ABR Arts Music

Patti Smith's Horses (Melbourne Festival)

Doug Wallen
Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Released in 1975, the début album by American songwriter, poet, artist, and memoirist Patti Smith captured a volatile alchemy of past and future modes. Horses came out of the much-mythologised rock scene of 1970s New York City, but also fed on the unbridled lyrical freedom of Beat poetry, the firmer narrative tradition of hymns, and the bodily release of f ...

Letter from Milan

Ian Dickson
Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Spurred on by Expo Milan, La Scala is having a busy couple of months. Entitled Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, the Expo is supposed to stimulate ideas for sustainable nutrition in a world with a rapidly expanding population and an equally rapidly diminishing arable area. However, the report from those who have braved the enormous crowds and endless que ...

Simone Young and Brahms (ANAM/MRC)

Christopher Menz
Monday, 21 September 2015

Simone Young’s return to Melbourne saw her presenting a mostly Romantic program with soprano Emma Matthews and the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) Orchestra. The first half, heralded by Paul Stanhope’s Fantasia on a Theme of Vaughan Williams (2003), was devoted to Duparc songs and an orchestral nocturne. After ...

Faust and Verdi's Requiem (State Opera of South Australia)

Ben Brooker
Monday, 14 September 2015

Good and evil, damnation and salvation, love and death, virtue and folly: State Opera of South Australia’s pairing of Gounod’s five-act grand opera Faust (fours stars) with Verdi’s momentous opera cum oratorio Requiem
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Festival of Slow Music

Doug Wallen
Wednesday, 02 September 2015

For anyone who witnessed the frenetic pitch of Afrolankan Drumming System, the festival’s name might seem like a misnomer. Now in its third year, Ballarat’s Festival of Slow Music isn’t about reduced tempos but about listeners slowing down to properly digest music. All of the performances across nine days were acoustic, yet that term too can mislead, associate ...

Australian Festival of Chamber Music

Malcolm Gillies
Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Musicians like to play. Some play instruments, others play pieces, and a few, somehow, go deeper. They play ‘the music’, ideally sidelining the instrument or documentation, to connect with their audience person-to-person, even ear-to-ear. Chamber music is probably the most intimate of music’s genres. It is fundamentally about unmediated musical relationships, ...

Debussy and Bruckner (Australian World Orchestra)

Michael Shmith
Monday, 03 August 2015

Hot on the heels from its two triumphant concerts at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, the Australian World Orchestra headed south for its Melbourne appearance. Alas – and no jokes about Melbourne weather, please; it’s still too sensitive a subject – somewhere betwixt Harbourside and Southbank, the dreaded lurgy struck condu ...

David Bowie Is (Australian Centre for the Moving Image)

Andrew Nette
Thursday, 23 July 2015

You don’t have to be an avid David Bowie fan to be impressed by the breadth and detail of David Bowie Is, currently showing at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. Imported from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), where it was their most successful show to date, it examines the fifty-year career of one of the most suc ...

When the stars align, in art as in astronomy, the results can be exhilarating and revelatory. This winter in Melbourne, as July’s ice began making itself felt, you could hear some of the greatest music ever written out of seasonal and psychological darkness – Franz Schubert’s three song cycles

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‘Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges,’ wrote Herman Melville. The truth about war, as Benjamin Britten ‘tells’ it in his War Requiem (five stars), is ragged indeed. A glance at Britten’s score is indica ...

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