Charlotte de Rothschild: Sings a story of her Family Connections

In her Sydney-only recital, British soprano Charlotte de Rothschild will weave a fascinating story of her famous family’s connections with the great composers of Europe.

With her reputation as an international artist and after years of research, no-one is better placed than the soprano Charlotte de Rothschild to tell the unique story of the Rothschilds and their musical associations.

This is the musical story of her family which started via the family’s founder Mayer Amschel Rothschild. Under his direction and genius, his five sons (hence the five arrows of the family crest) were sent to France, Germany, Austria, Italy and England to create the banking dynasty that has become so famous throughout Europe today.

Charlotte is the latest scion of the family to immerse herself in the rich heritage of her forebears, acting both as chronicler and voice of her family history. She has put together a celebration of songs and a collection of delightful anecdotes and she takes the listener on an aural journey through the Rothschild musical vaults, including some previously unknown works by various famous composers. These were either friends, teachers or relatives, such as Liszt, Poulenc, Rossini, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and her ancestors, Meyerbeer and Mathilde de Rothschild. Mathilde was a very talented composer who wrote beautiful songs. She was taught at the age of fifteen by Chopin, who was so impressed that even during his last illness, when he took few pupils, he found time for “the Rothschild girl”. Her works were published by the major houses of Europe under her own name as “La Baronne Willy de Rothschild” or “Freifrau Willy von Rothschild” (she married a cousin). She was asked by many leading singers of the day to compose for them. Her most famous song “Si vous n’avez rien à me dire”, also known as her “Romance”, was the first of a set of five songs written for her friend Adelina Patti.

Some of this music was discovered in the form of a Livre d’Or – a musical autograph book, started in 1826 by a previous Charlotte de Rothschild, who obviously invited any composer who visited her to write either a song or piano piece into her book. The collection was added to by her daughter Mathilde and the book passed on through the female line, being added to well into the 20th Century by composers such as Bernstein, Hahn and Milhaud. Finding this musical autograph book was confirmation of Charlotte’s research over the years.

In her Sydney-only recital, Charlotte will sing works by Mendelssohn, Chopin, Cherubini, Rossini, Liszt, Poulenc, Barber, Spohr, Hahn and Mathilde de Rothschild.
Venue: Cello’s (Level 4), The Castlereagh Hotel, 169 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
Date: Thursday, 27 July, 2017
Time: 7.30 pm
(Drinks and Canapes will be served on arrival from 7 pm; Recital will commence at 7.30 pm.)

Book online at Eventbrite

For more on the Family Connections, see http://www.charlottederothschild.com/rothschilds

Rhythm to Recovery

Faulkner, S.: Rhythm to Recover – A Practical Guide to Using Rhythmic Music, Voice and Movement for Social and Emotional Development, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2017)

(This review first appeared in The Studio (May 2017), published by MTA of NSW.)

Simon Faulkner has become one of the world’s leading exponents on the use of drumming for purposes other than performance. He has taken the primal, tribal and tactile elements of the art of drumming and applied them to heal and motivate people of all ages. In healing, his objective is not to replace the medical or psychological practitioners, but rather work with clinics, schools, and a diverse array of other providers in calming the individual, grounding personalities, and developing improved socialisation skills.

His Rhythm2Recovery method is powerful and transformative in the lives of those with whom it comes in contact. Hailed across the world, it is a methodology which everyone (regardless of musical experience) can use and enjoy. No prior musical experience is necessary for those wishing to utilise the techniques.

People who participate in the system learn such things as identity, group dynamics, behavioural limits, and risk-taking in a controlled environment.

Feedback in the Rhythm2Recovery workshops is immediate and friendly, thus providing participants understanding and directions for behavioural change.

The system debunks the notion that music is purely for experts, or for those for whom years of practice have been devoted. Instead, it asserts and affirms that everyone is musical, to some degree, and has the capacity to organise sound, participate in a group (no matter how disparate the members of the group) and use their bodies effectively in alignment with the musical rhythms.

Years of research by the author has given him the skills to use the language of rhythm to develop trust in individuals. He shows in the book how he uses his technique not only for musical outcomes, but more importantly to him, for therapeutic and social benefits.

Divided into two sections, the author has provided a readable work which states the theory, research and resources for his innovative and highly successful method, and then moves into a section outlining games, exercises and other applications.

In the first section, he details specific groups of people and how to work his programme with them, including in the areas of early childhood, individuals with special needs, youth, mental health patients, alcohol and drug dependent individuals, trauma victims, veterans, parents, aged people, and even in prisons, corporate management and staff contexts.

After reading the first part of the book which sets up the system with the research and theory, the second part reveals how to be hands-on with the approach, giving guidance on the delivery of highly accessible and rhythmic exercises in a sequential manner. Growing confidence in application, by using these initial patterns, will ensure the practitioner develops his or her improvisational skills, which ultimately leads to a feeling of empowerment.

The author deals with basic hand-drum technique, posture, WHS, as well as more specific knowledge, such as Bass and Tone, Flam and Slap, and Tablature, before breaking out into specific rhythmic patterns. There are games and exercises which could be used in a diverse range of activities (even by the school teacher).

Finally, there are five key points which summarise the findings: 1. Finding your base (or finding your place); 2. How these rhythms impact one’s life in developing better relationships; 3. The drum as your voice (and your heart); 4. The drum as a means of team building; and 5. The drumming system which provides a means to build community.

