Author Inge Southcott

Inge Southcott practised medicine for 10 years before pursuing singing at a professional level. She was with OA for 6 years (F/T chorus, minor principal) until 1995. Nowadays, she teaches singing in Armidale, performs, conducts, adjudicates, and dabbles in the visual arts. She holds the following degrees: MBBS, BMus, MMus (Vocal Pedagogy) and BFA (Hons).

Art Songs
Moonlight Reflections. Stacey Alleaume

Artist/s: Stacey Alleaume (soprano), Amir Farid (pianist), Zoe Knighton (cellist), Erica Kennedy (violinist)
Category: Art Songs, Classical
Label: MOVE Records  MCD 613
Reviewed by

“Stacey Alleaume, a multi-award – winning soprano and Opera Australia principal has released her debut album of art songs from the late Romantic period. The choices suit her superb voice perfectly and with such excellent support from the pianist Amir Farid, there are many delights to enjoy on this disc.” 

Art Songs
The Night Parrot, by Jessica Wells

Artist/s: Morgan England-Jones (soprano), Acacia Quartet: Lisa Stewart (violin), Myee Clohessy (violin), Stefan Duwe (viola), Anna Martin-Scrase (cello)
Category: Art Songs, Classical, New Music
Label: ABC Digital Album ABC 0028948556892
Reviewed by

“The compelling story of colonial destruction, then the rediscovery and preservation of Australian night parrots, long thought to be extinct, inspired this attractive song cycle composed by Jessica Wells. It celebrates the fact that when disparate interest groups put aside their differences and work together, such precious creatures may be saved…”

Art Songs
On Eternal Love. Romantic Lieder. Taryn Fiebig and Scott Davie

Artist/s: Taryn Fiebig (soprano) and Scott Davie (pianist). Songs by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Strauss, Poulenc and Hahn. 
Category: Art Songs, Classical
Label:  ABC Classic digital album 0028948556151
Reviewed by

“A superb studio recording of well-known songs from the Romantic period performed by soprano Taryn Fiebig and pianist Scott Davie. It is one of the best lieder recitals released by ABC  Classics in recent years.”

Classical Music Recording
La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, Opera Australia

Artist/s: Directed by Andy Morton and conducted by Brian Castles-Onion, with Julia Maria Dan (Mimi), Ho-Yoon Chung (Rodolfo), Julie Lea Goodwin (Musetta), Samuel Dundas (Marcello), Richard Anderson (Colline), Christopher Hillier (Schaunard), John Bolton Wood (Alcindoro/Benoit), Opera Australia Chorus and Opera Australia Orchestra.
Category: Classical, Film, Opera
Label: DVD. ABC Classic 0763068
Reviewed by

“Andy Morton’s directorial debut with this Opera Australia production of this most popular of operas has given us just the right balance of glamorous spectacle (as befits the huge outdoor setting on Sydney Harbour) and intimacy.”

Music Education Book
The Music Advantage. How learning music helps your child’s brain and wellbeing

Author: Dr. Anita Collins
Category: Music Education
Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2020. 260pp. (pbk)
ISBN 978 -1- 76087- 588 – 6
Reviewed by

“Two decades of research into the effects of learning music on our brains are condensed into a fascinating book – showing the overwhelming evidence that music education will benefit every child – and thus it should be part of their overall education.”

Art Songs
Songs for a Day. Art songs of Aristéa Mellos

Artist/s: Helen Zhibing Huang (soprano), Ada Arumeh Kim Lowery (pianist), Jane Bishop (flautist) and James Larsen (cellist)
Category: Art Songs, Classical
Label: Xenophone n.2001
Reviewed by

The disc includes two excellent song cycles plus some earlier songs, all composed by Aristéa Mellos since 2013. The cycle Songs for a Day was specifically written for the soprano Helen Zhibing Huang and pianist Ada Arumeh Kim, and their performance is very moving. Huang’s dramatic ability and beauty of tone does full justice to all these well-crafted songs.

