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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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"The recorder player Genevieve Lacey and the Baroque bassoonist Jane Gower gave a performance that swept away dourness in favour of light precision and breathlessly agile sequences in the fast movements and elegantly balanced ensemble in the slow.” – Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning HeraldThree of the finest baroque musicians performing today celebrate the music of one of the most prolific – and most neglected – composers.George Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) was a friend of both JS Bach and Handel, and in their lifetime was considered to be the finest composer of the three. He was at the forefront of new stylistic developments, drawing on influences across Europe – including French, Italian and Polish music – and moving music forward from the baroque to the classical era.Whilst his 1,000-plus church cantatas brought Telemann to eighteenth-century ears, it was in his chamber music that his invention and wit could flourish. He wrote sets of Fantasias for solo instruments – on this album we hear two for harpsichord and one for flute – and stunning Sonatas and Sonatinas for bassoon and recorder, accompanied for harpsichord.Telemann shaped the course of music, but also of the music industry. He was one of the first composers to publish his own music, and therefore to assert his authorial ownership of its ‘intellectual property’. All of these Sonatas, Sonatinas and Fantasias were published in the 1730s – in the short term, at least, as part of a money–making venture intended to mitigate his wife’s gambling debts!Genevieve Lacey, Jane Gower and Lars Ulrik Mortensen are close musical friends and collaborators. Lacey is an ARIA-winning virtuoso whose repertoire spans centuries, and has performed at venues from the BBC Proms to a prison in remote Western Australia; her fellow Australian Jane Gower is one of the world’s most sought after bassoonists, and a frequent collaborator with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Anima Eterna. Lars Ulrik Mortensen is a harpsichordist, conductor and teacher who specialises in period instruments. He is Artistic Director of Concerto Copenhagen and the European Union Baroque Orchestra.
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Featuring: Lior, The Idea of North, and Elena Kats-CherninA Piece of Quiet is an album of unrivalled musical delight: a collection of songs featuring the words of Australian children, set to music and performed by Lior, The Idea of North and Elena Kats-Chernin.A Piece of Quiet is the 16th volume in Hush’s acclaimed album series. Originally developed by Dr. Catherine Crock AM to reduce stress and anxiety felt by both patients and their families in hospitals, the Hush music collection is now played in hospitals, homes and shared spaces across the globe.The album is inspired by stories of young children – both sick and well. Singer-songwriter Lior and vocal quartet The Idea of North, along with renowned composer and pianist Elena Kats-Chernin, consulted Australian children for lyrical guidance; questions posed about their lives spawned responses filled with humour, wonder, excitement and surprising wisdom. From these conversations grew a collection of music that conveys the children’s feelings, hopes and dreams in a way that resonates equally with adult listeners.These ARIA-award winning musicians are joined by the Goldner String Quartet, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s principle oboist Diana Doberty and cor anglais Alexandre Oguey, and a range of other distinguished performers.Launch ConcertsSydney, City Recital HallTuesday 15 November, 7pmMelbourne Recital CentreThursday 24 November, 7pmMore details at www.hush.org.au
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“I am a musician because I believe in the power of music – to heal, to connect us to our emotions, indeed to foster kindness and compassion. Music is my greatest teacher and its greatest lesson is empathy. It reaches us on a level deeper than language and conscious thought and perhaps that is why it touches us so profoundly.” – Jayson GillhamGrowing up in outback Australia, Jayson Gillham travelled 500 kilometres every week to attend piano lessons. Now, after a stratospheric rise that has seen him acclaimed as one of the finest talents of the new generation, he presents his much-anticipated debut album: Bach | Schubert | Chopin.Praised for his “absorbing and relentless elegance” (The Montreal Gazette), and possessing “a beautiful bell-like tone, a great sense of expressive lyricism, and virtuosity” (The Australian), Gillham moved to London in 2007, since when he has performed at venues including the Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in London and Louvre Auditorium in Paris, and with groups including the London Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony and English Chamber Orchestras.Bach | Schubert | Chopin presents music of unparalleled beauty, vitality and joy by three masters of keyboard writing. The works highlight different aspects of Jayson’s superb musicianship. The album opens with the youthful exuberance of Bach’s Toccata in C minor (Bach was around the same age when he wrote it as Jayson when he recorded it). Schubert’s lyrical A major sonata showcases the sheer beauty of Jayson’s playing; and the Chopin Sonata in B minor, composed just five years before Chopin died, displays a depth in Jayson’s interpretative approach usually reserved for pianists of much more mature years.To record the album, Jayson travelled to the Reitstadel in Neumarkt, Germany to work with renowned Tonmeister Andreas Neubronner (Murray Perahia, Arcadi Volodos, Khatia Buniatishvili). The Australian launch tour for the album will include recital performances in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and concerto performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra / Vladimir Ashkenazy, and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra / Jeffrey Tate.
