ABR Arts Music

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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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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