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ABC Classics

ABC Music is one of Australia’s largest independent music labels and the most highly awarded and critically acclaimed in its key genres.

ABC Music operates under the commercial arm of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, with all profits made going back into funding the great content the ABC is known for.

The roster features many of Australia’s top entertainers including The Audreys, Jeff Lang, Tim Rogers, Ben Salter, Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Mojo Juju , The Snowdroppers, Chris Lilley, Born Lion, Lee Kernaghan, Sara Storer, The Wiggles, Justine Clarke, Giggle and Hoot, Play School, Bananas In Pyjamas and many more.

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Inspired by the Songs Without Words of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, this trio of exquisite lyrical miniatures explores the relationship, in life and in music, between these two talented composers.The first of the three, ‘Ornamental’, references the double standard applied to the two gifted youngsters by their father, who declared that Felix could become a professional musician, but for Fanny, music could only ever be an ornament. The middle movement, ‘Lied’ (German for ‘song’), explores the close musical collaboration between Felix and Fanny, and the way in which their individual styles came to resemble each other. In both of these pieces, composer Anne Cawrse contrasts and brings together traditional stereotypes of masculine and feminine: strength and beauty, intellect and emotion, structure and decoration.The suite closes with ‘Swansong’, a reflection on aspects of loss in the story of Fanny and Felix: the struggle to be heard and understood, the disappointment of unfulfilled potential, and the sorrow felt at the death of a sibling – Felix, shattered by the loss of his beloved older sister, died less than six months later, aged 38Songs Without Words was commissioned by ABC Classic in 2020 as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program.
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Morgan England-Jones soprano • Acacia QuartetA musical tale of hope.The Night Parrot is one of the most elusive and mysterious birds in the world. Believed to be extinct for 100 years, this shy, nocturnal, ground-dwelling Australian parrot with its distinctive green and gold feathers was finally spotted in the wild, and a 56,000 hectare reserve has been created to protect and nurture the tiny remaining population.Setting a bush poetry-style text created by librettist Jeff Wells, composer Jessica Wells traces in music the story of the Night Parrot, and the quest to find it and bring it back from the edge of extinction: an exploration, she says, ‘of the human endeavour that had almost destroyed this little bird, but has now saved it.’ Her music evokes the vast and sparse outback environment that the Night Parrot inhabits; it examines the predators and dangers that threaten its existence; it takes us to Victorian England and the posh drawing rooms where stuffed birds were sent; it shows us the first time a bird was held in human hands for over 130 years; and finally, it reflects on the importance of the effort to preserve the species now and into the future.Performed by award-winning soprano Morgan England-Jones and the Acacia Quartet, this is a heartwarming and uplifting musical account of one of this country’s great stories.   TRACKLISTING JESSICA WELLSThe Night ParrotI. PrologueII. Will-o-the-WispIII. Channel CountryIV. The Story of a Little BirdV. PredatorsVI. The Story of a Precious BirdVII. VictorianaVIII. The Story of Pezoporus occidentalisIX. Sundown in the Spinifex (Re-enactment)X. EpilogueXI. Reflection Morgan England-Jones sopranoAcacia QuartetLisa Stewart violinMyee Clohessy violinStefan Duwe violaAnna Martin-Scrase cello
