Of all the tributary footage screened in the days following the death of Bob Hawke, one short sequence jarred. In it, Hawke conducts the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and orchestra in the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Handel’s Messiah, jerking and twitching in response to ...... (read more)
Now in its twenty-ninth year, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues continues to deliver programming that is innovative, ambitious, and far-reaching. That a long-running Festival of this scale and significance takes place annually in a regional Victorian city says much about the tenacity and dedication of the Festival’s artistic team ...... (read more)
‘Chopin is the greatest of them all,’ Claude Debussy told his pupil Marguerite Long, ‘for through the piano alone he discovered everything.’ This ‘everything’ had a long shadow, for Long described Debussy as ‘impregnated, almost inhabited, by [Chopin’s] pianism’. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the young Debussy ...... (read more)
Gillian Wills reviews 'A Coveted Possession: The rise and fall of the piano in Australia' by Michael Atherton
In Australia’s golden age of piano production, between 1870 and 1930, the piano was, as Michael Atherton notes, ‘as much a coveted possession as a smartphone or an iPad is today’. The First Fleet imported an eclectic assortment of items, including dogs, rabbits, cattle, seedlings ...... (read more)
There was a certain predictability to the arguments that flared when Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. For the most part, they were variations of the arguments that have shadowed him from the beginning of his career, twisted echoes of a million late-night dormitory discussions about whether ...... (read more)
Anwen Crawford reviews 'Sticky Fingers: The life and times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone magazine' by Joe Hagan
Sometime in 1970, an unidentified person – perhaps a disgruntled journalist or aggrieved interviewee – scrawled the words ‘Smash “Hip” Capitalism’ onto an office wall at Rolling Stone magazine. It was an incisive piece of graffiti. Rolling Stone had begun publishing in 1967, in San Francisco, at the epicentre of the ...... (read more)
Richard Davis is admirably determined that major Australian musical artists whose careers were attenuated by illness should not fade into oblivion ...... (read more)
Jeff Buckley is a man frozen in time, not just by virtue of being elevated into the pantheon of ‘died-too-early-rock-gods’. Before his untimely drowning in 1997, Buckley appeared to exist in a sort of musical and emotional stasis: a young fogey caught among the cultural ruins and vestiges of his estranged father, who died aged twenty-eight from a heroin overdose ...
Michael Morley reviews 'The Political Orchestra: the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics during the Third Reich' by Fritz Trümpi, translated by Kenneth Kronenberg
This study, which first appeared in German in 2011, was hailed at the time as definitive: properly so, as it incorporates so many aspects from so many areas of research. It marks a significant contribution to such fields as musicology, cultural history, the relationship between art and politics – not just in the Nazi era, but the periods preceding that, which saw ...
Gareth Hipwell reviews 'Strict Rules: The iconic story of the tour that shaped Midnight Oil' by Andrew McMillan
In July 1986, an ascendant Midnight Oil joined forces with the Northern Territory’s trailblazing, predominantly Indigenous Warumpi Band and embarked on the joint ...... (read more)