All posts by Inge Southcott

ANZAC VOICES. Gallipoli from those who were there. First-hand accounts from ABC Sound Archives, recorded between 1953 and 1990, with musical excerpts by Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards and others

Post by , August 1st, 2015

Listening to these two remarkable CDs is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience. To read the history of the Gallipoli campaign is often shocking and saddening as one comes to terms with the fact it was a bungled British strategy – “a glorious failure” as one veteran describes it – costing the lives of nearly… continue reading »

Brandenburg Celebrates

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Choir directed by Paul Dyer. Soloists: Shaun Lee-Chen, Baroque violin; Jamie Hey, Baroque cello; Melissa Farrow, Baroque flute
Classical, Early Music, New Music
ABC Classics 481 1929
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

A triumphant performance of Zadok the Priest (Handel’s famous coronation anthem of 1727) on the first track of this brilliant CD sets the scene for an exciting selection recorded in 2015, to celebrate 25 years of music making by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Choir. This renowned ensemble has released 18 CDs under the ABC… continue reading »

Clare Maclean: Osanna

Sydney Chamber Choir, Paul Stanhope conductor
A cappella, Choral Music, Classical, New Music
Tall Poppies TP218
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2014

The Sydney Chamber Choir, under Paul Stanhope’s direction, performs with precision and vitality on this disc of a cappella choral works composed by a former member – the New Zealand-born Clare Maclean. The major piece is her Osanna Mass (29:07) written specifically for the choir, and it is no surprise that it won her the… continue reading »

Copland: Appalachian Spring, Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Northey, conductor, Emma Matthews, soprano
ABC Classics 481 0863
Reviewed by , January 1st, 2015

The twelve poems of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) that Aaron Copland set to music in 1949-50 are quite extraordinary. Written in the first person, they speak directly and without artifice, resembling a personal diary, and one gets a very strong sense of the woman behind the words. She became a recluse in her thirties, maintaining friendships… continue reading »

Emerald Leopard. Works by Brooke Green, Kats-Chernin, Andrea Pandolfo, Ross Edwards, and Gibbons, Morley, Dowland

Josie and the Emeralds. Josie Ryan (soprano), Brooke Green, Laura Moore, Catherine Upex, Fiona Ziegler (viols).Guest artists: Belinda Montgomery (soprano), Margo Adelson, Anthea Cottee, Elizabeth Rumsey, Laura Vaughan (viols), Jacques Emery (double bass and percussion)
Classical, Early Music, New Music
Tall Poppies TP233.
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2015

Josie and The Emeralds have received critical acclaim for their concerts in Sydney and Canberra since their formation in 2011. They play an innovative mix of Renaissance works, original compositions by Brooke Green (their director), and her arrangements of both Renaissance and contemporary pieces. They have selected favourites from their current repertoire to produce this,… continue reading »

Emma Matthews. Mozart Arias

Post by , April 1st, 2014

There is a plethora of recordings of sopranos singing Mozart arias. It reflects his genius at composing music of unsurpassed beauty for this voice type, one which he so thoroughly understood and loved. Does this new one from Emma Matthews, the highly acclaimed coloratura soprano, offer something special? She performs nine Mozart arias with the… continue reading »

Handel. Rodelinda: Selected Arias

Sydney Lyric Orchestra, cond. Richard Bonynge. Rodelinda - Valda Wilson (soprano), Bertarido - Fiona Janes (mezzo soprano), Grimoaldo - John Longmuir (tenor), Eduige - Liane Keegan (mezzo soprano), Unulfo- Lorina Gore (soprano), Garibaldo - Michael Lewis (baritone)
Arias, Classical, Early Music, Music, Opera
ABC Classics 481 0987
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

This disc is pure joy to listen to! One exquisite aria after another (16 in all!) beautifully sung by a top cast of six singers and supported by an excellent small orchestra. Of course the opera is one of Handel’s masterpieces but I suspect the magic ingredient that makes this interpretation so special, is the… continue reading »

