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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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From Debussy and Ravel to Stravinsky and John Cage, the 20th century opened new worlds of musical colour and texture and brought new understandings of how music could speak to us. Music by Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Ives, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Britten and Berio.Art by Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith.Timeless art and great music: ABC Classics and the Art Gallery of New South Wales present a new collection of albums bringing together culture from through the ages. From nineteenth-century visions of grandeur in Epic Classics to the sacred tradition in Divine Classics, and from Australia’s own artistic heritage to the world of the Modernists, these albums provide rich insights by bringing art and music together. Previous collaborations between ABC and AGNSW include music audio-guides for the blockbuster exhibitions The Greats, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Nude: art from the Tate collection with the acclaimed Nude Live performances in collaboration with the Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Festival. 
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Music can lift the mind to the heavens, and create an image of the divine here on earth. This collection surveys a millennium of music written for the Christian church, from the medieval nun Hildegard of Bingen to the modern-day mystic John Tavener, via baroque masterworks. Music by Handel, Bach, Allegri, Tallis, Mozart, Vivaldi and others.Art by Sano di Pietro, Domenico Beccafumi and Andrea Andreani.Timeless art and great music: ABC Classics and the Art Gallery of New South Wales present a new collection of albums bringing together culture from through the ages. From nineteenth-century visions of grandeur in Epic Classics to the sacred tradition in Divine Classics, and from Australia’s own artistic heritage to the world of the Modernists, these albums provide rich insights by bringing art and music together. Previous collaborations between ABC and AGNSW include music audio-guides for the blockbuster exhibitions The Greats, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Nude: art from the Tate collection with the acclaimed Nude Live performances in collaboration with the Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Festival.
 
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From the opulence of opera to the intimacy of solo piano: four centuries of luscious, languorous music that will seduce and delight. Music by Delibes, Cilea, Rachmaninoff, Puccini, Bizet, Monteverdi, Rodrigo and more.Art by Lord Frederic Leighton, Charles Landelle and Rupert Bunny.Timeless art and great music: ABC Classics and the Art Gallery of New South Wales present a new collection of albums bringing together culture from through the ages. From nineteenth-century visions of grandeur in Epic Classics to the sacred tradition in Divine Classics, and from Australia’s own artistic heritage to the world of the Modernists, these albums provide rich insights by bringing art and music together. Previous collaborations between ABC and AGNSW include music audio-guides for the blockbuster exhibitions The Greats, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Nude: art from the Tate collection with the acclaimed Nude Live performances in collaboration with the Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Festival. 
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New music in an ancient land: Australian composers paint in sound their visions of the past, present and future of their country. Music by Percy Grainger, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Peter Sculthorpe, Nigel Westlake, Elena Kats-Chernin and more.Art by Tom Roberts and Brett Whiteley.Timeless art and great music: ABC Classics and the Art Gallery of New South Wales present a new collection of albums bringing together culture from through the ages. From nineteenth-century visions of grandeur in Epic Classics to the sacred tradition in Divine Classics, and from Australia’s own artistic heritage to the world of the Modernists, these albums provide rich insights by bringing art and music together. Previous collaborations between ABC and AGNSW include music audio-guides for the blockbuster exhibitions The Greats, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Nude: art from the Tate collection with the acclaimed Nude Live performances in collaboration with the Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Festival. 
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A celebration of the grandeur and splendour of orchestral music, and its power to lift the human spirit and open up new visions for the future. Music by Strauss, Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Copland, Mendelssohn and more.Art by Eugene von Guérard, Conrad Martens and WC Piguenit.Timeless art and great music: ABC Classics and the Art Gallery of New South Wales present a new collection of albums bringing together culture from through the ages. From nineteenth-century visions of grandeur in Epic Classics to the sacred tradition in Divine Classics, and from Australia’s own artistic heritage to the world of the Modernists, these albums provide rich insights by bringing art and music together. Previous collaborations between ABC and AGNSW include music audio-guides for the blockbuster exhibitions The Greats, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Nude: art from the Tate collection with the acclaimed Nude Live performances in collaboration with the Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Festival. 