Classical Music Recording
Unexpected News. Music of Nico Muhly & Philip Glass

Artist/s: Brett Brown (baritone), Sally Whitwell (piano), Alexander Osborne (violin), The Omega Ensemble conducted by Gordon Hamilton
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: ABC Classic 481 8617
Reviewed by

“Three chamber pieces performed by a top Australian ensemble make an excellent introduction to the work of the acclaimed American composer, Nico Muhly, (b. 1981). His compositions are heavily influenced by Steve Reich and Philip Glass – renowned leaders of American minimalism, and Glass’s beautiful 2008 Violin Sonata No.1. is also included on the disc.”

Art Songs
Letters from a Black Snake

Artist/s: Barry Ryan OAM (baritone) and Jeanell Carrigan AM (piano)
Category: Art Songs, Classical, New Music
Label: Wirripang Media Wirr093
Reviewed by

“These beautifully wrought songs by George Palmer AM QC (b.1947) will undoubtedly take their place in anthologies of the best Australian art songs. With his excellent choice of texts and the strength of his music, they seem quintessentially Australian, and the performances by Barry Ryan and Jeanell Carrigan are absolutely top class.”

Art Songs
Winterreise/Winter Journey. Franz Schubert

Artist/s: Nathan Lay (baritone), Brian Chapman (pianist), Lucy Chapman (visual artist)
Category: Art Songs, Classical
Label: Move Records MCD 594
Reviewed by

“Nathan Lay (baritone) and Brian Chapman (pianist) have recorded two complete fine performances of Schubert’s masterpiece – one in a new English translation by Chapman and the other in the original German. And the 2 CD set comes as an elegant booklet with 24 striking paintings by Lucy Chapman, one for each song…”

Art Songs
Snow in Summer

Artist/s: Evergreen Ensemble. Shane Lestideau (director/baroque violin/backing vocals), Claire Patti (vocals/celtic harp), Samantha Cohen (theorbo/baroque guitar), Jenny Eriksson (viola da gamba)
Category: Art Songs, Classical, Folk, Fusion
Label: Move Records MCD 584
Reviewed by

“This fine Victorian-based ensemble led by Australian master fiddler and baroque violinist, Shane Lestideau, present arrangements of beautiful ancient Scottish and Swedish folksongs, interspersed with 18th century baroque string sonatas, and a new composition by Alice Chance.”

Art Songs
New Art Song of the Pacific Rim

Artist/s: Kevin Hanrahan (tenor), Diana Blom (piano)
Category: Art Songs, Classical
Label: Wirripang (Wirr 094)
Reviewed by

“Hanrahan and Blom give excellent performances of nineteen songs from the last three decades. The works themselves vary from memorable to mediocre, and while none explored an original or distinctive approach to this genre, the disc is very enjoyable.”

Classical Music Recording
The Ultimate Gilbert & Sullivan Anthology. A Compilation of Favourite Songs and Choruses

Artist/s: Soloists: Thomas Edmonds, Robert Dawe, Dennis Olsen, Norma Knight, Ruth Gurner, John Wegner. Chorus: Corinthian Singers, Festival Chorus. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Christiansen, State Orchestra of Victoria conducted by Richard Divall
Category: Classical, Light Opera
Label: ABC Classics 481 5732
Reviewed by

“You will find some of Australia’s finest interpreters of the comic operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan in this compilation of recordings (from 2001 and 2010). It reminds us why their artistic collaboration was one of the most successful in the history of Western music.

Classical Music Recording
Christine McCombe. three kinds of silence

Artist/s: Natasha Conrau / Leigh Raymond / Marianne Rothschild (violin), Susanna Ling (viola), Naomi Wileman / Rosanne Hunt (cello), Deborah Kayser (voice), Glenn Riddle (piano)
Category: Classical, New Music, Vocal
Label: Tall Poppies TP249
Reviewed by

“Four chamber works show the development of composer Christine McCombe’s art from 1997 to 2015. I found her work original and totally absorbing.”