Hymn to St Cecilia: A Celebration of Benjamin Britten

Hymn to St Cecilia: A Celebration of Benjamin Britten

Various Artists
ABC Classics 480 7301
Reviewed by , March 2nd, 2014

2013 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), and as I began drafting this review, his mighty War Requiem was reverberating through the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. Whilst I would dearly have liked to have been there to experience the power of a live performance of this masterpiece,… continue reading »

Hymne à l’amour

Siobhan Stagg, soprano; Amir Farid, piano
Art Songs, Classical, Music
Move Records MD 3360
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2016

“Siobhan Stagg has a voice of astounding beauty and working with the wonderful Amir Farid on piano, the duo present a memorable recital of Romantic art songs.” The hugely talented Melbournian soprano Siobhan Stagg recorded this beautiful collection of Romantic art songs in 2013 with pianist Amir Farid, and it is the only available solo… continue reading »

Learning Strategies for Musical Success

Michael Griffin
Books, Music Education
Adelaide: Music Education World. 2013. 174 pages
ISBN/EAN13: 1481946730 / 9781481946735
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

The essential message of Michael Griffin’s terrific book is simple: that the greatest predictor of musical success is the quality and quantity of practice. Those experts like Mozart and Beethoven worked relentlessly from their early childhood to hone their skills. We call them geniuses but the research shows that world experts in any field, including… continue reading »

Mahler. Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Lieder – Five Rückert Lieder, Kindertotenlieder and four Lieder from Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit

Teddy Tahu Rhodes (bass-baritone), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Marko Letonja (conductor), Sharolyn Kimmorley (piano)
ABC Classics 481 0484
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

The five Rückert Lieder composed by Gustav Mahler(1860-1911) from 1901-2, stand as individual songs, rather than as a cycle, and the order of performance varies. Mahler chose poems by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) because he wanted to express man’s inner psychological states as truthfully as possible. He said to Anton von Webern at the time:  “After… continue reading »

Nicole Car: The Kiss

Nicole Car (soprano) with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted by Andrea Molino
Arias, Classical, Music, Opera
ABC Classics 481 2371
Reviewed by , March 3rd, 2016

Soprano Nicole Car is not yet 30, but her superb singing on this solo debut CD and her magnificent voice firmly places her in the top rank of emerging international artists. Nicole Car trained at the Victorian College of the Arts and has won several prestigious competitions: the Herald-Sun Aria (2007), the ASC Opera Awards… continue reading »

Prayer for Peace: Sacred Choral Music in the Modern Age

Cantillation, Anthony Walker conductor
A cappella, Choral Music, Classical, New Music
ABC Classics 476 5054
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

Cantillation performs this fine selection of unaccompanied modern choral works under the baton of its founder, Anthony Walker, with one piece (Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium) conducted by Brett Weymark. The members of Cantillation are all professional singers and it has firmly established itself since 2001 as a leading Australian choir, with nine ABC Classics discs… continue reading »

Prima Luce. A Collection of Christmas Hymns and Chants

Prima Luce. Lily Kelly, Rioghnach McCaughan (sopranos), Genevieve McCaughan, Xavier Piat (altos), John Brazier, James Doig (tenors), Ronan Reilly, Cormac McCaughan (basses)
A cappella, Choral Music, Classical, Early Music, New Music, Plainchant
SWCD 1411
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Prima Luce is a group of nine young Catholic musicians who released this excellent CD of Christmas choral music in 2014 as part of their wish “to promote the beauty of the Catholic Church’s musical patrimony” (quoted from their website at I think they have succeeded wonderfully well. Underpinning their beautiful singing is their… continue reading »

Purcell, Handel

Miriam Allan, soprano, with Ironwood
Classical, Early Music
ABC Classics 476 4997
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

Miriam Allan, born in Newcastle (Australia), has a fine soprano voice well suited to the music of the Baroque period. It is flexible, clear and excellently tuned. She has carved an impressive international career performing mainly works by Purcell, Handel, Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi and Monteverdi. This CD is with Ironwood, an ensemble of nine players,… continue reading »

Richard Strauss. Don Juan, Four last Songs, Also sprach Zarathustra

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis (conductor), Erin Wall (soprano)
ABC Classics 481 1122
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2014

