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Australian Chamber Orchestra

ACO Originals

The Australian Chamber Orchestra announces a new series of digital releases - ACO ORIGINALS – featuring four world premiere recordings of works commissioned by the orchestra in recent years.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra are known throughout the world for their thrilling and exciting performances of traditional classical repertoire, taking a fresh approach to the old masters like Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. At the same time the orchestra have been fearless champions of new music and living composers, commissioning new works that push the boundaries of how an orchestra can and should sound.

Four of these commissions from recent years are now receiving their world premiere releases in the ACO ORIGINALS series, with new music to be released fortnightly beginning Friday, May 29.

The four works chosen – by Samuel Adams, Missy Mazzoli, Olli Mustonen and Brett Dean – showcase the orchestra at their very best and celebrate the sound and personality that the orchestra has developed over the decades since their establishment.

Samuel Adams strived to write something deeply expressive for the musicians to play. “What strikes me about the ACO is the personality of the ensemble,” he says. “They have a wonderful profile when they come on stage. So much of this piece is about exploring interpersonal dynamics. I would be happy if an audience member leaves the concert feeling like they understand something, that they didn’t previously, of the personality of the ensemble.”

Missy Mazzoli’s piece, Dark with Excessive Bright, was commissioned by Principal Bass Maxime Bibeau in celebration of his 20th year with the orchestra. “I was inspired in no small part by Maxime’s double bass, a massive instrument built in 1580 that was stored in an Italian monastery for hundreds of years and even patched with pages from the Good Friday liturgy’, says Mazzoli. ‘I imagined this instrument as a historian, an object that collected the music of the passing centuries in the twists of its neck and the fibres of its wood, finally emerging into the light at age 400 and singing it all into the world.’

Olli Mustonen’s Sonata for Cello and Chamber Orchestra was originally composed for cello and piano and dedicated to the great Heinrich Schiff, with this version or chamber orchestra receiving its world premiere in September 2015. Mustonen believes that music should be a spiritual quest, a search for something beyond oneself. ‘Even a good concert can leave you untouched,’ he comments. ‘To become memorable, I feel it should strive for an experience of transformation, the feeling that you have been taken to another world.’

Brett Dean’s Electric Preludes takes inspiration from sources as diverse as the paintings of Australian artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, a rusty, squeaky swing in an abandoned playground and the paintings of Dean’s wife, Heather Betts, with whom he has shared a llong and rich personal and creative partnership. “But the most striking image that fired my fantasy throughout the entire compositional process,” says Dean, “Was that of Richard standing with the ACO, his exotic electric fiddle under his chin, taking mere breaths of sound and embryonic motivic shapes and transforming them, with the help of this impressive piece of electronics and sound designer Bob Scott at the mixing desk, filling the hall and enticing the orchestra’s manifold responses.”

Recorded live in concert during their premiere seasons, this series of four recordings captures the electrifying energy of this remarkable orchestra. In 2020, as the orchestra celebrates 30 years of fearless leadership with ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti, it is fitting that these visionary works are available to listeners worldwide.

Since its establishment in November 1975, the Australian Chamber Orchestra has become one of the world’s most daring and exciting ensembles, renowned globally for its inspired programming, unrivalled virtuosity, energy and individuality, showcased through an extensive and ongoing program of international touring and recordings for many of the world’s top labels.

“The Australian Chamber Orchestra is uniformly high-octane, arresting and never ordinary.” The Australian

