All posts by Elizabeth Silsbury

A Rain from the Shadows

Zephyr Quartet
Classical, New Music
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

Zephyr Quartet has established an enviable reputation in Adelaide for its adventures into territories way beyond the normal boundaries of its genre. Their enterprise has been rewarded by several awards, notably the Ruby Award in 2006. They have a penchant for bonding with other art forms. At a recent concert in the studio of Hossein… continue reading »

Bohemian Rhapsody

Benaud Trio
Classical, New Music
Melba Recordings MR301142
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Benaud Trio brothers Ewen (violin) and Lachlan (cello) Bramble plus pianist Amir Farid are outstandingly well balanced. Winner of their section in the Australian Chamber Muisc Competition in 2005, they have built a significant reputation for thorough preparation and finely detailed performances. Farid has the true chambers pianist’s approach, the Benauds both stalwarts of the… continue reading »

Brahms. Piano Concerto no. 1. Piano Concerto No. 2.

Garrick Ohlsson, piano, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tadaaki Otaka conductor
2 CDs, MSO Live, ABC Classics 481 0409
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

Wilhelm Backhaus recorded the Brahms piano concertos several times, his last go at the second when he was 84. When asked what the difference was from when he first recorded it in his thirties, he is reported to have said “It’s the same, only slower.” Technically he was as immaculate as ever. A tad extra… continue reading »

Chopin Sonatas: Duo and Solo

Daniel Herscovitch, piano, Elizabeth Neville cello
Wirripang Wirr 048
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

Daniel Herscovitch’s programme notes are worth reading on their own. Scholarly, with just enough detail to make them a useful guide, they show the same thoughtfulness that characterises his playing. Musicology at its best. Of special interest on this recording is the Sonata for Cello and Piano, the composer’s final work, written for the then… continue reading »

Close Your Eyes and I’ll Close Mine

Anna McMichael, violin, Tamar-Anna Cislowska, piano
Classical, New Music
Tall Poppies TP228
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2014

  Lullaby. Such a lovely bit of onomatopoeia. I wonder if any of this collection have been road-tested on babies who won’t “go the f*** to sleep”. No words. Maybe the next step is to invite contributions with words. Surely the most effective soothers are those that are sung. Both highly regarded musical adventurers, Anna… continue reading »

Deep Blue and Dirty. Works by Andrew Schultz

Southern Cross Soloists
Classical, New Music
Wirripang Wirr 065
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2015

Note: Due to some editorial mismanagement, we have received two reviews of this disc, the other by Gwen Bennett. We have decided that it would be interesting to publish both. “Deep Blue and Dirty” indeed is the title piece of Andrew Schultz’s collection, ten items played with unfailing excellence by various combinations of the Southern… continue reading »

Elgar, Britten, Walton

Li-Wei Qin, cello, London Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Zhang Yi
ABC Classics 481 1243
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2015

What a treasure trove. All English – see the Union Jack cello on the sleeve – one of the romantic classics for the super-emotional cello, sea pictures that evoke the sights and smells of Peter Grimes territory and Walton’s follow-up to Elgar nearly four decades later. Extra pleasure too in that Australia can claim some… continue reading »

Foundations. Modern Works in the Classical Tradition. Includes Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis by Australian composer Andrew Schultz, others by Sergio Cervetti, David Nisbet Stewart, Joanne D Carey, Daniel Perttu and Jonathan Sacks

Kühn Mixed Choir of Prague, conducted by Marek Vorlicek; Libor Dudas, organ; Thomas Pinch, organist, with Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Peter Vronsky
Classical, New Music
Navona Records NV5939
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

Navona record company, based in North Hampton USA, has put together a collection of choral and instrumental pieces. Eight of the eleven are linked by a common thread of religious texts or themes. All purport to build new structures on old foundations. Of the composers, only Andrew Schultz is Australian. His works were recorded in… continue reading »

I am Melba – a Biography

Ann Blainey
Biography, Books
Black Inc Publishing
ISBN 9781863953672
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

Ann Blainey makes no apology for adding to the already substantial collection of biographies of Miss Nellie Mitchell. In her Preface, she acknowledges her debt to her forerunners Agnes Murphy, John Hetherington, Thérèse Radic and Pamela Vestey, but claims the right to add to the shelf on several grounds, all of them supported, in her… continue reading »