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Guitarist Slava Grigoryan joins the Australian String Quartet in three world-premiere recordings, bringing dazzling contemporary voices to the guitar quintet genre first forged in the baroque period. Two of the quintets hail from Grigoryan’s well-established and genre-hopping guitar trio collaboration with Ralph Towner and Wolfgang Muthspiel; the other is penned by Australian Iain Grandage, one of the most original composers of the new generation.Ralph Towner is a celebrated jazz guitarist and his quintet, Migration, inspired by the wild nature of America’s Pacific Northwest, blends the melodic and harmonic language of jazz with a classical sense of development.Wolfgang Muthspiel also fuses two different musical genres, drawing on both “the subtleties of classical chamber music and the beauty of groove”. Described as an “interactive web of equal voices”, the work allows each instrument to shine in its own right.Australian composer, Iain Grandage, also traverses classical, jazz and popular styles in his work. His theatrical flair comes to the fore in this guitar quintet, contemplating the mind’s mystery and complexity in music of kaleidoscopic colour.Slava Grigoryan has developed an international reputation as a guitarist of rare virtuosity and versatility, performing on stages worldwide and cultivating collaborations with classical orchestras, jazz musicians and world artists, and most notably with his guitarist brother Leonard.The Australian String Quartet has for over 30 years dedicated itself to musical excellence with an Australian ‘accent’, reaching out from its home at the University of Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium of Music to audiences globally. The Quartet performs on a matched set of 18th-century Guadagnini instruments, on loan for the Quartet’s exclusive use through the generosity of Ulrike Klein and UKARIA.TRACKLISTINGRALPH TOWNER b.19401. MigrationWOLFGANG MUTHSPIEL b.1965 
Flexible Sky
2. I. Introduction – One More for Igor
3. II. 
4. III. Laws of Perspective 
5. IV.
IAIN GRANDAGE b.1970 
Black Dogs 
6. Prelude 
7. I. Più mosso
8. II. Adagio –
9. III. Subito allegro
10. Postlude Slava Grigoryan guitarAustralian String QuartetDale Barltrop violin IFrancesca Hiew violin IIStephen King violaSharon Grigoryan cello
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“You will hear music created on the brink of cataclysm, proclaiming as it does with such intensity the survival of art and beauty in a hostile world. Any new recording of music from the short-lived Weimar Republic deserves our rapt attention, and now the world-renowned Australian baritone, Peter Coleman-Wright, offers a thrilling selection from this repertoire.”– Barry Humphries, in his introduction to Ballads of the Pleasant Life.Distinguished baritone Peter Coleman-Wright steps off the world’s opera stages to present a rare recording of music close to his heart: the remarkable songs written as the Weimar Republic descended into Nazism in the 1920 and ‘30s, by composers at home in Germany and Austria who were then forced to flee into exile. These songs capture the spirit of the times: defiant, soulful and searching, but also capable of moments of exuberant joy and hope.The music of Kurt Weill sits at the heart of the album. We meet Weill’s infamous creation Mack the Knife, who first saw the light of day in 1920s Berlin and soon became a smash hit. A prominent Jew, Weill fled Germany in 1933. In America, he found his new musical home in the theatre, collaborating with lyricists Ira Gershwin and Maxwell Anderson, including his hilarious catalogue of Russian composers “Tschaikowsky” and the timeless ode “There’ll Be Love, Life and Laughter”.For Weill’s generation, music was the language of protest. Austrians Hanns Eisler and Alexander von Zemlinsky wrote popular songs from the perspective of the downtrodden: the miners, the cotton packers and many more besides.Amidst all this, there were flashes of humour, and the desire to take the rare joys of life by both hands. The album closes with a series of love songs, often sentimental, always heartfelt: film composer Robert Stolz’ praise for the beauties of life’s autumn years; Arnold Schoenberg’s elegy to the exquisite agony of separation; and Franz Schreker’s melancholy tribute to transient love.Peter Coleman-Wright is regarded as one of the world’s leading baritones, with a stellar career in the world’s leading concert halls including Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Met in New York and the Sydney Opera House; he finds the perfect foil for this music in the Sydney-based Nexas Quartet. The arrangements of these songs for baritone and saxophone quartet, created especially for this album, reflect a combination that would have been familiar to the clubs and bars where much of this music was first performed.Peter Coleman-Wright baritoneNexas QuartetBenjamin Burton piano