Release
The Proms represents the very best of classical music: favourite tunes and roof-raising choruses, brilliant virtuosity and the sheer joy of music-making, enjoyed live in concert by thousands, and by millions more the world over.The Last Night has become a cultural icon, and this 2CD collection presents over two hours of the music that defines it, and much more.English favourites including The Lark Ascending, Crown Imperial, The Enigma Variations (Nimrod), The Dam Busters and On Hearing the First Cuckoo in SpringAll-time classical masterpieces such as Zadok the Priest, Jupiter (The Planets), Boléro, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and the 1812 OvertureSing-along choruses: You’ll Never Walk Alone, Land of Hope and Glory and JerusalemAnd those staples of the Last Night: Rule, Britannia!, God Save the Queen and Auld Lang Syne.
Release
Almost a decade after the phenomenal success of the first Dads Love Classics collection, ABC Classics presents the much-anticipated sequel: over 5 hours of stirring music on 4CDs. Bold favourites by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Elgar, Beethoven, Mahler, Mozart and more rub shoulders with fresh discoveries, creating an indispensable and completely new compendium of the great classical tunes. From grand symphonies to virtuosic concertos, this is a turbo-charged ride through the classical music no Dad can resist. Released for Father’s Day in 2017, this collection is inspired in particular by listeners to ABC Radio Brisbane and their Mornings presenter Steve Austin, whose enthusiasm for the first Dads Love Classics album brought classical music to the cars, sheds and homes of Queensland, and made it a best-selling album ten years after its first release.Tracks include:COPLAND Fanfare for the Common ManFALLA Ritual Fire DanceMUSSORGSKY Night on Bald MountainR. STRAUSS Also sprach ZarathustraDUKAS The Sorcerer’s ApprenticeKHACHATURIAN Sabre DanceELGAR Pomp & Circumstance March No. 3KOEHNE Santa Ana FreewayBERNSTEIN Candide OvertureGERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue and movements from:HANDEL Music for the Royal FireworksBRAHMS Symphony No. 1BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9BOCCHERINI The House of the DevilRACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2TCHAIKOVSKY Violin ConcertoMAHLER Symphony No. 2MOZART Jupiter SymphonyMENDELSSOHN Italian SymphonyBACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 2
Release
The music soundtrack to the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s critically acclaimed collaboration with director Jennifer Peedom. Three years ago, the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Artistic Director Richard Tognetti approached BAFTA-nominated director Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa) with a vision for an expressive interweaving of music and film. The result of this collaboration is Mountain: a cinematic and musical odyssey that explores the troubled and triumphant history of our timeless fascination with mountains. Premiered in concert in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall as part of Sydney’s Vivid LIVE 2017, Mountain draws the listener in to a world in which majesty and terror collide, thousands of metres above and beyond the familiar, comfortable landscape of the everyday. Richard Tognetti worked closely with Peedom to curate a stunning soundscape that mirrors the serenity, magnitude and terror of the landscapes featured in the film. Works by Chopin, Vivaldi, and Beethoven are featured, as well as original music by Tognetti himself. “The original music I wrote for Mountain was composed in real collaboration with Jennifer [Peedom],” Tognetti said. “She would tell me what she was trying to express and what the scene in the movie meant, and then I would try and come up with the musical equivalent. Some of the compositions are filmic and some of them are more like dreamscapes.” Critical Acclaim for Mountain★★★★½ “The ACO scales the heights.” – Limelight Magazine★★★★ “a sublime rush of adrenaline and orchestral beauty…” – The Guardian
Release
As two of country music’s hottest properties, Travis Collins and Amber Lawrence are both award winning solo artists. Now they join forces to create the “Our Backyard” EP; a 7 track release that was produced by the acclaimed producer Matt Fell.
Release
