Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

AUTUMN 2003 - New releases from ABC Classics

Full details given below

ABC CLASSICS 472 907-2 [71:43]


Normally I can’t be doing with samplers like this as it’s usually a ploy by magazines which want to be seen to be offering a free disc. There’s nothing I find more frustrating than a disc of bleeding chunks torn from their context, and I can never imagine buying a disc based upon hearing a disconnected fragment – maybe I’m unusual. However, I make an exception here because of its provenance. I’ve always had a soft spot for Australian films as they invariably have more interesting storylines that are dealt with more imaginatively than most of what Hollywood can offer. For that reason I was intrigued to know what a country so far away from Europe and America is doing to satisfy what must, considering the size of its population, be a relatively small number of serious music enthusiasts that must surely constitute any Australian label’s major market as the availability of Australian recordings, in Britain at any rate, is new to me. What I discovered was a delight and I hope that more of the country’s recordings become available here as they certainly deserve to be if this sampler is anything to go by.

First off is a sympathetic reading of "Auf dem wasser zu singen" by Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828), transcribed for piano by Liszt, played by Stephanie McCallum, from "The Liszt Album".

On track 2 there was a real discovery in the shape of New Zealander Teddy Tahu Rhodes a bass-baritone, singing an aria from "The Marriage of Figaro" by Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791). What a superb voice, rich and colourful, and one that is bound to make waves in Europe and the USA once he becomes better known. The disc it comes from is entitled "Mozart:Arias and Orchestral Music" – couldn’t they have found enough to make the whole disc centred around him?

The third track is the third movement from Trio No.12 in E Minor, Hob.XV:12 by Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809), that left me wishing I could hear the whole work since the Ensemble of the Classic Era, playing on period instruments, seemed to have it so wonderfully under control.

Australia’s first ever recording of the Messiah by George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) is shown off with "for unto us a child is born", and is full of delight and an obvious focussed determination to make this historic event a very telling one indeed. I noted that Teddy Tahu Rhodes (see track 2 above) is one of the soloists so this is a recording I shall be seeking out.

A beautifully played extract from Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in F Minor, Op.120, No.1, by Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) with Deborah de Graff (Clarinet) and Len Vorster (Piano) made up track 6.

Jumping forward to track 11 there is a charming performance by pianist Scott Davie of "Lilacs" by Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943). The liner note said that Mr Davie is a Rachmaninov scholar and this showed in the tone and colour he expressed in this miniature.

Sara Macliver gives a spirited rendition of "Ragion nell’alma siede" from Act 1 of "Il mondo della luna" by HAYDN. Her voice seems perfect for repertoire such as this, with a natural sound that is both charming yet powerful. I noticed that she too is a soloist on the aforementioned recording of the Messiah, so another good reason to locate it.

Track 13 is interesting as it is from a recording of the rarely heard chamber version of "Lieder das fahrenden gesellen" by Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911), arranged by Schoenberg in 1920, and sung by baritone Jeffrey Black. The liner note says it is coupled with the World Premiere of the chamber version of Mahler’s 4th. Symphony, which sounds like a fascinating prospect.

I’d like to pick out two more tracks that I particularly enjoyed – Brahms’ Piano Trio in C Minor, Op.101, from which the Maquarie Trio play the Andante Grazioso on track 14 and the "The Nightingale and the Two Sisters" by Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961). This is from a disc which also includes music by Vivaldi, Saint-Saëns, Granados and Respighi, all dedicated to a celebration of the nightingale – what a delightful idea for a theme. The extract was only one of a number of new musical experiences I had from this disc.

Other tracks include music by Khachaturian and John Rutter, film music by Cezary Skubiszewski, a lovely Irish air by James Scott Skinner (another discovery), Michael Nyman (from an animated version of The Diary of Ann Frank, a bizarre concept!), as well as Jerome Kern, Edith Piaf singing "La Vie en Rose" and even Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong’s version of "Gone Fishin’".

I counted 7 different orchestras and chamber ensembles on this record so music is clearly alive and well in Australia!

Steve Arloff



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