ABR Arts Music

‘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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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
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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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
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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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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2018 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues

Des Cowley
12 November 2018

Now in its twenty-ninth year, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues continues to deliver programming that is innovative, ambitious, and far-reaching. That a long-running Festival of this scale and significance takes place annually in a regional Victorian city says much about the tenacity and dedication of the Festival’s artistic team ...

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Beethoven’s Nine, Ode to Joy 

Zoltán Szabó
01 November 2018

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s late-October subscription concerts offered an interesting juxtaposition by pairing the final symphonies of Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven. These masterworks illustrate the enormous changes that revolutionised symphonic writing within a few decades from the last decades of the eighteenth century.

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