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Featuring Jayson Gillham • Tamara-Anna Cislowska • Roger Woodward Eva Kupiec • Simon Tedeschi • Nat Bartsch • Sally Whitwell and many moreThe best Classical piano music to relax and unwind. Let the beauty of the piano carry you away to a world of blissful tranquillity and pure calm. This 5CD collection brings together soothing favourites by Ravel, Debussy, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mendelssohn and so many more: Satie’s Gymnopédies, Beethoven’s Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata, Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel, Grieg’s Morning Mood from Peer Gynt, Sculthorpe’s Left Bank Waltz, as well as classics from the silver screen, including Amélie, Cinema Paradiso and East of Eden.Performed by Australia’s finest pianists, this is the perfect album for smoothing away the wrinkles of the day and enjoying the delights that only music can bring. Treat yourself! TRACKLISTING  CD11 BLAKE The Snowman: Walking in the Air2 BARTSCH/HOWARD And Until Tomorrow3 BLAKE Berceuse4 KATS-CHERNIN Eliza Aria5 ALLAN The Dean Brig o’ Edinburgh6 AGNEW An Autumn Morning7 RAVEL Pavane for a Dead Princess8 FAURÉ Sicilienne9 BACH Sheep May Safely Graze10SATIE Gymnopédie No. 2  11MOZART Variation No. 5 on Willem van Nassau12ALBINONI Oboe Concerto in D minor: Adagio13CHOPIN Waltz in A-flat major, Op. 69 No. 114POULENC Novelette in C major15GRAINGER Bridal Lullaby16BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 25: Andante17TCHAIKOVSKY Mamma18TRAD The Cliffs of Moher19BLAKE Isabelle20SCULTHORPE Evocation21MEDTNER Eight Mood Pictures: Prologue CD21 BEETHOVEN Für Elise2 SCULTHORPE Nocturne No. 13 DEBUSSY Veils4 TCHAIKOVSKY Evening Reverie5 BRAHMS Lullaby6 MENDELSSOHN On Wing of Song7 CHOPIN Berceuse8 TRAD/GRAINGER The Sussex Mummers’   Christmas Carol9 SKRYABIN Étude in F-sharp major, Op. 42 No. 410SIBELIUS Berceuse 11BRAHMS Intermezzo in B minor, Op. 119 No. 112MARCELLO/BACH Oboe Concerto in D minor:      Adagio13TCHAIKOVSKY The Lark’s Song14GOULD Calm15SCHUMANN Piano Sonata No. 2: Andantino16SCHUMANN Scenes from Childhood: Träumerei17SUK Idyll18BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 1: Adagio19BACH Flute Sonata No. 2: Siciliano20TRAD All Through the Night   CD31 DEBUSSY Clair de lune2 GRIEG Morning Mood3 ROWLAND The Man from Snowy River:   Jessica’s Theme4 TRAD Amazing Grace5 FLUME Never Be Like You6 MILEY Wrecking Ball7-8EDWARDS A Flight of Sunbirds: excerpts9TIERSEN Amélie: The Argument10ROTA Romeo and Juliet: Love Theme 11CHAPLINMandolin Serenade12VINE Love Me Sweet13BARTSCH Here I Am, Just for You14KATS-CHERNIN Butterflying15BACH/HESS Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring16BIEBER Sorry17THE KNIFE Heartbeats18BARTSCH Rockabye19ISAACS Barcarolle20GERSHWIN Prelude No. 2    CD41 BACH Prelude No. 1 in C major2 SCULTHORPE Little Serenade3 SCHUMANN Melody4 GOULD Quiet5 LISZT Andantino, S.192 No. 46 VAVILOV Ave Maria7 BACH Actus Tragicus: Sonatina8 RACHMANINOFF Musical Moment No. 19 BLAKE Make-Believe10BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata in E-flat major,     WoO47 No. 1: Andante 11TRAD Valse Frontenac12VASKS White Scenery13TCHAIKOVSKY October: Autumn Song14HILL One Came Fluting15MOZART Sonatina in G major16PEZOLD Minuet in G minor17PÄRT Für Anna Maria18HUTCHENS Lullaby19BACH Sleepers, Wake20SABOLY Touro-Louro-Louro   CD51 BEYONCÉ Halo2 NYMAN The Piano: Big My Secret3 BEETHOVEN Moonlight Sonata: Adagio   sostenuto4 DEBUSSY The Girl with the Flaxen Hair5 TIERSEN Amélie: Nursery Rhyme from   Another Summer6 LISZT Consolation No. 37 GLASS Opening8 THE XX Islands9 DUDLEY Poldark: Theme10CHOPIN Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9 No. 211KATS-CHERNIN The Rain Puzzle12ROWLAND The Man from Snowy River:     Tom Fool’s Knot13VANGELIS Missing: Main Theme14BRAHMS Intermezzo in A major, Op. 118 No. 215SCULTHORPE Left Bank Waltz16PÄRT Spiegel im Spiegel17KATS-CHERNIN All Things Conspire18ROSENMAN East of Eden: Main Theme19SATIE Gymnopédie No. 120MORRICONE Cinema Paradiso: Main Theme
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Jabra Latham soprano saxophone • Douglas Coghill violaIvan James cello • James Menzies double bassAmanda Hodder piano • Meriel Owen celeste / harpPoles apart but joined in beautyThe Greyand The Bright are a contrasting pair of pieces composed for the distinctive combination of soprano saxophone, strings, piano and the magical sounds of harp or celeste. Together they exemplify the twin poles of Tasmanian composer Jabra Latham’s musical world – his soaring, lyrical melodies moving first above slow, thoughtful chords, and then over groovy, propulsive rhythms.‘I really enjoy each of these individual instruments, and the roles and colour they bring to the music,’ says Latham. ‘Perhaps more importantly, the musicians are all ripper players and fantastic people: the days we spent in the studio recording The Grey and The Bright were full of laughter and good vibes.’The Grey / The Bright was commissioned by ABC Classic in 2020 as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program.