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How would Bach’s beloved Cello Suites have sounded to their original audience? And how can we recreate that experience, centuries later?In his debut album for ABC Classics, Italian-born cello virtuoso Umberto Clerici brings together a rich history of music for solo cello – from the Italian baroque to Bach’s Suites, and onwards to contemporary masterpieces – to re-discover the rich combination of traditions, eras and sounds that characterise Bach’s works.Clerici’s two ‘Suites Cubed’ keep the structure of Bach’s original Suites: a series of dances, introduced by a free-form Prelude. Bach’s music forms the backbone of these new Suites, with some of the dances represented by other compositions, creating a musical world of both diversity and synthesis.The first Suite Cubed begins with the euphoric Prelude from Bach’s Sixth Suite, before returning to the earliest surviving work for solo cello, written in 1687 by Italian composer Giovanni Battista degli Antonii. Elsewhere Giovanni Sollima’s atmospheric Alone – a true masterwork of the contemporary repertoire – leads to the folk-inspired dances of Spaniard Gaspar Cassadó; and the courtly Langsam of Paul Hindemith gives way to Bach’s elegant Bourrées.The result is a revelatory experience: a journey through a kaleidoscope of musical colours, highlighting the range of Bach’s own music and celebrating the rich diversity of music for solo cello through the ages, brought together by Clerici’s superlative musicianshipUmberto Clerici is principal cellist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and renowned as one of the most innovative musicians and educators of his generation. On this album he plays a 1722 Matteo Goffriller from Venice.
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“We’ve always been drawn to music with great melodies and interesting harmonic progressions. As guitarists we want to ‘sing’ as much as possible when playing.”Globally renowned for their superlative musicianship, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan have decided to get personal for their latest album. Performing arrangements made by their father Edward, the brothers have chosen songs that are particularly close to their heart, and as well as a few new discoveries – including timeless songs by Tchaikovsky (Chanson Triste, None But the Lonely Heart), Rachmaninoff (Vocalise), Elgar (Chanson de Nuit, Chanson de Matin), Bach, Ponce, Fauré and others.The Grigoryan Brothers, individually and as a duo, are counted amongst the finest musicians of their generation. Between them, they have clocked up an incredible 21 ARIA Award nominations and their recording and performing careers – and popularity – continue to flourish.Slava recently broke the record for the longest stretch at number one in the Classical Charts for an Australian artist, when his latest solo album Bach Cello Suites Volume I spent 13 weeks at the top.Reflecting on their musical relationship with their father, Slava and Leonard comment: “He has developed a unique style of writing and arranging for two guitars – always democratic, extraordinarily detailed and with complete awareness of what we as individual players can, and cannot do. We’re so lucky to have this inspiring collaborator and mentor working as prolifically as he does!”During their careers, the Grigoryans have developed a reputation for enthralling audiences with the sheer energy of their performances, and the breadth of their repertoire – from classical to jazz and world music. In addition to a global touring schedule, their collaborations at home include performances with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and baritone José Carbó, and in 2017 they will support Grammy Award-winning Canadian singer k.d. lang’s Ingenue Redux tour.