Classical Music Recording
Peter and the Wolf (Prokofief), The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (Britten), Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances (Borodin)

Artist/s: Miriam Margolyes (narrator), Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Carter
Category: Classical
Label: ABC Classics 0783017 (DVD)
Reviewed by

“This delightful concert recorded live on DVD was designed to appeal to all ages. Miriam Margolyes is a wonderful narrator and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Carter gives exciting performances of these much-loved works…”

Choral music
Ubi Caritas

Artist/s: Choir of Trinity College, Melbourne. Michael Leighton Jones (conductor), John O’Donnell and Hugh Fullarton (organ), Jonathan Bradley (piano)
Category: Choral music, Classical, New Music, Plainchant
Label: ABC digital download (free)
Reviewed by

“This digital album is a selection of beautiful works by contemporary composers in the English Anglican cathedral choral tradition, recorded by the Choir of Trinity College, Melbourne under the expert direction of Michael Leighton Jones. The singing is superb.”

Biography Book

Author: Roland Perry
Category: Biography, Book
Sydney: ABC Books / HarperCollinsPublishers Aust. Pty. Ltd. 2016. 388 pp. Accompanying CD (unreviewed)
ISBN 978-0-7333-3508-2 (pbk)
Reviewed by

“This biography is a fascinating description of the French demi-monde culture during the Second Empire, as experienced by Céleste Vénard (1824-1909), who eventually became the most celebrated courtesan in Paris. Roland Perry brings her inspiring story of courage and resilience to life for us in a very enjoyable read.”  

SWOON: The Opera Collection

Artist/s: Compilation. Various artists, Australian and foreign.
Category: Arias, Classical, Opera
Label: 2 CDs, ABC Classics 536 9199
Reviewed by

“Two and a half hours of glorious singing and rapturous music: operatic arias chosen by Mairi Nicolson and Warner Whiteford ( from ABC Classic FM’s The Opera Show) in this very special two CD set.”

Art Songs Music Recording
Val Gavin. Song Offerings

Artist/s: Julian Gavin (tenor), May Gavin (piano)
Category: Art Songs, Classical, Music Recording
Label: Tall Poppies TP235
Reviewed by

“‘Song Offerings’ by Val Gavin (1935-2003) are two unpublished song cycles, here wonderfully performed by her son and daughter. They certainly deserve recognition as part of the great tradition of twentieth century English art song.”

Arias Music Recording
Agony and Ecstasy

Artist/s: Emma Matthews (soprano), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrea Molino
Category: Arias, Classical, Music Recording, Opera
Label: ABC Classics 481 4236
Reviewed by

“This splendid recording of bel canto operatic arias, performed by the leading Australian soprano, Emma Matthews, represents the span of her career to date. It is a treasure trove: jaw-dropping coloratura and glorious tone from Matthews and wonderfully sympathetic playing by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under the baton of maestro Andrea Molino.”

Art Songs Music Recording
Ballads of the Pleasant Life. Kurt Weill, Weimar and Exile

Artist/s: Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone). Nexas Quartet: Michael Duke (soprano saxophone), Andrew Smith (alto saxophone), Nathan Henshaw (tenor saxophone), Jay Byrnes (baritone saxophone), Benjamin Burton (piano)
Category: Art Songs, Classical, Music Recording, Musical Theatre
Label: ABC Classics 576 2204
Reviewed by

Baritone Peter Coleman-Wright and the Nexas Quartet bring us a fascinating glimpse into the period of the fall of the Weimar Republic, when music was the language of defiance and protest, as well as of love and beauty in a world on the brink of catastrophe…

Art Songs Music Recording
Çanakkale – Gallipoli Songs

Artist/s: Ayşe Göknur Shanal (soprano), Patrick Keith, Erberk Eryilmaz, Ross Fiddes (piano)
Category: Art Songs, Classical, Music Recording, New Music
Label: Wirripang Wirr 707
Reviewed by

“The wonderful Turkish-Australian soprano Ayşe Göknur Shanal performs new song cycles by contemporary Australasian composers, and the sheer beauty and dramatic power of her voice left me profoundly moved.”

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