ABR Arts Music

‘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 ...

Black Diggers (three stars), written by Tom Wright, directed by Wesley Enoch, and produced by the Queensland Theatre Company, received its world première at the 2014 Sydney Festival in January. Then, the full clamour of Australia’s more than $400 m ...

Laura Jean

Kate Hennessy
Tuesday, 28 April 2015

For every transcendental moment live music delivers, there are keenly felt disappointments. Like loving an album down to its last breath, then finding the lyrics inaudible at a gig – muddied by bad sound or over-loud strumming. It seems a churlish reason to feel deflated but who hasn’t felt it?

Augie March

Fiona Hile
Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Augie March’s Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC) show is a home-town Gatorade-and-oranges stop on their ‘lap of luxury’, a national tour that has taken in velvet-lined theatres in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, and, as singer–songwriter Glenn Richards wryly put it during their set, Bendigo. The MRC was purported ...

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