ABR Arts Music

Symphony orchestras around the world, presumably in order to mitigate financial pressures, have turned to Hollywood in the last few years, and Australia is hardly immune. At times it seems that one of our major orchestras is playing the score to another Harry Potter film every other week. There may have been an artistic case to make when ...

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Once in a while (more or less annually), Alexander Briger brings Australia’s orchestral musicians home from Europe, the United States, and other international and national playing fields for a cross between a concert, a jamboree, and a school reunion. It’s irresistible, and if there’s one thing that emerges from every AWO performance ...

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‘Violas should be seen and not heard,’ quipped Malcolm Sargent. Classical music lovers know very well that the viola is ripe for ridicule and has inspired countless jokes. In this concert, the viola was enjoyably celebrated as a worthy solo as well as accompanying instrument. Brett Dean’s Notturno Quieto, an Australian première, begins with a viola solo, as does Bartók’s Viola Concerto.

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Midwinter Melbourne resounded last week to Igor Stravinsky’s promise of spring, in two works that trace the seasonal drama of life, death, and rebirth. The Rite of Spring (1913) is a young man’s spectacular evocation of the exhilaration and terror of spring in ancient Russia, while Perséphone (1934) is a more reflective response to the endless cycle of the seasons, written by an older and more spiritual composer by then in permanent exile.

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2019 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Wednesday, 12 June 2019

In 1959, Miles Davis entered Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York, with his sextet, and recorded what many consider to be the greatest jazz album of all time: Kind of Blue. It was an inspired idea to program a performance of this music, in celebration of the album’s sixtieth anniversary, at the twenty-second Melbourne International Jazz Festival ...

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The Stonnington Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Tuesday, 21 May 2019

It was a bold move by Stonnington Jazz to program an all-female/non-binary performance for the Festival’s opening concert: War Cry. Jazz, like much else, has come in for its fair share of criticism in the #MeToo era, its historical icons – bar a few exceptions – made up mostly of male musicians ...

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Season Opening Gala (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) ★★★★

Elizabeth Kertesz
Monday, 18 March 2019

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Season Opening Gala last night was billed as part of their curated ‘East Meets West’ experience, and featured violinist Lü Siqing, with whom the orchestra toured China in 2018. It opened with a short welcoming address from MSO Board Chairman Michael Ullmer ...

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Picaresque (Adelaide Festival) ★★★

Ben Brooker
Thursday, 14 March 2019

For the uninitiated, a maquette is an architectural miniature of a monument or building. Small, made from cardboard or wood, and often able to be flat-packed, travellers have long collected them as souvenirs of adventures to faraway places. Robyn Archer, doyenne of Australian cabaret ...

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Heavenly (Queensland Symphony Orchestra) ★★★★★

Gillian Wills
Tuesday, 19 February 2019

In last year’s opening Maestro concert, the young Scandinavian conductor Daniel Blendulf made his début with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Alondra de la Parra, the orchestra’s chief conductor, was to have directed this year’s introductory concert, but as she was invited to replace the indisposed Franz Welser-Möst in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) in Berlin ...

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Daniel Barenboim, then primarily a pianist, last visited Sydney in 1970. He and his wife, Jacqueline du Pré, performed the complete piano and cello sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven at the Sydney Town Hall. They also visited the site of the Sydney Opera house, which opened three years later ...

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