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Described as ‘unforgettable’ by The Australian and ‘barnstorming’ by The New York Times, the Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo enjoy a stellar international profile. In their new album on ABC Classics, they survey recent music by Australian composers for piano four-hands, much of it receiving its world-premiere recording.Music for piano four-hands began in the latter half of the 18th century, as the piano itself gained popularity. In the words of the pianists themselves, ‘the five Australian compositions on this disc grow and build on that tradition, with ambitious largescale works of complexity and virtuosity, as well as miniatures that deal with the interior world of the human heart and mind. Despite the diversity of music on this disc – a fascinating variety of responses to the musical opportunities afforded by piano four-hand performance – there is also a unifying thread of dynamism and spirited energy.’Ross Edwards’ A Flight of Sunbirds showcases a seemingly effortless affection; Carl Vine and Stuart Greenbaum’s Sonatas explores the potential for four-handed counterpoint. Peter Sculthorpe’s ‘delicate and wistful quartet of beautiful tableaux’ follow the tradition of arranging existing works for piano four-hands. And Elena Kats-Chernin’s Victor’s Heart uses the warm resonance of the form to create a touching musical tribute.
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When Brahms’ First Symphony received its premiere, it was immediately described as ‘Beethoven’s Tenth’ – the highest praise possible, acclaiming Brahms as the successor to the greatest symphonist of all.But it hadn’t been an easy journey. Brahms was 43 years old when this symphony was first performed, and in those first four decades of his life he had been grappling with the question of how to deal with the great legacy of the Classical era that lay before him. It took him 20 years to compose that first symphony – but once it was completed, he suddenly produced three more in under ten years, in one of the most astonishing creative outpourings in music: ‘a quartet of masterworks,’ in the words of Asher Fisch, ‘that are both old and new.’Recorded live in concert in 2015, these performances from the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and its Principal Conductor bring to life the colour and complexity of Brahms’ vision. Fisch – a protégé of Daniel Barenboim – is acclaimed as one of the great conductors of the Romantic repertoire of our times; from the lyrical second symphony to the epic fourth, this album is a testimony to his interpretative prowess, Brahms’ music, and to a superlative orchestra recorded in its prime.Praise for the live performances‘One of the most profoundly thrilling and beautiful musical experiences of my life.’ – Limelight Magazine‘A reading which oscillated between tenderness and high drama. The emotional turbulence that lies at the heart of so much of the symphony was dramatically evoked.’ – The West Australian‘Fisch, conducting from memory, was utterly at home and in command. Fisch combines rare attention to phrase-level detail with a strong sense of long-term form, and as a result each symphony built irresistibly to its climactic final bars.’– The AustralianTRACKLISTINGJOHANNES BRAHMS 1833–1897CD1Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 681. I. Un poco sostenuto – Allegro2. II. Andante sostenuto3. III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso4. IV. Adagio – Più andante – Allegro non troppo, ma con brioSymphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 905. I. Allegro con brio6. II. Andante7. III. Poco allegretto8. IV. Allegro CD2Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 731. I. Allegro non troppo2. II. Adagio non troppo3. III. Allegretto grazioso (Quasi andantino) – Presto ma non assai4. IV. Allegro con spiritoSymphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 985. I. Allegro non troppo6. II. Andante moderato7. III. Allegro giocoso8. IV. Allegro energico e passionato West Australian Symphony OrchestraAsher Fisch conductor
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The Australian World Orchestra (AWO) moves from strength to strength with its latest release on ABC Classics: Bruckner’s mighty Eighth Symphony, conducted by the internationally renowned Sir Simon Rattle and recorded live at the Sydney Opera House.The AWO is an orchestra like no other: the finest Australian classical musicians from the leading orchestras around the world, come home to join with the top Australian-based players in one thrillingly talented super-ensemble. With 95 electrifying musicians, representing more than 40 orchestras, together under one roof, the Australian World Orchestra is, in the words of Sir Simon Rattle, ‘one of the great orchestras of the world’.Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 is the perfect choice of repertoire for such a brilliant ensemble: grand in scope, intimate yet profound in its emotional journey, and radiantly beautiful. The AWO’s performances in July 2015 under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle left audiences cheering, and critics hailing the event as ‘pure musical Viagra’ and ‘a sublime rendition of the infinite in sound’. The performance was crowned Best Orchestral Concert of the Year at the 2016 Helpmann Awards.ABC Classics is proud to present this award-winning performance on CD, captured live in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.TRACKLISTINGANTON BRUCKNER 1824–1896Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1890 version)   [80’56]CD11. I. Allegro moderato    15’002. II. Scherzo: Allegro moderato – Trio: Langsam (Slow)  14’423. III. Adagio: Feierlich langsam, doch nicht schleppend (Solemnly slow, but without dragging)    27’10CD21. IV. Finale: Feierlich, nicht schnell (Solemnly, not fast) 24’04 Australian World OrchestraSir Simon Rattle conductor
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Music is a perfect opportunity to practise mindfulness: to become fully aware of the present moment, opening ourselves to the physical and emotional experience of listening, here and now.ABC Classics has collaborated with mindfulness experts Smiling Mind to develop this collection of calming classical music: perfect both for experienced practitioners of meditation and for those simply looking for a moment of tranquillity to escape from the pressures of the day.From the intricate clarity of Bach to the pure stillness of Arvo Pärt and Erik Satie, this album offers a musical journey into the spirit of sound itself.