This recent release from ABC Classics has the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in superb form playing Richard Strauss (Don Juan, Vier letzte Lieder, Also sprach Zarathustra) under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, its chief conductor. Strauss had consummate skill in writing for instruments in colourful, idiosyncratic ways and the recording is excellent, so we are… continue reading »


Sara Macliver, soprano. Orchestra of the Antipodes, Brett Weymark conductor. West Australian Symphony Orchestra, conductor Benjamin Northey; other artists
Classical, Early Music
ABC Classics 476 4362
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2014

This ABD Classics portrait cd of Sara Macliver opens with Handel’s “Let the Bright Seraphim” (from Samson). The difficult coloratura is clear and the duet between voice and Leanne Sullivan’s fine trumpet playing is exciting. The close collaboration with Brett Weymark (conductor) and the Orchestra of the Antipodes has resulted in splendid phrasing and a… continue reading »

The Arts and the Common Good

Katharine Brisbane
Books, Cultural Policy
Sydney: Currency House, Platform Papers Issue #43, May 2015. 72 pp
ISBN13 978 0 9924890 4-5
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2015

Platform Papers are scholarly quarterly essays produced by Currency House Inc., a Sydney-based non-profit organisation, formed in 2001, which seeks to raise the level of public discourse about issues facing the arts today (see www. In this, Paper Number 43, Katherine Brisbane, theatre critic and historian, expresses her deep concerns about the current health… continue reading »

The Celtic Songbook

A compilation of melodies from Ireland, Scotland and Wales featuring singers David Hobson, Nollaig Casey, Paul McMahon, Annalisa Kerrigan, Sarah Calderwood and Teddy Tahu Rhodes, with various ensembles
Classical, Folk
ABC Classics 481 1981
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

This CD is a compilation of traditional Celtic melodies sung by well-known artists and selected from recordings made by the ABC between 1996-2015. It is a feast, though it lacks variety in the recipes chosen, with almost all pieces being of the slow melancholic or nostalgic type. Some spicy humorous numbers or rollicking reels would… continue reading »

The Fairy Queen, by Henry Purcell

Pinchgut Opera conducted by Antony Walker. Principal soloists: Sara Macliver (soprano), Sally-Anne Russell (mezzo- soprano), Jamie Allen, Paul McMahon (tenors), and Stephen Bennett (bass). Supporting soloists: Miriam Allan, Belinda Montgomery, Alison Morgan (sopranos), Jenny Duck-Chong (mezzo-soprano), Brett Weymark (tenor), Corin Bone, Simon Lobelson (baritones). Cantillation (chamber choir) and the Orchestra of the Antipodes led by Anna McDonald
Classical, Early Music, Opera
ABC Classics 481 1705
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2015

At the time Henry Purcell (1659-1695) was composing the music for The Fairy Queen, the London public had developed a definite taste for dramas presented as fanciful large scale spectacles with music and dances as well as dialogue. This new genre was called ‘semi-opera. It had developed from a mix of Restoration court masque and… continue reading »

The Shepherd and the Mermaid. German Romantic Rarities for piano, voice and clarinet

Trio Kroma: Elena Xanthoudakis soprano, Jason Xanthoudakis clarinet, Clemens Leske piano
Move MCD 472
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2014

Elena Xanthoudakis (soprano), her brother Jason Xanthoudakis (clarinet) and Clemens Leske (piano) are the three outstanding musicians of Trio Kroma. They have produced this excellent disc of rarely performed Romantic pieces for soprano, clarinet and piano. I suspect the only work that most listeners would recognise is the Schubert late concert aria, Der Hirt auf… continue reading »

Wings of a Dove. Music of serenity and peace.

Various artists
ABC Classics 482 2429
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2015

Are you in a hurry to find a gift for that great aunt you hardly know? Perhaps you are on your way to a family Christmas do, and you need to find something appealing, under $25 and inoffensive? Well this compilation CD will be the perfect answer to your prayers! Just pop into the Post… continue reading »

About Inge Southcott

Inge Southcott was a medico for ten years before joining Opera Australia (full-time chorus and minor principal artist) until 1995. She teaches singing in Armidale. In 2010 she was awarded a MMus in vocal pedagogy from the University of Sydney. Her research was about how singers hear themselves and the use of recordings as a pedagogical tool.

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