Melbourne Symphony Orchestra | The Music Trust

Adès: Polaris – Voyage for Orchestra. Stanhope: Piccolo Concerto

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Markus Stenz, Benjamin Northey, conductors. Andrew Macleod, piccolo
Classical, New Music
ABC Classics 481 0862
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2014

Once upon a time British music was seen by an aspiring Australian avant-garde as incorrigibly conservative. A semi-mythical figure, the English organist-composer, minted by one or other Oxbridge college, would descend on Australia and, taking up an academic or other institutional position, act as a reactionary brake on the development of local modernism. We still… continue reading »

Agony and Ecstasy: Australian Music from the Time of Arthur Boyd

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, South Australian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, various conductors
Classical, New Music
ABC Classics 481 1210
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2014

What with the perils of internet piracy, the impending death of classical music and the end of the civilisation as we know it, the recording business faces one or two challenges. These are met with various strategies, ranging from the Complete Symphonies/String Quartets of canonical composer N to recycling bleeding chunks for ‘best of’ CDs,… continue reading »

Babe: orchestral soundtrack. Composed by Nigel Westlake

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nigel Westlake
Film Music
ABC Classics 481 1819
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

The orchestral score composed by Nigel Westlake for the highly acclaimed Australian feature film, Babe (Chris Noonan, 1995), is a delight. It is full of attractive melodies supported by scintillating orchestrations. When Westlake scored Babe, he had only a few screen music credits under his belt, and it is fair to say that the project… 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 »

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 »

Paper Planes. Film score by Nigel Westlake

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Westlake. Performers include Michael Keiran Harvey, Riley Lee, Hannah Coleman, Cold Chisel, Lior. Film directed by Robert Connolly, starring Ed Oxenbould, Sam Worthington.
Classical, Contemporary, Film Music, New Music
ABC Classics 481 1477
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2015

Based somewhat loosely on a true story, Paper Planes is a film for children scored by Nigel Westlake. It’s the highest grossing Australian children’s film ever. The original true account described on the ABC’s Australian Story (see link below) is about a young adult, Dylan Parker, who is a keen distance flyer of paper planes…. 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 »

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