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Love is the heartbeat of the whole universe:mysterious, proud, an agony and an ecstasy to the heart.LA TRAVIATAEmma Matthews – renowned as the finest Australian soprano of her generation – unveils her triumphant third album: Agony and Ecstasy.Inspired by words from Verdi’s opera La traviata, the album presents a rich and timeless journey through the many faces of love, drawing on opera that employed the power of music to bring alive experiences of the heart as never before.Agony and Ecstasy opens with a joyful expression of young love by Juliet in Gounod’s Shakespeare-inspired opera: ‘I want to live in this heady dream forever!’ A new mood is introduced by the calculating determination of Rosina to win her lover in The Barber of Seville; the album closes with the poignant desperation of Elvira’s ‘mad scene’ in I Puritani, when she thinks herself abandoned. Between these, we witness some of opera’s most vivid characters as they grapple with love.The eight arias – by Bellini, Rossini, Verdi, Donizetti and Gounod – were composed within sixty years of one another. Influenced by a Romantic desire to explore love and emotion, these composers were given the perfect vehicle by the bel canto compositional style, which prized both vocal fireworks and honest, heartfelt emotion.Matthews has given acclaimed live performances of many of the roles on the album throughout a career that has taken in opera houses and concert halls across the globe. The presence of legendary conductor Richard Bonynge – husband of the late Dame Joan Sutherland and mentor to Matthews – is strongly felt: she first performed many of these operas with him, and in some cases the ornamentation was handed on directly from Maestro Bonynge.Agony and Ecstasy was recorded with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Andrea Molino by ARIA-Award-winning Tonmeister Virginia Read.Emma Matthews sopranoMelbourne Symphony OrchestraAndrea Molino conductorWith Steve Davislim tenor (tracks 4 and 9)
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Seeking out undiscovered resonances on the violin with new tuning patterns of his own invention, Biber created a profound musical meditation on Christian spirituality.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.HEINRICH IGNAZ FRANZ von BIBER 1644–1704The Five Joyful Mysteries1-3 Sonata No. 1: The Annunciation4-6 Sonata No. 2: The Visitation7-9 Sonata No. 3: The Nativity of the Lord10 Sonata No. 4: Jesus Presented in the Temple11-14 Sonata No. 5: Jesus Found among the TeachersThe Five Sorrowful Mysteries15 Sonata No. 6: The Agony in the Garden16-17 Sonata No. 7: The Scourging18-19 Sonata No. 8: The Crowning with Thorns20-22 Sonata No. 9: The Carrying of the Cross23-25 Sonata No. 10: The CrucifixionElizabeth Wallfisch violinRosanne Hunt celloLinda Kent organ, harpsichord
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The colours and rhythms, perfumes and passions of Spain come alive in music by three of its greatest composers.THE THREE-CORNERED HAT AND DANZAS FANTÁSTICAS – COMPOSED IN 1919This 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. MANUEL DE FALLA 1876–19461-3 The Three-Cornered Hat – selectionsISAAC ALBÉNIZ 1860–1909 orch. Enrique Arbós 1863–19394-8 IberiaJOAQUÍN TURINA 1882–19499-11 Danzas fantásticasWest Australian Symphony OrchestraJorge Mester conductor
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Peter Sculthorpe was the first non-Indigenous Australian composer to create a distinctively Australian musical language. This recording of his early masterpiece The Fifth Continent features the composer himself as narrator.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.PETER SCULTHORPE 1929–20141 Port Arthur: In memoriam (for trumpet and strings)2 Djilile3-7 The Fifth Continent8 Lament9-11 Little Suite12 Night-Song13 Port Arthur: In memoriam (for oboe and strings)Tasmanian Symphony OrchestraDavid Porcelijn conductor
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Céleste Venard – born in Paris in 1824 – was a woman and an artist far ahead of her time.A courtesan, singer, actor, trail-blazing dancer, chariot-rider, best-selling novelist and playwright, she was also the muse of the composer Bizet, and the inspiration behind his most famous operatic character, Carmen. Her lovers included novelists, artists and composers- but when she married the Count de Chabrillan, a prominent member of the French aristocracy, Parisian society was scandalised. And when the pair turned up in far off Australia, where the count served as the first French consul, Melbourne society was scandalised in turn.This album accompanies a major new book by Roland Perry exploring Céleste’s life. The music celebrates her grace and courage, creativity and openness of spirit, and traces some of the key events and relationships of her unique and extraordinary life – from the opera that she inspired to the dances she loved.Album features an introduction to the life of Céleste Venard by Roland Perry.