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Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia. He has published on the design work of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, and is a regular contributor to ABR.

Tchaikovsky and Grieg (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 16 November 2015
After his Adelaide concert, Grosvenor concluded his Australian tour with a stellar performance of the Grieg piano concerto with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Asher Fisch, first in Geelong then in Melbourne. The concerto was flanked by Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture and his Fourth Symphony. Even such an exuberant program, with the full forces of the orchestra ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Philanthropy and the Arts' by Jennifer Radbourne and Kenneth Watkins

November 2015, no. 376 30 October 2015
The Australian Ballet's role as a leader in philanthropy and fundraising has long been recognised in the arts community. Anyone who has followed the company will be aware of the sophistication of its fundraising activities and its phenomenal success. Much of this has been directed by Kenneth Watkins, who since 1993 has worked in various fundraising roles at The Australian Ballet. Philanthropy and ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'The Essence of French Cooking' by Michel Roux and 'The Best of Gretta Anna with Martin Teplitzky' by Gretta Anna Teplitzky and Martin Teplitzky

November 2015, no. 376 29 October 2015
Why is it that some recipe books fill you with enthusiasm to fire up the stove the instant you open them while others remain on the shelf, consulted rather than cooked from? Is it the text, the photographs, the design, or because they come from the pen of a trusted cook? In the case of The Essence of French Cooking and The Best of Gretta Anna with Martin Teplitzky, it is a combination of all these ... (read more)

Simone Young and Brahms (ANAM/MRC)

ABR Arts 21 September 2015
Simone Young’s return to Melbourne saw her presenting a mostly Romantic program with soprano Emma Matthews and the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) Orchestra. The first half, heralded by Paul Stanhope’s Fantasia on a Theme of Vaughan Williams (2003), was devoted to Duparc songs and an orchestral nocturne. After interval, the slightly reduced orchestra performed Brahms’s Second Sym ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Siena' by Jane Tylus

September 2015, no. 374 27 August 2015
Visitors to Siena are told about two major historical catastrophes that determined the future of the city: the Black Death in 1348 and the final capitulation to Florence in 1555. Such events manifest themselves respectively in the spectacularly incomplete Duomo and in the marked reduction of buildings and art created after the sixteenth century, when the city’s fortunes declined under submission ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Mid-Century Modern Complete' by Dominic Bradbury

June-July 2015, no. 372 29 May 2015
The reconstruction of the built environment that followed World War II was central to the development of international design in the third quarter of the twentieth century. This is the background and context for Mid-Century Modern Complete, a large volume which covers design and architecture (mostly European and North American) from the 1940s to the early 1970s. As Dominic Bradbury notes in the in ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Emporium: Selling the dream in colonial Australia' by Edwin Barnard

March 2015, no. 369 02 March 2015
Nowadays, with relentless advertising and a seemingly endless number of choices to confuse our every purchase, often only a click away from gratification, it might be tempting to imagine a time when things were simplerand retailing less pressured and more genteel. However, one would have to go a long way back in time to find an Australia without shops; indeed, to before 1790, when Sydney’s first ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'The English and Australian Cookery Book' by Edward Abbott

January-February 2015, no. 368 17 December 2014
Given the deluge of cookery books and unrelenting television programs, it is hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t a single Australian cookery book. This year marks the sesquicentenary of the first: The English and Australian Cookery Book, a volume published anonymously in London, and compiled by ‘An Australian Aristologist’, Edward Abbott. Abbott (1801–69) was born in Sydney and by 181 ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'History of Design: Decorative arts and material culture, 1400–2000', edited by Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber

December 2014, no. 367 01 December 2014
The Bard Graduate Center, long known for its ground-breaking studies in the decorative arts, has taken the ambitious leap of presenting a comprehensive history of decorative arts and design from 1400 to 2000, covering Asia, the Islamic world, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. (Coverage of Australia and Oceania is planned for future editions.) At over 700 pages, this is a most impressive achievemen ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Visions of Colonial Grandeur: John Twycross at Melbourne’s International Exhibitions' by Charlotte Smith and Benjamin Thomas

November 2014, no. 366 01 November 2014
Not many substantial private collections of art and decorative arts in Australia have remained intact from the nineteenth century. John Twycross (1819–89) was one of Melbourne’s early art collectors, and his collection has proved to be an exception. Twycross, lured there by the gold rush, made his money as a merchant in Melbourne in the middle of the nineteenth century. He began collecting art ... (read more)