Morag Fraser

2016 Books of the Year

Sheila Fitzpatrick et al.

Originally published in German, Albrecht Dümling’s The Vanished Musicians: Jewish refugees in Australia (Peter Lang), a fascinatin More

Missa Solemnis (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

Morag Fraser

How fortunate was Rudolph Johann Joseph Rainer, Archduke of Austria. In his short life (he died at forty-three), he enjoyed the privileges of empire ...

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Monteverdi’s Vespers (Melbourne Recital Centre)

Morag Fraser

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, and Ford went on to ask, 'Like jazz?'

Exactly. Amazingly. Like jazz. As ali ... More

Brooklyn

Morag Fraser

Film publicity is rarely subtle, so don't see Brooklyn if you are looking for the love-triangle tearjerker that its release poster promises. A film with its source in the spare, luminous writing of Colm Tóibín – as perceptive about women as any man writing – is never going to be standard Hollywood fare. Brooklyn benefits also from thoughtful ... More

Arts Highlights of the Year

Robyn Archer et al.

To highlight Australian Book Review's arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year's memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate their favourites – and to nominate one production they are looking forward to in 2016. (We indicate which works were reviewed in Arts Up ... More

Morag Fraser reviews 'The Secret Chord' by Geraldine Brooks

Morag Fraser

Geraldine Brooks credits her son, Nathaniel, with sparking the idea and title for her latest novel. For his bar mitzvah, Nathaniel chose to play an arrangement for harp of Leonard Cohen’s famous ‘Hallelujah’. It begins with these lines: ‘Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord / That David played, and it pleased the Lord.’

Music is crucial to Bro ... More

A Schubert Journey, Three Song Cycles (Melbourne Recital Centre)

Morag Fraser

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 More

War Requiem (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) and Ian Bostridge (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

Morag Fraser

‘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 ... More

Reading Australia: 'Journey to the Stone Country' by Alex Miller

Morag Fraser

There is no recommended apprenticeship for writers. Nor are there any prescribed personal or professional qualifications. Hermits, obsessives, insurance clerks, customs officers, women who embroider, men who write letters, public servants, soldiers, drunks, provincial doctors and gulag inmates have all become great writers. How? A mystery. But avidity – about the ... More

Book reviewing and its provocateurs: 'What single development would most improve the Australian critical culture?'

Patrick Allington et al.

Last month in Melbourne, a group of book reviewers and literary editors took part in a conference organised by Monash University’s Centre for the Book. There were more than thirty short papers, or ‘provocations’, as they were styled. Our Editor lamented the low or non-payment of some reviewers (especially youn ... More

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