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Dylan Crismani cristal baschet • Gabrielle Smart pianoThe surprising harmonies and sounds of Australia’s first microtonal cristal baschets chase the colours and textures of a landscape of sea, sky and hills.Early in 2020, Dylan Crismani was commissioned by Arts SA to build Australia’s first Cristal Baschet, a rare and unusual instrument of French origin: designed by the Baschet brothers around 1952, it consists of slender glass rods which, when stroked gently, produce an otherworldly sound which is then transmitted to metal rods and amplified through fibreglass cones.For this unique instrument, Dylan Crismani has written Shades of Blue, inspired by Wara Wayingga, a dune system on the Kaurna (Adelaide Plains) coastline that is still home to a plethora of native flora and fauna. Atop the system of dunes, he writes, ‘one is surrounded by various shades of blue from the ocean, sky, and Adelaide hills.’ The mysterious sound of the cristal baschet connects performer and listener with Wara Wayingga and the beauty and power of the natural world.Shades of Blue was commissioned by ABC Classic in 2020 as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program.
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Emma Jayakumar’s Bell Birds suite is an expression of profound love for the Australian bush and its unique, audacious animals. Inspired by Henry Kendall’s famous and beloved poem ‘Bell Birds’, it’s a delightful soundscape evoking the sounds of the birds, the gumtrees, the flowers and the rich smells of the forest earth.‘I grew up in the Hills in Perth, and have just recently bought a house back up in Gooseberry Hill after living in the city, and in Sydney and London for spells of time. I’ve always been struck by how profoundly homesick I became for the sights and sounds of the Australian bush whenever I lived away.’ The Bell Birds suite draws on childhood memories of trips to the Blue Mountains on the continent’s eastern coast, getting out of the car to listen to the unique beauty of the bell birds calling.Also reflected in the music are the songs of golden whip birds, djidi djidi (willy wagtails), currawongs and bar-shouldered doves. Each movement is inspired by a line from Kendall’s poem, and the rich melodies underlying the whole suite speak movingly of the poet’s love for the land and its creatures.Bell Birdswas commissioned by ABC Classic in 2020 as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program.TRACKLISTINGEMMA JAYAKUMAR Bell BirdsI. Largo tranquillo — By channels of coolness the echoes are callingII. Allegro luminoso — They start up like fairies that follow fair weatherIII. Lento sognando — Loiters knee deep in the grasses to listenIV. Allegro furioso — When fiery December sets foot in the forestV.  Largo con dolore — Charming to slumber the pain of my losses
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David Elton trumpetSydney String Virtuosi • Umberto Clerici conductorBold, bright and beautiful: a wild dance for trumpetAndrew Batterham’s Trumpet Concerto showcases the incredible spectrum of emotions the trumpet can convey in the hands of a dedicated performer. From classical to minimalism, from ballads to fanfares, the concerto culminates in a wild dance to thrill performers and listeners alike.The Trumpet Concerto was written for Australian trumpeter David Elton, currently Principal Trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.Batterham’s music cuts across musical borders and boundaries: he has written for film, TV, radio, community groups, Latin and big bands as well as the concert hall, and his music has been performed by leading artists from Jazz legend James Morrison to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.Andrew Batterham’s Trumpet Concerto was commissioned by ABC Classic in 2020 as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program.TRACKLISTINGANDREW BATTERHAMConcerto for Trumpet and StringsI. EnergeticII. BallladIII. Fast
