ABR Arts Music

2017 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Monday, 19 June 2017

Marking its twentieth anniversary, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) had much to celebrate in 2017. I can vividly recall the first Festival in 1998, a weekend-long event attended by what seemed like a handful of us, moving in unison between city venues ...

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Angela Hewitt (Musica Viva) ★★★★★

Christopher Menz
Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Canadian-born pianist Angela Hewitt is well known to Australian audiences through her regular visits and her memorable performances and recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach’s keyboard repertoire. Her legendary performances of Bach, encompassing superb playing and ...

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After the recent appearance of Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in Sydney, the next visitors to the Sydney Opera House in the World Orchestras Program were the Hong Kong Philharmonic under conductor Jaap van Zweden, with violinist Ning Feng ...

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Jazz Greats Weekend at Monash

Des Cowley
Wednesday, 29 March 2017

That Monash University has become a national leader in jazz studies is far from surprising when we consider the calibre of its teaching staff: pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky, saxophonist Rob Burke, trumpeter Paul Williamson, and trombonist Jordon Murray, among others ...

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How much is too much music? What creates a successful program? The first of András Schiff’s two Tokyo recitals in the splendid Opera City Concert Hall left these and other questions in the forefront of this reviewer’s mind. Advertised under the banner ‘The Last Sonatas’, the pair of recitals ...

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Russian-born violinist Maxim Vengerov – still in his early forties and long recovered from a shoulder injury that stopped him from playing for five years – has been a welcome visitor to Australia since 1999. That year, in Melbourne, he gave a brilliant recital and also performed the Beethoven ...

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The Long String Instrument (The Substation) ★★★★

Dilan Gunawardana
Tuesday, 31 January 2017

It seems fitting that the co-opted electrical substation in Newport, Melbourne should be the site of an enterprising arts space. Formerly it was used to generate electricity for Victorian Railways (it fell into disrepair in the 1960s). Perhaps some residual energy still pulses through the concrete lattice ...

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Porgy and Bess (Sydney Symphony Orchestra) ★★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 28 November 2016

If any work can be dubbed as ‘The Great American Opera’, it is Gershwin’s genre-transgressing masterpiece, Porgy and Bess. It was based on white Southern writer DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy (1925), as well as on his highly successful stage adaptation of the novel which had been a hit in ...

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Rarely has Arts Update sensed such anticipation in a city as it did before Saturday evening’s performance of highlights from Tristan und Isolde in Hobart. Throughout the day – much of it spent at MONA, admiring the new exhibition, On the Origin of Art – we kept meeting operaphiles from ...

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A Survey of Classical Music Boxed Sets (Universal Music)

Michael Shmith
Monday, 14 November 2016

Part of the enduring attraction of CDs, is that the format is still the nonpareil of repertoire and artistry for dedicated collectors. The boxed set, which is of course not a new idea (think of Karajan’s 1960s set of Beethoven symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon), is ideally suited to CD, not just for ...

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