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Musical Renegades
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)

The Lark Ascending (1914-20)
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)

Allegro from Aconcagua (1979)
James Crabb (classical accordion)
Tamara Anna Cislowska (piano)
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)

Paavali’s Song from Kuolema (1903)
Teddy Tahu Rhodes (baritone)
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)

The Mountain Thrall Op. 32 (1877)
Teddy Tahu Rhodes (baritone)
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Overture from The creatures of Prometheus Op. 43 (1800-01)
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)

Adagio-Allegro from Symphony No. 104 in D (1795)
Elena KATS-CHERNIN (b 1957)

Torque (2002)
James Crabb (classical accordion)
Tamara Anna Cislowska (piano)
György LIGETI (b 1923)

Praeludium; Vivacissimo luminoso from the Violin Concerto (1990-93)
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

String Quintet in C major D956 (1828)
Richard Tognetti and Helena Rathbone (violins) Caroline Henbest (viola) Emma-Jane Murphy and Melissa Barnard (cellos)
Australian Chamber Orchestra/Richard Tognetti (violin and artistic director)/Roland Peelman (conductor) in the Vaughan Williams and Ligeti with other musicians noted as above
Recorded Sydney February, March and July 2002
ABC CLASSICS 476 102-6 [2 CDs: 67.48 and 55.23]

Renegades? Really? No, forget the implausible title and see this instead as a double CD set that encapsulates some of the qualities of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and its collaborative artists across a broad spectrum of music. Recorded over four evenings in Sydney in 2002 – at the City Recital Hall and at the Opera House – the concerts were filmed and are now available on DVD. Adventurous and diverse the disc is rather more conspectus than cogent programme – it includes isolated movements from concertos and symphonies – so a broad brush is called for and not the microscope.

The disc gets off to a rather sticky start with an over-sophisticated performance of The Lark Ascending – no match for the rapt simplicity of Isolde Menges, Jean Pougnet or Hugh Bean – but they do well by the surge and nostalgia of Piazzolla. The Overture from The Creatures of Prometheus sounds a mite underpowered but the Haydn pleases. Baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes is accomplished in Sibelius and Grieg but the highlight of the first disc is Elena Kats-Chernin’s Torque. Performed hot off the compositional press and inspired by thoughts automotive, hence the title, this is a galvanizing brew, part Piazzolla, part John Adams. It soars, drives and relaxes – grist to the ACO’s mill. The second CD is given over to a performance of the Schubert Quintet given by a contingent of the orchestra led by their artistic director Richard Tognetti. Only a few coughs give away the liveness of the performance – that and the intense concentration of breathing and musical direction.

Jonathan Woolf


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