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The Shift is a new work for solo guitar tracing a journey out of troubled times towards a hopeful future. Drawing on her own personal experience of watching a loved one struggle with mental health issues, composer Natalie Nicolas reaches out to us all with music that offers paths through the difficult times and looks forward to better times.‘2020 was one of the hardest years our earth has seen to date, and it never really hits home how profoundly it can take toll on someone’s mental health, until we see it in ourselves or someone we love,’ says Nicolas. ‘Music has the incredible power to make people feel, and my ultimate goal as a composer will always be to create honest, emotionally evocative music to help people to feel in, a world full of pragmatism.’ In The Shift, Nicolas guides us through the shifting sands of hope and despair, darkness and light, and grasps hold of the rays of sunshine amidst the gathering clouds.The music is performed by internationally acclaimed guitarist Matt Withers, well known to Australian audiences through recitals as well as collaborations with William Barton, Sally Whitwell, the Acacia Quartet and major orchestras around the country, and as a member of the ensemble Guitar Trek.The Shift was commissioned by ABC Classic in 2020 as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program.TRACKLISTING1 The Rain Will Go Away2 Sunbeam3 Beyond the Mist
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Escape from the fuss and busyness of city living and enter a world of beauty and pure calm.From soothing rain to rippling streams, from birdsong and rustling forest leaves to the wide ocean’s waves washing endlessly onto the patient sand, nature’s symphony sings to us of new life and new hope. Like a mantra, the sounds of the natural world blend with gentle, dream-like music to create a place of healing and renewal.Two hours of tranquillity to de-stress and re-centre. TRACKLISTING  Disc 1 Water 1.     Endless Sea2.     Lavender Stream3.     Gentle Rain4.     By the Lake5.     The Shore6.     Night Rain Disc 2 Forest 1.     Blue Gum Morning2.     High Forest3.     Green under Sun4.     Casuarinas5.     Meadow Song6.     Ghost Gums  
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Kalkaniis a musical collaboration between didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton and violin powerhouse Véronique Serret. Their unique sound draws upon the expansive sounds of our native Australian landscape, incorporating the rhythmic pulses and drones of the didgeridoo melded with contemporary violin techniques and melody.Kalkanimeans ‘eagle’ in Barton’s Kalkadunga language – a fitting title for this soaring music, created as a tribute and sign of respect to generations past, present and future. “It’s the stillness of the land and the first dawning of that breeze and the calmness that comes with the energy of the air in the morning – it’s the symphony of the earth,” says Barton.William Barton is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s leading didgeridoo players and composers, performing with top-level orchestras around the world. His album Birdsong at Dusk won the 2012 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album. Véronique Serret’s bold, fearless genius embraces music of any and every kind, from baroque to contemporary classical, folk and rock, taking her around Australia and around the world.Kalkani was commissioned by ABC Classic in 2020 as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program.
