Christopher Bowen’s latest work to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One.
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A most auspicious start to Sir Andrew Davis’s anticipated Mahler project.
The composer waxes lyrical on his new collaboration with Sydney Dance Company. Continue reading Get unlimited digital access from $3 per month Subscribe Already a subscriber? Log in
Stephen Cleobury sorts the men from the boys in glorious harmony.
Amidst tough competition, Tabatha McFadyen has been awarded first prize at this year’s contest. Continue reading Get unlimited digital access from $3 per month Subscribe Already a subscriber? Log in
Kaufmann, four Strauss operas, 12 unknown operatic gems and Philip Glass’s minimalist answer to the Ring Cycle. Continue reading Get unlimited digital access from $3 per month Subscribe Already a subscriber? Log in
Paul Stanhope turns Indigenous legend into choral hero.
Festival of Voices “slightly unusual concert,” proves to be just that.
The story of an Indigenous hero is about to become an epic choral work by Paul Stanhope. Continue reading Get unlimited digital access from $3 per month Subscribe Already a subscriber? Log in
Treat for the ears from venerable and meticulous English masters.
The same is true, in a way, of great paintings, and of most Baroque and classical music. But there is something different about art song: while the works of the old masters now carry a patina of age, the stripped-back nature of the song-cycles means they have defied the years. On this recording, the words of the German poets Joseph von Eichendorff (Liederkreis) and Heinrich Heine (Dichterliebe) are brought to us with their freshness untouched by time. These compositions speak to us as a friend would in the most intimate conversation. Schumann’s songs of the joys of love and the anguish of unrequited yearnings are given a lucid and heartfelt reading by German tenor Werner Gura, who specialises in Lieder and oratorio. Although a tenor, he is reminiscent of the youthful Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau – this is a light voice, never strained, and with a flexible baritonal extension. His accompanist Jan Schultsz (who is also a horn-player and conductor) is supportive at all times, but very much the partner. Everyone has their favourites in this repertoire, but this one is a worthy rival for the most celebrated Lieder recordings. A recital for the ages.
Having already conquered Handel, Vivaldi and Bach on recent discs, Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená is back in the Baroque yet again, but this time treading earlier and much less familiar ground. Lettere Amorose, her latest effort, is an esoteric and enchanting selection of vocal music by Monteverdi and his Italian contemporaries. These are songs, rather than arias: intimate and relatively simple in scope, and given luminous voice by Kožená. Rarities abound – nothing here could claim to be over-recorded – and Kožená revels palpably in the possibilities of this colourful and crucial musical era. From the tripping dance rhythms of Kapsberger’s Felici gl’animi, to Vitali’s silvery O bei lumi, to a vividly bereft rendition of Si dolce è il tormento (Monteverdi’s only appearance in the program), she is in superb form, remaining true to both the period and her own distinct, emotionally driven style. Another notable inclusion is Merula’s extraordinary (and extraordinarily long) lullaby Hor ch’é di dormire, in which Mary sings to the infant Jesus of his own crucifixion, accompanied by a ground bass of just two chords – a deceptively simple piece which Kožená sustains with devastating sincerity. Her opalescent timbre is well suited to this music, her…