ABR Arts Music
Vingts Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus (Melbourne Recital Centre) ★★★★★ and Sir Andrew Davis Conducts Mahler 5 (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) ★★★★1/2
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 ...... (read more)
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, ...... (read more)
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 ...... (read more)
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 ...... (read more)
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 ...... (read more)
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.... (read more)
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.
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 ...
In 2012 Stephen Sondheim reacted rather unexpectedly to a new production entitled 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess'. The original show, which itself has undergone multiple transformations since its première in 1935, was somewhat rewritten, incorporating new scenes, additional dialogue, revised orchestrations, the insertion of new biographical details, as wel ...