblance’, the composer Thomas Reiner tells us in liner notes for this CD, ‘can be unsettling in that things are not what they seem to be, but semblances can also be alluring and appeal to our desires [. . . ]’. Reiner is a scholar and professor as well as a composer, and in… continue reading »

Shadows and Silhouettes: new piano compositions celebrating a Chinese-Western confluence

Antonietta Loffredo, piano
Classical, New Music
Wirrapang Wirr047
Reviewed by , January 1st, 2015

This unusual CD brings together recent works by eleven Australian and international composers under the banner of ‘Chinese-Western confluence’, performed by Italian pianist Antonietta Loffredo. This CD is genuinely fascinating on a number of levels, and includes several noteworthy pieces—but part of the fascination lies in the range of awkwardness and peculiarity in the varied… continue reading »

Ten. Chopin: Etudes, Op. 10. Godowsky: Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, Op. 10

David Stanhope, piano
Classical, Music
Tall Poppies TP230
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

Ten is a remarkable release from the Australian Tall Poppies label, of the pianist David Stanhope playing not only Chopin’s Op. 10 Etudes but also 22 recomposed versions of them by Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938). Stanhope himself is no ordinary pianist—and indeed most pianists would not attempt to play this challenging repertoire—although he describes himself as… continue reading »

The Good, the Bad and the Awkward

Sally Whitwell, piano, toy piano, recorder, melodica, harpsichord
Classical, Film Music, New Music
ABC Classics 476 4898
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2014

Albums of film-score music dished up for piano, played by classically trained musicians, can be tedious. Partly, this is because one sometimes senses that the performer (and/or their record company) is just using the hit-movie connection to sell CDs rather than out of a real love for, or commitment to the music. In addition, much… continue reading »

Verklärung: ecstatic exercises for cello

Anna Martin-Scrase, cello. Composition by Moya Henderson.
Classical, Music, New Music
Self-release, HEN002
Reviewed by , March 1st, 2015

Moya Henderson is an enigmatic figure in Australian music. Perhaps best known in the public imagination for her powerfully terrifying opera about the tragedy of Lindy Chamberlain, she is also the composer of a good deal of chamber music and other theatre pieces. There’s something hard to box and label about her work, which somehow… continue reading »

X-ray Baby. Works by Hsieh, Martin, Pinto d’Aguiar, Neal

Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, directed by Timothy Phillips
Classical, New Music
Crackbell Records
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2015

Arcko Symphonic Ensemble is well known to new music enthusiasts in Melbourne, and now with this release of a live recording CD (also available as download), it will surely begin to gather a well-deserved wider audience. Founded in 2008, the ensemble has sought to fill several gaps in the performance of new music in Australia…. continue reading »

About Alistair Noble

Alistair Noble is a pianist, composer and musicologist. He has performed extensively in recitals around Australia, and made many broadcasts for ABC radio. His compositions have been performed in Australia and North America. Alistair’s primary research area is later twentieth-century music, with a special focus on the work of Morton Feldman.

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