Prokofiev’s life was defined by exile and persecution, but through it all the fire of musical creativity burned bright. Begun in Russia, completed in France and premiered in Chicago, his Third Piano Concerto pioneers a new virtuosity while presenting memorable and strikingly individual tunes.This album is part of 1000 Years of Classical Music – a series of 100 volumes charting the history of music to be released on ABC Classics. More information can be found at the project’s website; www.1000YearsofClassicalMusic.com.
Release
The power of poetry inspires a musical revolution: from the opera stage to the music rooms of the aristocracy, composers from Monteverdi to Vivaldi find new ways to bring emotion alive with music.This album is part of 1000 Years of Classical Music – a series of 100 volumes charting the history of music to be released on ABC Classics. More information can be found at the project’s website; www.1000YearsofClassicalMusic.com.TRACKLISTING1-2 MONTEVERDI L’Orfeo: Toccata & Prologue3 MONTEVERDI Vespers: Nigra sum4 FRESCOBALDI Toccata per spinettina e violino5 CACCINI Amarilli, mia bella6 KAPSPERGER Toccata7 A. MARCELLO Oboe Concerto in D minor: Adagio8 CORELLI Christmas Concerto: Pastorale9 DALL’ABACO Violin Concerto in E major, Op. 6 No. 11: Aria10 ALBINONI Oboe Concerto in D minor: Adagio11 A. SCARLATTI Toccata da Cimbalo12 D. SCARLATTI Sonata K18513 VIVALDI Gloria: Gloria in excelsis Deo14 LOCATELLI Christmas Concerto: Pastorale15 TARTINI Violin Sonata ‘The Devil’s Trill’: Andante – Allegro16 GEMINIANI Concerto grosso in D major: Allegro17 VIVALDI Concerto for Two Mandolins:  Andante18 BRESCIANELLO Chaconne in A major
Release
Unfinished, but uplifting: Schubert’s Eighth Symphony is a visionary achievement that moves harmony into new realms of beauty.This album is part of 1000 Years of Classical Music – a series of 100 volumes charting the history of music to be released on ABC Classics. More information can be found at the project’s website; www.1000YearsofClassicalMusic.com.TRACKLISTING1-2 Symphony No. 8, D759 ‘Unfinished’ 3 Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), D644: Overture 4-6 Rosamunde, D797: Incidental music – selections Tasmanian Symphony OrchestraSebastian Lang-Lessing conductor
Release
As well as drawing inspiration from the folk tunes of the past, Percy Grainger was a true original, an innovator of extreme proportions – and Australia’s first international pop star.This album is part of 1000 Years of Classical Music – a series of 100 volumes charting the history of music to be released on ABC Classics. More information can be found at the project’s website; www.1000YearsofClassicalMusic.com.TRACKLISTING1 Mock Morris2 The Immovable ‘Do’ (The Ciphering ‘C’)3 Molly on the Shore (Irish Reel)4 Country Gardens5 Scotch Strathspey and Reel6 I’m Seventeen Come Sunday7 Colonial Song8 Handel in the Strand (Clog Dance)9 The Nightingale and The Two Sisters10 The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart11 Brigg Fair12 Early One Morning13 Shallow Brown14 Irish Tune from County Derry15 Dreamery16 Blithe Bells (Free Ramble on ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’ by JS Bach)17 Shepherd’s Hey (Morris 
Release
Young Australian pianist Jayson Gillham presents his third album on ABC Classics, featuring the music of two Russian friends and piano virtuosi: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2 – one of the most eternally popular pieces of classical music – and the rarely performed Piano Concerto No.1 by Nikolai Medtner, written just 15 years later. For these recordings, Gillham is joined in the studio by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and their Associate Conductor Benjamin Northey. Nikolai Medtner (1880–1951) was a close friend of Rachmaninoff (they even dedicated various pieces to one another) but history has treated their music very differently. The great Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer, who died in 2009, was a rare champion of Medtner’s music, and it was when Gillham was invited to feature in a documentary on Tozer’s life that he discovered Medtner’s work. Dedicated to his mother, Medtner’s Piano Concerto No.1 was written during the First World War. The intense drama of the music – brought out in vivid technicolour in these recordings – is irresistible, but so too is the consolatory power of music. We discover the healing balm of music again in Angel, Medtner’s work for solo piano: a meditation, as Gillham puts it, on “the rediscovery of a divine song, half-remembered, half-forgotten, of a beauty that cannot be matched on earth”. Gillham first performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the MSO in Melbourne’s outdoor Sidney Myer Music Bowl: that concert was greeted with rapture by both the critics and a cheering audience of thousands. Renewing their association in the studio