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World-class opera in a spectacular setting.Opera Australia’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour touches millions every year through the tragedy and triumph of great opera, with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as a backdrop and fireworks lighting up the night sky.Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: The Collection celebrates this unique experience with complete recordings of five of the world’s best-loved operas. From the stirring majesty of the ‘Triumphal March’ in Aida to Madama Butterfly’s tender love song ‘Un bel dì’, and from opera’s favourite femme fatale Carmen to Turandot’s iconic aria ‘Nessun dorma’, this 5DVD set showcases the power of opera to move the heart and stir the soul.Featuring complete performances of:Carmen • La Traviata • Madama Butterfly • Turandot • Aida
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“This album covers the gamut of expressive musical possibilities – from extreme anguish and despair to heart-aching simplicity, from intellectual rigour and pure consonance to shattering dissonance. It is everything.” – Richard TognettiHot on the heels of their ARIA-nominated recording of Mozart’s Last Symphonies, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti showcase two works of genius by Beethoven and Bach. Recorded live in concert, these seminal works are given a new lease of life, opening up new soundworlds through the vitality and virtuosity for which the ACO has become globally renowned.Both Bach and Beethoven wrote these pieces towards the end of their lives. Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge was originally conceived as the final movement to his last string quartet; in it, the genre moves away from salon music into what Tognetti describes as “hyper-controlled cacophony, rousing responses ranging from rapture to despair”. This was too much for Beethoven’s contemporaries, and the quartet was soon given a more orthodox ending. In this album the Grosse Fuge is returned to its original place, and is presented in an arrangement for string orchestra by Tognetti which, in his words, is “careful not to exploit the greater dynamic capabilities at the expense of the innerlich heart of Beethoven’s uniquely powerful music”.Bach’s The Art of Fugue was left unfinished at his death, and is a work shrouded in mystery: it is unclear for what instrument it was originally written. A masterclass in the fugue – a form in which a single musical theme repeats and weaves around itself – the first four movements are presented here using strings, winds and even the voices of the orchestra to bring out the polyphonal parts which, in Bach’s hands, speak as one.Critical acclaim for the concerts at which this album was recorded include praise for the ACO’s “uncanny blend of muscularity and airiness” (The Daily Telegraph) and “restless dynamism” (Sydney Morning Herald).TRACKLISTINGJOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH 1685–1750The Art of Fugue, BWV1080 (selections)1. Contrapunctus I2. Contrapunctus II3. Contrapunctus III4. Contrapunctus IV LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN 1770–1827String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130 (with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133)5 I. Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro6 II. Presto7 III. Andante con moto ma non troppo (poco scherzoso)8 IV. Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai9 V. Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo10 VI. Grosse Fuge Australian Chamber OrchestraRichard Tognetti director and violin
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For her third ABC Classics album ‘Cello at the Opera’, Sally Maer (aka Cello Diva) gives emotional and breathtaking performances of the great opera tunes on the instrument closest to the human voice: the cello.Maer and her cello take the starring roles in the world’s most popular arias for all voice types – soprano, mezzo, tenor and bass – creating a new studio recording that is unique and exquisite.From triumph to tragedy, Maer celebrates the grandeur and brilliance of great opera, with her eloquent cello accompanied by the rich sound of the full orchestra. By turns intimate and majestic, the cello proves the perfect vehicle for some of the greatest melodies by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Handel, Faure and many others.“The passionate music from Opera has always won my heart,” says Maer. “The dramatic tales magnify everything we feel in life from tragedy to ecstasy and the cello marries perfectly with these ingredients. In great opera, the meanings of love and loss are exquisitely captured, and for me, singing them through the cello gives the music its own new entity.”On this album, the cello sings of love, from Carmen’s seductive Seguidilla to Madama Butterfly’s great aria Un bel di, and from the beloved Pearl Fishers Duet to Monteverdi’s Pur ti miro. It tells of heartbreak, with the baroque masterpiece Dido’s Lament and the exquisite Song to the Moon. And it embodies some of the most memorable characters in opera, from the Spanish bullfighter in Toreador’s Song to the resolute Nessun Dorma and O mio babbino caro.Maer plays solo arias, duets and, for Mozart’s famous trio Soave il vento, regarded as one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, Maer plays all three voices in a brilliant new arrangement.