ABR Arts Music

These days a victorious homecoming is normally reserved for élite athletes, but since 2011 it has had an equivalent in the sphere of classical music, thanks to the creation of the Australian World Orchestra. The brainchild of Alexander Briger, this project-based orchestra unites expatriate Australians ...

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Missa Solemnis ★★★★★ (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

Morag Fraser
Wednesday, 31 August 2016


How fortunate was Rudolph Johann Joseph Rainer, Archduke of Austria. In his short life (he died at forty-three), he enjoyed the privileges of empire and the high positions that accrued to his noble state – including the ecclesiastical roles of cardinal and archbishop. Yet we would hardly remember ...

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Iron in the Blood is jazz musician Jeremy Rose's ambitious and heartfelt tribute to Robert Hughes's The Fatal Shore (1986). Although some academic historians may demur, The Fatal Shore remains a crucial book for understanding the brutality of Australia's colonial origins ...

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Everyone loves a youth orchestra. All that young talent and enthusiasm oozing from the stage energises and captivates. An audience comprising a good number of proud parents and friends lends a sense of heightened anticipation ...

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Why an A-Z of Brendel? Well, this is what the man himself has to say in the preface to his slim volume, A Pianist's A-Z: A piano lover's reader (2013): 'This book distils what, at my advanced age, I feel able to say about music, musicians, and matters of my pianistic profession ...

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Dark Mofo 2016 (MONA)

Dilan Gunawardana
Monday, 27 June 2016

The streets of Hobart are especially cold and quiet on the longest night of the year. Those out and about are simply commuting from place to place, wrapped in scarves, hats, and jackets. Some head towards St David's Cathedral to attend Heart of Darkness, the penultimate performance of ...

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2016 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Wednesday, 15 June 2016

In his introduction to the opening night concert of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF), Michael Tortoni, the artistic director, noted that some 43,000 patrons were expected to attend over 120 concerts during this year's program. That is a lot of devotees to a musical form often ...

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Stephen Sondheim's Follies opened on Broadway in 1971, during his most fertile period as a composer and lyricist; it premièred one year after Company and two years before A Little Night Music. It echoed the plotless structure of the former and the ambivalent nostalgia of the latter ...

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Cloudstreet (State Opera of South Australia) ★★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 16 May 2016

If any contemporary Australian novel can be said to be canonical, or perhaps even 'the great Australian novel', then it must be Tim Winton's Cloudstreet. Published in 1991, it soon acquired a devoted following and elevated Winton into the top rank of Australian writers ...

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Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft: The Mono Era, 1948-1957

Michael Shmith
Friday, 29 April 2016

It is one of the most recognised symbols in the classical-record industry: German graphic designer Hans Domizlaff's crown of stylised tulips that constitutes the colophon (or logo, as we would now say) of Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. Domizlaff sketched out the colophon in pencil on ...

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