ABR Arts Music

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 ...

Tristan und Isolde (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 22 June 2015

A music teacher in Thomas Mann’s early novel, Buddenbrooks (1900), when presented with some piano arrangements of Tristan und Isolde, recoils in terror: ‘I won’t play this ... This is not music ... It is pure chaos! It is demagoguery, blasphemy, and madness! It is the end of all morality in the arts. I will not pl ...

Barunga Festival

Kate Hennessy
Friday, 19 June 2015

Opposite the outdoor basketball court, the Karungkarni Arts Centre is selling dot paintings by Gurindji woman Biddy Wavehill. Later at the riverside acoustic stage, Peter Garrett steps unexpectedly from the long grass to sing ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ with Paul Kelly – a song about the Wave Hill walk-offs in the 1960s lead by Gurindji man Vinc ...

Bill Callahan

Doug Wallen
Tuesday, 02 June 2015

Texas-based songwriter Bill Callahan recorded for fifteen years under the name Smog but, since releasing his first album under his own name in 2007, he has gradually shed the murkier indie-rock connotations of Smog and broadened into an acclaimed bard of minimalist Am ...

Courtney Barnett

Doug Wallen
Monday, 18 May 2015

‘I’m sorry for all of my insecurities, but they’re just a part of me’, sings Courtney Barnett in her song ‘Debbie Downer’. Those insecurities are not just part of her, but key to the heady spike in her global profile over the past two years. Since her mid-2013 single ‘Avant Gardener’, which detailed the twenty-seven-year-old songwriter’s panic atta ...

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