All posts by John Weretka

Arnold Schoenberg. Complete Works for Solo Piano

Danaë Killian, piano
Move Records MCD 513. 10,000 word accompanying essay on the Move website
Reviewed by , November 2nd, 2015

Looks can be deceiving. Move Records’ recording of Danaë Killian playing the complete works by Schoenberg for piano comes in a case so slender that a label can’t fit on its spine. It also comes without a booklet, although one can be downloaded at the Move website. Given these facts and given that what Killian… continue reading »

Bach, Brandenburg Concertos

Orchestra of the Antipodes, Antony Walker, conductor
Classical, Early Music
ABC Classics 476 1923
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

Although there seems to be no evidence that Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt paid much attention at all to the ‘Brandenburg’ concertos — he appears never to have organised for their performance, for example — great attention has been paid to them ever since their rediscovery in 1849. For generations of listeners, these concertos almost… continue reading »

For Emperor and Pope. Music for a Renaissance Court

The Song Company plus Tommie Andersson, lute
Classical, Early Music
ABC Classics 481 1091
Reviewed by , January 2nd, 2015

The extraordinary figure of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I lies behind part of the programme for the Song Company’s latest CD, For Emperor and Pope. One of the extraordinary cultural patrons of the Renaissance, among Maximilian’s less felicitous ideas was that of offering himself seriously as a candidate for the papacy. But his marriage… continue reading »

Francis Poulenc: Complete Music for Solo Piano

Antony Gray, piano
ABC Classics 481 1835
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Although Francis Poulenc enjoyed a lively career as a pianist, his piano music has to some extent been eclipsed by his operas Les dialogues des Carmélites and La voix humaine, orchestral works such as Les biches and certain of his choral works. Music for his own instrument occupied him reasonably intensely until about the age… continue reading »

Haydn, String Quartets Op. 20 Nos 1, 3, 4

Tinalley String Quartet
Move Records MD 3374
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2014

A decade of life has seen the Tinalley String Quartet go from success to success, garnering international attention with a first-prize win at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. This new recording, canvassing half of the epochal Op. 20 quartets, makes a superb contribution to the discography of the Haydn string quartets, and marks another… continue reading »

John Dowland — Sorrow stay

Rosemary Hodgson lute, Justin Burwood, tenor
Classical, Early Music
ABC Classics, 476 4998
Reviewed by , March 1st, 2014

Every so often, a CD comes along that gets absolutely everything right.  Just such a CD is Rosemary Hodgson and Justin Burwood’s recital of lute songs and solos by John Dowland, a recording that meets surprisingly limited competition in the discography notwithstanding the crucial role Dowland plays in the history of late Renaissance s This… continue reading »

Mahler, Symphony No 2 in C minor ‘Resurrection’ – performances by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Markus Stenz conductor; Sydney Symphony, Vladimir Ashkenazy conductor
Melbourne Symphony on ABC Classics, ABC 476 5107; Sydney Symphony Live, SSO210203
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2014

What was, with the exception of the eighth symphony (the ‘Symphony of a Thousand), his most popular symphony during Mahler’s own lifetime is the subject of these two recordings. Both are live (although with well-behaved audiences!), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s dating from 2004 and Sydney Symphony’s from 2012. The rather vexed history of the second… continue reading »

Mozart. Piano Concertos No 25 (in C major No 25 KV 503), No 18 (in B flat major No 18 KV 456), No 23 (in A major No 23 KV 488), No 27 (in B flat major No 27 KV 595) .

Nos. 25 and 18: Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Howard Shelley soloist and conductor; no. 23: Simon Tedeschi piano, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Briger conductor; no27: Imogen Cooper piano, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti leader
ABC Classics 481 0192, ABC Classics 482 0191, ABC Classics 481 0189, ABC Classics 481 0190
Reviewed by , March 1st, 2014

Four mid- to late-career piano concertos of Mozart form the focus of attention for recent discs from ABC Classics. These recordings are at least three years old, with the oldest, the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s, thirteen years old. They seem to have been recorded live (although this does not appear to be mentioned anywhere) in front… continue reading »

Mozart: Arias and Orchestral Music

Teddy Tahu Rhodes; Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Ola Rudner conductor
ABC Classics 476 5098
Reviewed by , June 8th, 2014

[This review compares two recordings by the Tasmanian Symphony: the Mozart: Arias and Orchestral Music and the recording Schubert: Symphony No. 8 ‘Unfinished’ and Incidental Music to Rosamunde — Selections,.] These two recordings present a superb opportunity to examine the work of a single orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony, over almost a decade in its life… continue reading »

Mysteries of Gregorian Chant

Singers of St Laurence, conducted by Neil McEwen
Classical, Early Music, Plainchant
ABC Classics 4765106
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

Given its over two millennia long history, one might have imagined the liturgical chant of the Christian church to have been better recorded than it is. To be fair, recordings of plainchant are not exactly lacking, but the appearance of a recital-style disc almost completely dedicated to ‘Gregorian’ chant is a reasonably rare thing and… continue reading »

Schubert: Symphony No. 8 ‘Unfinished’ and Incidental Music to Rosamunde — Selections

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Sebastian Lang-Lessing conductor
ABC Classics 476 4740
Reviewed by , June 8th, 2014

[John Weretka reviewed two recordings by the Tasmanian Symphony, this one and Mozart: Arias and Orchestral Music. The complete review, comparing performances by the orchestra ten years apart, can be found under the Mozart title. What follows here is the review of the later, Schubert recording.] Much more rewarding a listen is the more recent… continue reading »

Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring; Mahler, Symphony No 1

Australian World Orchestra, Zubin Mehta conductor
ABC Classics 481 0847
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2014

All too often, the idea of bringing the “best” together results in what runs close to unmitigated disaster as massive egos rush headlong into each other: any number of operatic performances in particular could be produced as evidence for that thesis. The idea behind the Australian World Orchestra, here captured in live performances from the… continue reading »

About John Weretka

John Weretka has taught courses on the history of music in the Renaissance and the Baroque and the theory of music for the University of Melbourne and on the art, architecture and urbanism of Rome from the Renaissance until the mid-eighteenth century onsite in Rome. He holds qualifications in mediaeval history, musicology, art history and theology and is undertaking research for a PhD in architectural history at the University of Melbourne, as well as advanced study in Latin. John’s performance experience includes appearances over three years in the plainchant projects of e21. He is the director of the chapel choir of Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne.

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