Learning to Howl. Music by Andrew Ford

Jane Sheldon soprano, various artists
Classical, New Music
ABC Classics 481 0188
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

The title piece of Andrew Ford’s bundle of songs for soprano and instruments in various combinations will strike chords (not sorry) for many of us who grew up on the piano, assumed that harmony and music were inseparable and found recorders, clarinet and violin, even the voice, weak and weedy and incomplete. Lorrie Moore’s text,… continue reading »

Malcolm Williamson. The Complete Piano Concertos

Piers Lane piano, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Howard Shelley conductor
Classical, New Music
2 CDs, Hyperion CDA6801/2
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2014

Malcolm Benjamin Graham Christopher Williamson, CBE, AO, 1931-2003, composer of more than 250 works ranging from opera through to ballet, film and television scores, from symphonic, chamber and solo works to music for children to perform (he called them “Cassations”) was the only non-English and the youngest composer ever to be appointed to England’s most… continue reading »

My Hero

Greta Bradman, soprano, with the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Richard Boynnge
Arias, Classical, Music, Musical Theatre
Decca 481 1894
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Adelaide audiences have been listening to Greta Bradman live for many years. With Christie Anderson and Emma Horwood she formed the enlightening and entertaining trio Eve. She was a surefire drawcard at concerts mounted by The Firm, dedicated to promoting new works by its founders Raymond Chapman Smith and Quentin Grant and other local composers…. continue reading »

Nick Parnell. Vibes Virtuoso

Nick Parnell, marimba; Amir Farid, piano
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

Bach and Handel (18th century) on the 20th century vibraphone? Arrangements of music for violin, voice, baroque and modern symphony orchestra? Absolutely, as long as the multi-mallet wielder and arranger is Nick Parnell and his partner in percussion is Amir Farid. Gene Kelly dances on the walls of your listening room to Gershwin’s nimble American… continue reading »


Genevieve Lacey and Flinders Quartet
Classical, Early Music, New Music
ABC Classics
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Recorder exponent extraordinaire Genevieve Lacey is the brains and lungs driving this engaging assembly of new meetings with old friends. She is aided and abetted by the Flinders Quartet, comprising Erica Kennedy, Matthew Tomkins, Helen Ireland and Zoe Knighton. Six of J.S. Bach’s Inventions set the pulses of Elena Kats Chernin racing – and ours… continue reading »

The Seasons (Tchaikowsky)

Grigoryan Brothers
Which Way Music, Sing Sing Recording Studios, WWM 104
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2014

Here in the bottom half of the world we have to switch hemispheres to even start getting on song with Slava and Leonard Grigoryan as they play father Edward’s skilful arrangement of The Seasons, originally written for piano by Tchaikovsky. Twelve short, punchy pieces, one for each month, each with a little poem attached, track… continue reading »

There Was a Man Lived in the Moon. Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Songs. Traditional tunes arranged by Andrew Ford.

Jane Sheldon, soprano; Teddy Tahu Rhodes, bass-baritone; various instrumental ensembles
Children's songs, Classical, New Music
ABC Classics 481 2235
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

Everyone knows that ‘most men’ spend ‘most of their time singing’ as Andrew Ford did when Elsie, now five, was born. What could be more natural than for a new father to sing to his baby the songs that his parents sang to him? Just about anything, actually. No matter. Ford treats the 29 chosen… continue reading »

Wotan’s Daughter. The Life of Marjorie Lawrence by Richard Davis

Wotan’s Daughter. The Life of Marjorie Lawrence

Richard Davis
Biography, Books
Kent Town, South Australia: Wakefield Press. 331pp.
ISBN 9781743051221 (pbk)
Reviewed by , March 2nd, 2014

The story of soprano Marjorie Lawrence has all the threads common to Australian musicians who get themselves to the other side of the world and establish international reputations. Outstanding talent and unshakable belief in their worth, willingness to pursue the dream despite all vicissitudes, and courage. Surely none of them has shown the courage that… continue reading »

About Elizabeth Silsbury

Elizabeth Silsbury is Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Flinders University of SA. She sat on the first Music Board, Australia Council from 1973-76, and was a member of the Board of Directors of The Australian Opera 1977-94, a record she holds with Robin Gibson of Brisbane. She is Chief Music Critic of The Advertiser, Adelaide, and SA correspondent for Opera (London), and writes also for Music in Australia.

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