just weeks later, Gillham and the Orchestra unveil fresh richness in this beloved music. The concerto is paired with the contemporaneous Prelude Op.23 No.4, which shares the same “blissful contentment”. NIKOLAI MEDTNER 1880–1951Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 331. Allegro –2. Tranquillo, meditamente –3. Coda (Allegro molto)4. Eight Stimmungsbilder (Mood Pictures), Op. 1: No. 1 Prologue ‘The Angel’SERGEI RACHMANINOFF 1873–1943Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 185. I. Moderato6. II. Adagio sostenuto7. III. Allegro scherzando8. Prelude in D major, Op. 23 No. 4 Jayson Gillham pianoMelbourne Symphony OrchestraBenjamin Northey conductorRecorded in the Iwaki Auditorium of the ABC’s Southbank Centre, 10-13 April 2017
Release
Mozart’s operas represent a roll-call of favourite characters and timeless music, blending the comic with the serious, and the historical with the contemporary.This album is part of 1000 Years of Classical Music – a series of 100 volumes charting the history of music to be released on ABC Classics. More information can be found at the project’s website; www.1000YearsofClassicalMusic.com.TRACKLISTINGDon Giovanni1 Catalogue Aria: Madamina, il catalogo è questo2 Batti, batti, o bel Masetto3 Duet: Là ci darem la mano4 Serenade: Deh, vieni alla finestra The Abduction from the Seraglio5 O, wie will ich triumphieren The Marriage of Figaro6 Voi, che sapete7 Non più andrai8 Porgi amor9 Dove sono i bei momenti10 Se vuol ballare, signor Contino11 Letter Duet: Sull’aria Idomeneo12 Fuor del mar La clemenza di Tito13 Trio: Se al volto mai ti senti Zaide14 Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben Così fan tutte15 Come scoglio16 Trio: Soave sia il vento The Magic Flute17 Birdcatcher’s Song: Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja18 Queen of the Night Aria: Der Hölle Rache19 Ach, ich fühl’s20 Duet: Pa-Pa-Pa-Papagena!
Release
A celebration of music, culture, and identity, from the hearts and mouths of a new generation of Indigenous Australia.The call; “What song has spoken strongest to you about growing up an Indigenous Australian?” The response; A collection of 12 songs from this country’s deadliest and most inspiring young musicians, taking us on a sonic journey through the foundations of their musical inspiration, and the songs that have helped shape their Indigenous identity and culture.   From Adelaide to East Arnhem Land, from Brisbane to Regional NSW, DEADLY HEARTS showcases Australian music at its absolute finest. Each artist brings their own flavour whilst paying homage to, and retaining the soul of these 12 songs that hold a special place in their hearts.Jimblah paints a synth-laden, new-age picture of his ‘Island Home’ taking on the Warumpi Band classic; Robbie Miller provides some magical, goosebump-inducing moments with ‘Solid Rock’, Emily Wurramara delivers a breathy, jazz-inspired rendition of Coloured Stone’s ‘Black Boy’, Benny Walker shares his musical inspirations by paying tribute to a timeless masterpiece, and Birdz throws his hip-hop touch at Yothu Yindi’s ‘Sunset Dreaming (Djapana)’.The modern sound of Indigenous Australia. The next generation of Indigenous storytellers, genre-hopping across these songs of importance. 
Release
Elise McCann – the delightful, award-winning Miss Honey from the smash-hit musical Matilda – brings alive her life-long love of the stories of Roald Dahl with an entrancing new album: Dahlesque.One of the world’s most popular authors, Roald Dahl has captured the imagination of millions of children and adults with his tales of fun and fear. Dahl’s characters speak immediately to generations, and the blockbuster films and musicals that they have inspired have become instant hits.In this irreverent and gloriumptious offering, Elise McCann draws on these beloved adaptations to present the fantastical imagination and wickedly unforgettable characters of this master of storytelling. There are songs by Tim Minchin from Matilda (Naughty, The Smell of Rebellion and My House); hits from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from Leslie Bricusse’s Academy-Award-nominated score; and songs from Marc Shaiman’s 2013 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which ran for an astonishing 1293 days in the West End.All of these songs are brought to life by the Helpmann-winning actress and vocalist Elise McCann, accompanied by a nine-piece band. The physical edition contains two bonus tracks, Little Red Riding Hood & The Wolf and Three Little Pigs from Revolting Rhymes, set to music by acclaimed Musical Director and composer Stephen Amos.