ABR Arts Music

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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Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus (Twenty Contemplations on the Christ Child) was written in 1944 by Olivier Messiaen (1908–92) for his muse, subsequent wife, and dedicatee of the cycle, the pianist Yvonne Loriod. The cycle consists of twenty works of varying length for solo piano ...

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Reaching for an English word to capture the shifting rhythmic pulse of his Concerto Italiano's performances of Monteverdi, director Rinaldo Alessandrini hazarded 'elasticity'. 'Is that the word?', he queried ABC Radio National's Andrew Ford (who had suggested 'freedom'). It was, yes, ...

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Winterreise (Sydney Festival) ★★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Friday, 08 January 2016

The protagonist of Thomas Mann's great novel, The Magic Mountain (1924), Hans Castorp, goes into battle, and almost certainly his death, at the end of the book singing 'Der Lindenbaum' from Schubert's song cycle, Winterreise: The song meant a great deal to him, a whole world ... His fate ...

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Judas Maccabæus (St. George’s Cathedral Consort)

William Yeoman
Monday, 14 December 2015

Airings of Handel's Judas Maccabaeus are now so rare it is easy to forget that it was, in the composer's day and along with Messiah and perhaps Samson, among his most frequently performed oratorios. Nobody present at this electrifying account by a stellar quartet of soloists, the St George's Cathedral Consort ...

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Maxim Vengerov (Musica Viva)

Christopher Menz
Wednesday, 09 December 2015

In a program spanning two hundred years of violin playing – from Bach to Ravel via Beethoven, Ernst, Paganini, and Ysaÿe, with encores by Brahms and Massenet – Maxim Vengerov enthralled his Melbourne audience with incomparable musicianship and an often dazzling technique. Demonstrating his command of the ...

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Thus Spake Zarathustra (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Christopher Menz
Tuesday, 01 December 2015

As if to make the point that Richard Wagner's shadow looms over all the classical music that followed him, this Sydney Symphony Orchestra concert entitled Thus Spake Zarathustra began and ended with him.

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Tchaikovsky & Grieg (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

Christopher Menz
Monday, 16 November 2015

After his Adelaide concert, Grosvenor concluded his Australian tour with a stellar performance of the Grieg piano concerto with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Asher Fisch, first in Geelong then in Melbourne. The concerto was flanked by Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture and his Fourth Symphony. Even such an exuberant program, with the full forces of the orchestra in fine form, proved the power of music to provide the necessary solace following news of the dreadful events in Paris on 13 November.

Grosvenor demonstrated his perfect artistry and musicianship, bringing extraordinary subtlety of expression to a work better known for its bombastic passages and hair-raising exposed entries for the soloist.

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Benjamin Grosvenor Recital (Recitals Australia)

Michael Morley
Tuesday, 10 November 2015

By now, it is more or less de rigueur to prefix comments on Benjamin Grosvenor's abilities at the keyboard by mentioning his age. Well, yes, it has to be said that, at twenty-three, there is more than a touch of the Wunderkind about what he does. But make no mistake: this is a serious, talented, imaginative, and committed musician who makes some of his more hyped co ...

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