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Composer Nardi Simpson, a Yuwaalaraay woman from northern NSW, is a storyteller and performer with a deep commitment to the making and sharing of culture. Her new piece, Of Stars and Birds, celebrates the connection of birds and their song to the land, by drawing on the Yuwaalaraay southern cross story, which sees this iconic Australian constellation as a tree with two cockatoos roosting in its branches.By contrasting percussion and woodwind timbres, Simpson creates a subtle sonic landscape that explores the relationship between bird and tree, night and day, sound and silence, earth and sky: the cockatoo, she explains, is white during the day, boisterous and numerous, but at night, a singular, black presence sitting silently above the earth.In this world premiere recording, Simpson’s music is performed by acclaimed Ensemble Offspring: Sydney’s ‘musical mavericks’, featuring the most innovative instrumentalists in Australia. Under the artistic direction of award-winning percussionist Claire Edwardes, Ensemble Offspring explores new ideas through living music that leaps across art forms. presenting intricately crafted experiential performances that transcend genre and place.Of Stars and Birds was commissioned by ABC Classic in 2020 as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program.Lamorna NightingalefluteJason Noble clarinetClaire Edwardespercussion
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As part of the ABC’s Fresh Start program, ABC Classic and ABC Jazz in 2020 commissioned 25 new works from Australian musicians and composers, to be debuted on air in 2021, as well as being released commercially on digital platforms.Launching this exciting new series of digital releases is a project in which four First Nations composers bring their perspectives to 250 years of shared Indigenous and European history through music for a 250-year-old square piano. This historic instrument – akin to the first piano to arrive in Australia in 1788 – is housed in the Canberra School of Music's Historic Keyboard Collection. Through these four works it is brought to new life, singing tunes, telling stories, sounding challenges, and accumulating into a sonic landscape of memory.Rhyan Clapham’s work 1770 is ‘a documentation of our history from the time Henri Henrion made this square piano (circa 1770) to the moment I play it. Although I managed to somehow talk to 250 years of history in five and a half minutes, please consider it as a glimpse.’Elizabeth Sheppardhas based her piece Kalgoorli Silky Pear on her grandparents' experience of life in Kalgoorlie in the early 1900s, where they built a cottage and were very active in the community life of the time. ‘My grandfather Gus worked as the Head Gardener of the Boulder-Kalgoorlie Council, and he designed and maintained the public gardens of Kalgoorlie at a time when water was veryscarce. The Silky Pear grows in the Kalgoorli area. It has woody fruits with hard cases, that are designed to survive fire. Gus and his wife Emma bravely and cheerfully endured hard times in Kalgoorli, and like the strong Silky Pear, they passed on a beautiful legacy to their children and grandchildren.’Tim Graydescribes his work Lupe's Waltz as ‘music for a ballroom scene in a film I'm writing about an alcoholic werewolf called Lupe. People are dancing in this big hall a couple of hundred years ago. It starts off with them just meeting each other on the dancefloor, and they’re about to go into a waltz. I added a soprano voice and gave her a couple of words to sing. I imagine the singer as a witch, and the piano player as a vampire. The witch is singing to Lupe, telling her what she needs to do. She needs to look at herself, look within, and forgive herself, and others.’The digital EP finishes with Nardi Simpson’s piece The Binary, which emerged from reflections on the Black Lives Matter protests and the situation of being a First Nations woman in Australia in the 2020s. ‘In conversations around colonisation, reconciliation, deaths in custody, treaty, the Statement from the Heart, and other initiatives and campaigns, the black voice is oftentimes reduced to statistics, the health and wellbeing of our communities converted to data. For The Binary, I translated eight sayings chanted by Aboriginal people in protest marches into binary code: Always Was Always Will Be; Sovereignty Never Ceded; Treaty Now; Pay the Rent; No Justice No Peace; They Say Justice We Say Murder; Too Many Coppers, Not Enough Justice; Black Lives Matter. These sentences reflect the realities of First Nations people in Australia, they are our cross-cultural truths, raised and rallied against the systems of power and control. I used the code from these sayings to create eight musical layers. My hope for the piece was to create an Indigenised sonic environment, composing a relational landscape for the listener in which the aspirations and frustrations of First Nations protest overflow.’The project was coordinated by pianist Scott Davie, who plays on three of the tracks, and mentored by Christopher Sainsbury, founder and director of the Ngarra-Burria First Peoples Composers program. ‘Ngarra-Burria’ means ‘To listen – to sing’ in the Sydney language (Dharug / Eora).TRACKLISTING1   RHYAN CLAPHAM 1770     Rhyan Clapham piano and vocals 2   ELIZABETH SHEPPARD Kalgoorli Silky Pear     Scott Davie piano 3   TIM GRAY Lupe’s Waltz     Taryn Fiebig soprano     Scott Davie piano 4   NARDI SIMPSON The Binary     Scott Davie piano