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Robert Gibson

Robert Gibson

Robert Gibson has lectured in music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of Regensburg, and St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford. He has written for Opera Australia, State Opera of South Australia, Victorian Opera, Opera Queensland, Friends of the Barcelona Opera House (Gran Teatre del Liceu), Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Wigmore Hall, Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Proms, ABC Classics, Australian Book Review, Limelight magazine, and many other organisations and publications. A graduate of the University of Oxford (DPhil), he is currently Publications Editor at the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Robert Gibson reviews 'The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century' by Alex Ross

May 2008, no. 301 14 December 2023
Histories of classical music of whatever epoch – medieval, baroque, twentieth-century – tend to be written by university professors writing for a university readership. That being the case, they are issued by academic textbook publishers and are unlikely to pop up in your local bookstore. Chances are they won’t appear on best-seller and ‘pick of the critics’ lists. ... (read more)

Robert Gibson reviews 'Opera of the Greek: Studies in the Poetics of Appropriation' by Michael Ewans

June 2008, no. 302 01 June 2008
It has been the opinion of many, most Christian Queen, that the ancient Greeks and Romans, in representing their tragedies upon the stage, sang them throughout. But until now this noble manner of recitation has been neither revived nor (to my knowledge) even attempted by anyone, and I used to believe that this was due to the imperfection of the modern music, by far inferior to the ancient. Th ... (read more)

Robert Gibson reviews ‘Wagner Beyond Good and Evil’ by John Deathridge

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
Yet another book on Wagner. Given the title, you might expect it to be an investigation of Wagner’s complex relationship with Nietzsche or, failing that, a study which, like Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil (1886), attempts to push the examination of a given subject beyond the limits to which it hitherto has been confined. The blurb on the dust jacket appears to suggest the latter: ‘Deathrid ... (read more)

Robert Gibson reviews 'Why Classical Music Still Matters' by Lawrence Kramer

September 2007, no. 294 01 September 2007
A little over a year ago, the contents of George W Bush’s iPod were made public. The revelation offered momentary respite to the beleaguered president as the international press seized upon the playlist, scrutinised its contents and, much to the relief of the White House, made tallies of song titles and popular music genres instead of the latest casualties in Iraq. IPod One, as it was dubbed, wa ... (read more)

Robert Gibson reviews 'In Search of Hobart' by Peter Timms

February 2010, no. 318 07 October 2022
I first came to Hobart just over three years ago, to take up a job. Unencumbered and ready for an adventure, I thought nothing of agreeing to the post without ever having visited the Tasmanian capital (or Tasmania, for that matter). The job advertisement included the promise of an ‘idyllic lifestyle’, which sounded pretty good to me. ‘Idyllic’ was hardly the word that came to mind during ... (read more)

Robert Gibson reviews 'Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian opera' by Philip Gossett

March 2007, no. 289 01 March 2007
Divas and scholars is the work of a scholar who is no stranger to the world of divas. Philip Gossett is a music professor at the University of Chicago and is principally in the business of preparing scholarly editions of nineteenth-century operas by Italian composers. We might think of the academic institution and the opera house as antithetical spaces, but Gossett is frequently called upon to adv ... (read more)

Robert Gibson reviews 'The Rite of Spring: 75 Years of ABC music-making' by Martin Buzacott

October 2007, no. 295 01 October 2007
In the course of its seventy-five years, the ABC has maintained a variety of in-house live music ensembles, including symphony orchestras, radio choruses, dance bands, a show band, military band and string quartet. In its capacity as a concert agency, the national broadcaster has been responsible for touring an astonishing array of artists. Claudio Arrau, John Barbirolli, Thomas Beecham, Otto Klem ... (read more)

Robert Gibson reviews 'Talking With Margaret Throsby' by Margaret Throsby

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
David Malouf, one of the subjects interviewed by Margaret Throsby in Talking with Margaret Throsby, recounts his childhood experiences as an eavesdropper. He reveals that by listening in on conversations between his mother and her women friends he learnt about a world that was otherwise off-limits to him. For devotees of Mornings with Margaret Throsby on ABC Classic FM, the experience might sound ... (read more)

The Magic Flute (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 22 September 2014
English Mozart scholar Edward J. Dent once dismissed the libretto of The Magic Flute as ‘one of the most absurd specimens of that form of literature in which absurdity is regarded as a matter of course’. Michael Gow’s generally marvellous translation and adaptation of Emanuel Schikaneder’s libretto for Mozart’s final opera (or penultimate opera, depending upon how pedantic you want to be ... (read more)

Robert Gibson reviews 'Richard Wagner: A life in music' by Martin Geck

February 2014, no. 358 17 January 2014
After four days in the theatre, and just as many resting up between instalments, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen ends with a big tune. Like most of Wagner’s themes, this one has been given a name: the ‘Redemption through Love’ motif. The name was not the work of the composer but of one of his acolytes, Hans von Wolzogen, and in its original German it is ‘Liebeserlösung’ which ... (read more)
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