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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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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.
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A magical musical journey to the land where all good dreams come true.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.PYOTR IL’YICH TCHAIKOVSKY 1840–1893The Nutcracker1 Miniature Overture2 Decorating the Christmas Tree3 March4 Arrival of Drosselmeyer5 Departure of the Guests – The Magic Begins6 Battle against the Mouse King7 Journey through the Snow8 Waltz of the Snowflakes9 The Enchanted Palace10 Arrival and Festive Welcome11 Chocolate (Spanish Dance)12 Coffee (Arab Dance)13 Tea (Chinese Dance)14 Trepak (Russian Dance)15 Dance of the Mirlitons (Flutes)16 Mother Gigogne and the Clowns17 Waltz of the Flowers18 Pas de deux19 Tarantella of Prince Charming20 Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy21 Coda22 Final WaltzQueensland Symphony OrchestraWerner Andreas Albert conductor
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Larry Adler was a musical phenomenon – a harmonica virtuoso with a 70-year career, the highest-paid entertainer in America during the 1930s and 40s, and a collaborator with George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, Elton John and many more.Recorded live in 1997 (and released here on the 15th anniversary of his death), this live recording showcases some of Adler’s signature tunes, alongside delightful anecdotes from an astonishing life.Also featuring appearances ‘from beyond the grave’ by Adler’s friends Ingrid Bergman and George Gershwin.1 SummertimeGeorge Gershwin, from Porgy and Bess2 Interlude: Larry makes it at last!3 Our Love Is Here to StayCole Porter4 My Funny ValentineRichard Rodgers5 Interlude: Duke Ellington and Guy Lombardo6 Sophisticated LadyDuke Ellington7 Interlude: Billie Holiday8 Begin the BeguineCole Porter9 Interlude: Introduction to Bess, You Is My Woman Now10 Bess, You Is My Woman NowGeorge Gershwin, from Porgy and Bess11 Interlude: Hollywood and the Blacklist12 GenevieveLarry Adler
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We’d always suspected it – and over the past couple of years, Australians have confirmed it.During 2015, Christopher Lawrence – then presenting ABC Classic FM’s Morning show – began to ask his listeners what Mozart fixed for them. The reaction was instantaneous, and the answer came back loud and clear: everything from broken hearts to dripping taps. Lawrence took the idea with him to the Classic Drive show in 2016, and most recently Classic Breakfast's Phillip Sametz has also started to offer fix-it Mozart moments to listeners busy with the challenges of the weekday morning.Now, in an indispensable album from ABC Classics, a selection of Mozart’s music whose restorative power has been verified by you: the perfect antidote to all life’s woes from the ultimate handyman and heart-healer. We recommend that you keep it close by at all times.Proof from ABC Classic FM listeners that Mozart really does fix everything“Mozart – he's nothing short of a miracle worker. He has just fixed the flat tyre on our wheel barrow!”“He did it! Mozart just finished last Friday's cryptic crossword for me.”“Mozart turned down the volume of the loud person on my bus.”“Mozart fixes the springs in my legs.”“You should know that Mozart has just made my milk-laden corn flakes crunchy again.”“Mozart fixed Monday-itis! Now I’m going to work smiling!”
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Johann Sebastian Bach wrote magnificent music for everyone to enjoy, from princes in palaces to beginners just learning to play – including 20 children of his own! His life was full of music, and his music is full of life. This album is the perfect introduction to Bach’s music, all carefully selected to delight younger listeners and start a journey through the wonderful world of classical music.