Steve Moffatt


September 29, 2017
CD and Other Review

Review: Perfido! (Sophie Bevan, The Mozartists/Ian Page)

The young English soprano Sophie Bevan brings plenty of drama and panache – as well as a yearning tenderness – to a delightful programme of concert arias, including the three written for the Czech diva Josefa Dušek, two by Mozart and the other by a young Beethoven. Over a generous 70 minutes Haydn is well represented by Scena di Berenice and his beautiful Petrach sonnet setting, Solo e pensoso. But it’s the four Mozart pieces and Beethoven’s Ah! Perfido, the album’s closer, which show us why Bevan won the 2010 Critics’ Circle award for Exceptional Young Talent. One of the highlights is the lovely duet with The Mozartists’ oboist Rachel Chaplin in the cavatina from Mozart’s Ah, lo previdi. Bevan is a talent to watch. She’s perfectly suited to this material, admirably backed by the period instruments of The Mozartists.  This is the first recording by the offshoot of Ian Page’s acclaimed Classical Opera, with whom Bevan has recorded whole operas as well as appearing with them regularly in concerts. The 34-year-old has also performed at Covent Garden, English and Welsh National Operas and Glyndebourne as well as in Europe. Perfido! was recorded in a church in Kilburn, London. It has…

September 29, 2017
CD and Other Review

Review: Ballads of the Pleasant Life (Peter Coleman-Wright, Nexas Quartet)

Australians can thank comic genius Barry Humphries for the revival of interest in songs from the interwar Weimar Republic in Germany. As a young man he trawled Melbourne’s used bookshops and found a collection of scores from composers such as Kurt Weill, Franz Schreker, Hanns Eisler and Alexander von Zemlinsky, among others – all of them obscure names (apart from Weill, thanks to Louis Armstrong’s then recent version of Mack The Knife). The discovery sparked a lifelong passion, so much so that he put on a Weimar show with “kamikaze” cabaret star Meow Meow and the Australian Chamber Orchestra a few seasons back. More recently, several classical artists have turned their attention to this period in music history and the composers that either went into exile across the world or died in the Nazi death camps. Now it’s the turn of Australian baritone Peter Coleman-Wright and the excellent Nexas saxophone quartet with Ballads of the Pleasant Life on ABC Classics. There’s a good smattering of Weill, including favourites September Song, Mack the Knife and the ballad that gives the album its title, but the real finds are the political and work songs of Eisler and Zemlinsky and, a little pearl,…

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