CD Review

IRONWOOD – FARRENC & SAINT-SAËNS : ROMANTIC DREAMS-QUINTETS FOR PIANO AND STRINGS

This latest recording (ABC CLASSIC 481 9887) from historically informed performance ensemble Ironwood is a significant addition to the canon of HIP performance research and performance in both this country and globally.

Above : Ironwood on ABC Classic (481 9887) 2020.

It’s excellent preparation and execution sets about exploding  uninform stereotypes of how to perform music leaning towards Romanticism . Its portrait of a certain swoop of  French chamber music in  chronological order on this recording is a very special trajectory to follow. The nineteeth century piano quintet works here unfold with a calm elegance, a secure sense of drama and colourful, irresistible charm.

Romantic Dreams begins with a warm ensemble gesturing in the work of Lousie Farrenc. It builds in scope as Ironwood’s intelligent and earnest musicians accurately present the Parisian contribution to chamber music from 1835 onwards with a clear directness. Continue reading IRONWOOD – FARRENC & SAINT-SAËNS : ROMANTIC DREAMS-QUINTETS FOR PIANO AND STRINGS

THE COLOUR ORANGE

According to a recent QI programme, Stephen Fry (that oracle of knowledge and wisdom on television) confirmed this quote I’ve extracted from Google (another oracle of knowledge):

“Before the late 15th century, Europeans simply referred to orange as yellow-red until they were introduced to orange trees, when the pigment was finally awarded its true name. During the 16th and 17th centuries, orange became a symbol of Protestantism and an important political colour in Britain and Europe under William III’s reign.”j Continue reading THE COLOUR ORANGE

THE ACACIA QUARTET AND GUNTER RAPHAEL

This CD was first conceived in Berlin in the spring of 2017 when the friendship between leading violinist Lisa Stewart and the founder of the Christine Raphael Foundation, Frederik Pachla decided that some form of recognition to the music of Günter Raphael was necessary.  The first concerts of his works were played in Sydney to a very appreciative audience and after further concerts in Berlin the present CD was recorded with three of Raphael’s string quartets – two early works, #1 Op 5 in E minor, #2 Op 9 in C major (1924 and 1925 respectively) and the last quartet he composed in 1946, #6 op 54 in F major. Continue reading THE ACACIA QUARTET AND GUNTER RAPHAEL

JACK CARTY : THE WORLD, WHEN IT’S SLEEPING

Have you heard of Jack Carty?  If you’re a Country and Western fan, then perhaps you have.  I haven’t but I wish I had. He’s an Aussie who has recently come back from 2 years spent living, recording, writing and performing in the UK and Europe.  One of the reasons he’s returned to his homeland (he’s a Bellingen NSW boy) is because his wife is expecting their first child.

Actually this EP album, comprising 5 songs written and recorded by Carty, is more Country than Western.  Perhaps that is the reason I have taken a liking to it. Which reminds me of the joke in the hilarious movie The Blues Brothers when the saloon owner is asked whether they did Country and Western and he replies “We do both Country AND Western!”  Continue reading JACK CARTY : THE WORLD, WHEN IT’S SLEEPING

AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE : BEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTOS 1 & 3

Above : Skye McIntosh, Artistic Director of Australian Haydn Ensemble.                                        Featured image: fortepianist Neal Peres Da Costa.

 

The most recent CD from Australian Haydn Ensemble is an exciting release. Australian Haydn Ensemble : Beethoven Piano Concertos 1 & 3 – Chamber Versions appears after a cycle of all Beethoven concertos was presented during live concerts in chamber music format by AHE. It also marks the second CD release in as many years from AHE, following on from a successful recording debut in 2016 with The Haydn Album on the ABC Classics label. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE : BEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTOS 1 & 3

CD REVIEW : THE MARAIS PROJECT – ‘SPINNING FORTH’

Above: Paul Cutlan, composer of the recording’s title track, Spinning Forth. Featured image : Jenny Eriksson, viola da gambist and founder of The Marais Project

‘Spinning Forth’ (Move Records, MCD564) is the latest recording from The Marais Project. Founder of this project, Jenny Eriksson, has once again guaranteed that as well as providing a beautiful listening experience this is a CD which is rich in contrast.

It contains successful and striking juxtapositions of style, mood,
instrumentation, and blends different compositional homelands or time periods. From the project that is working its way through the oeuvre of gambist Marin Marais, we are here treated to new Australian music, able to access Swedish music and hear the viola da gamba explore music from colonial Australia in arrangement for early music instruments.

The work by Marais featured on this CD is a stunningly solemn arrangement for the penultimate track. Jennifer Eriksson’s nicely balanced arrangement for two viols da gamba and theorbo of the Tombeau pour Marais le Cadet (from Pièces de violes, Book V, 1725).  In the renamed Tombeau for John Dowland, first performed at a concert in 2013 for the 450th anniversary of Dowlands birth, Eriksson is ably joined by Catherine Upex on the second viola da gamba and Tommie Andersson on theorbo. The arrangement gives a full and even sound, celebrating the expressive skills of both Marais and the group of Sydney-based early musicians. Continue reading CD REVIEW : THE MARAIS PROJECT – ‘SPINNING FORTH’

CD: ‘CELEBRARE’ – SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC WIND SYMPHONY

Above: CD cover :  Celebrae (Klavier Music Productons K  11215) Featured Image   :   SCM Wind Symphony

The title of this CD,  Celebrare (Klavier K11215) is borrowed from Carl Vine’s orchestral work of 1993, Celebrare Celeberrime : a celebration for orchestra which begins the recording in its fine wind band arrangement form.

This title’s reference to celebration is a perfect theme for this CD. The CD was produced following the centenary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and live performances by SCM Wind Symphony at the institution’s Centenary Festival in 2015.

The recording, dated 2016, has been mastered with a pleasing bright clarity by Bruce Leek. This celebrates the sound of the school’s quality symphonic wind ensemble. The emergence of this CD also recognises the Sydney Conservatorium’s recent centenary as well as this music school’s efforts towards being at the international forefront of wind band interpretation. Two works on the recording were commissioned by the SCM Wind Symphony and appear as first recordings on this disc. Continue reading CD: ‘CELEBRARE’ – SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC WIND SYMPHONY

The Marais Project CD -Smörgåsbord!

Tommie Andersson- Arranger, theorbist, period guitarist

For the past fifteen years the Marais Project has augmented their continuing exploration of the 600 works composed by Marin Marais with concerts and recordings of considerable diversity and innovation.

The Project’s fifth CD, SMÖRGÅSBORD! is no exception. Recently released on the Move Records label, it shares aspects of the Swedish musical tradition from pastoral hymn tune through folksong and Baroque instrumental music to 21st century composition.

A stellar cast of a male vocalist and period instrumentalists bring to life a work from Marin Marais’ oeuvre as well as the variety of Swedish music. Fine arrangements by Tommie Andersson in the Baroque guise make up an impressive thirteen of the twenty-four tracks. Continue reading The Marais Project CD -Smörgåsbord!