Christopher Menz

To highlight Australian Book Review’s arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year’s memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and art exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate some favourites.

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Formerly only known to historians and specialists, either in the original German or the author's abridged translation, Friedrich Gerstäcker's Australian travelogue (1854), based on ...

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Los Angeles – city of freeways, studios, hotels, and endless sunshine – is also home to some great art collections and notable architecture, the latter spanning much of the twentieth century. Several of the art museums, taking advantage of the climate, are built as a series of separate pavilions ...

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The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals book edited by Marcia Reed & Food in Art: From Prehistory to the Renaissance by Gillian Riley

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April 2016, no. 380

Food in history is a tantalising thing. Although we may have recipes, firsthand descriptions, and images, we can never be sure how things really looked or tasted. Much of the work of food historians has been focused on creative use of available sources, not to provide facsimile meals, but to gain insight into the cultural role of food of the past. Two recent books e ...

Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus (Twenty Contemplations on the Christ Child) was written in 1944 by Olivier Messiaen (1908–92) for his muse, subsequent wife, and dedicatee of the cycle, the pianist Yvonne Loriod. The cycle consists of twenty works of varying length for solo piano ...

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In an age of blockbusters and ever bigger and grander exhibitions, The Greats: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland puts a compelling case for 'less is more'. This model exhibition demonstrates how satisfying a relatively small exhibition can be when the right works are chosen and installed handsomely ...

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In a program spanning two hundred years of violin playing – from Bach to Ravel via Beethoven, Ernst, Paganini, and Ysaÿe, with encores by Brahms and Massenet – Maxim Vengerov enthralled his Melbourne audience with incomparable musicianship and an often dazzling technique. Demonstrating his command of the ...

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The National Gallery of Australia's summer exhibition, opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 2 December, is devoted to one of Australia's finest and most popular artists, Tom Roberts. This major retrospective, under the curatorship of the NGA's Anne Gray, brings together all the major paintings, many of them ...

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As if to make the point that Richard Wagner's shadow looms over all the classical music that followed him, this Sydney Symphony Orchestra concert entitled Thus Spake Zarathustra began and ended with him.

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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 in fine form, proved the power of music to provide the necessary solace following news of the dreadful events in Paris on 13 November.

Grosvenor demonstrated his perfect artistry and musicianship, bringing extraordinary subtlety of expression to a work better known for its bombastic passages and hair-raising exposed entries for the soloist.

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