Welcome to ABR Arts, home to some of Australia's best arts journalism. We review film, theatre, opera, music, television, art exhibitions – and more. Reviews remain open for one week before being paywalled.
Sign up to ABR Arts and receive longform arts criticism to your inbox every fortnight on Tuesdays. And if you are interested in writing for ABR Arts, tell us about your passions and your expertise.
Given the unalloyed delight of hearing the English pianist Paul Lewis’s magnificent traversal of the late sonatas of Schubert, it is hard to believe that these pieces, now so central to the piano repertoire, were once so peripheral, so neglected, as to be considered at worst non-existent or, at best, gemütlich items of curiosity. The latter view was neatly encapsulated by the great Schubert virtuoso, Alfred Brendel. In the early 1960s, he was on a recital tour of South America when Pope John XXIII died. In Buenos Aires, Brendel was politely asked if he could change his program to rid it of the Schubert Sonata in A. The reason: ‘It could arouse frivolous associations because of Lilac Time.’ Brendel explained that the sonata was ‘a profoundly tragic piece’, and played it as planned.... (read more)