Rhythm2Recovery is a versatile system which elevates therapy from merely listening to the soothing tones of wonderful music, to the practical. It is engaging and motivating, and more importantly, empowering. Simon Faulkner is a convincing advocate for the use of rhythm in all our lives, bringing a much-needed equilibrium that most other systems rarely can offer.

Brandenburg Celebrates

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Brandenburg Choir
Artistic Director: Paul Dyer
ABC 481 1929

You can’t go past some of the great works of the Baroque if you want to celebrate joy, passion, triumph and elegance, all traits of the astounding Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

Brandenburg CAfter 25 years of continued success and audience favour, the ABO has carved its well-earned place in the history books for its attention to Baroque performance practice, its engaging programmes (both in live concert and in recorded format), as well as its ability to bring relevance to such music through its dynamic and striking performances.

Here on this CD, Paul Dyer not only has produced a recording of immense pleasure, but one which showcases the orchestra’s great mastery of the 17th and 18th century repertoire.

From a vibrant and driven opening of Handel’s Zadok the Priest, from Coronation Anthem No 1, to the Telemann Concerto in E minor for flute, violin and strings, this is virtuosity on an orchestral scale that is rarely heard. Take the 3rd movement (Presto) of the Telemann, for instance, which is truly breathtaking as the violin soloist powers through with the greatest of resolve.

Impeccable intonation and rhythmic vitality are hallmarks of this great ensemble and on this superb recording, listeners will rejoice with the orchestra, as they are swept up into a Baroque frenzy of decorative dazzle and elegant sparkle.

Vivaldi’s Cello Concerto in A minor (RV 421) has exceptional solo passages played on a Baroque cello, providing an obviously different timbre, and executed with virtuosity.

Two examples of vastly different Concerto Grossi are included, with Geminiani’s No 12 in D minor “La Follia”, and Handel’s work in D, Op 3 No 6 (HWV 317), the former being a set of most intriguing variations, and the latter being unusual for its first movement, which is an ensemble piece (with short outbreaks of solos for oboes and bassoons), and the second movement, which is for solo organ, with orchestra providing an accompanying role.

Being introduced to many for the first time perhaps is the music of Brescianello, whose vivacious Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 1, No 4, and Chaconne in A is recorded here. A relatively unknown composer, his music is full of grace and Vivaldi influence.

To finish this recording is a premiere recording of a commissioned piece by Australian composer, Elena Kats-Chernin – Prelude and Cube. In the words of Paul Dyer, Prelude and Cube “pays homage to Bach, offering a glimpse into the world of the Baroque and a triumphant celebration of the Brandenburg.”
“My biggest challenge in writing this work,” said Kats-Chernin “was to feature every instrument”, a challenge even greater, with the inclusion of saxophone. Whilst Bach may be Kats-Chernin’s favourite composer, she did not want to quote directly from Bach’s works, but rather use devices and stylistic characteristics as references, albeit some of the vocal texts are drawn from Bach’s Magnificat.

Despite coming some 300 years later, Kats-Chernin’s new work fits within the output of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, for its highly acclaimed status within the Baroque music cognoscenti, since it has the same life, elegance, and sense of triumph. The Brandenburgers bring to this new work a similar passion and respect, making it a recording of great beauty and worth. It is a work of considerable merit sitting easily alongside the greats of the Baroque.

Murwillumbah’s music man

Retrieved from http://www.tweeddailynews.com.au/news/murwillumbahs-music-man/2689152/

by Blainey Woodham | 3rd Jul 2015 12:00 AM – The Daily News

CONDUCTING, adjudicating, playing, writing and composing…

9-2850576-twe250615barry1_fct1018x764_ct620x465Barry Walmsley has almost done it all in the world of music.

So as adjudicator at the Murwillumbah Festival of Performing Arts, currently underway at the local civic centre, he is the ideal man to be giving advice to young musicians.

Barry’s love for music started at age seven when he began music lessons in Murwillumbah.

It would prove to be a love affair that would take him all over the world in roles as a music educator, lecturer, arts journalist, music critic, pianist, vocal coach, conductor, adjudicator and administrator.

After school, he attended the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney.

He has worked for Trinity College in London since 1990, one of Britain’s leading musical schools and has been awarded honorary membership to the college by its patron, the Duke of Kent.

Now back in his home town for a few weeks, he said a driving desire to teach others was the key to his success and that of his students.

“I love music and working with people because I believe passionately in the impact of education on people’s lives,” he said.

“In addition, I believe strongly that music education has so many benefits, cognitively and socially.”

Mr Walmsley said the talent on display at this year’s festival was higher than ever.

“Some performers are operating at very high levels, way beyond what might be normal for their age.

“That is very exciting to spot and the Tweed continues to punch above its weight, in terms of producing successful performers,” he added.

Elements: Simon Gleeson

SG24601

This debut album from musical theatre star, Simon Gleeson, will not leave anyone disappointed. Currently starring as Jean Valjean in the acclaimed new production of Cameron Mackintosh’s Les o_iP87-NMiserables, Gleeson shows that he is a world-class singer and actor. On this recording, he has assembled songs that are a personal testament, reflecting elements of his life, as well as his stage persona.

Composers and song-writers, such as Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Elton John, George Harrison, Billy Joel, Matt Alber, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, have been placed alongside each other, creating a strong selection of some of the greatest songs ever produced.

Gleeson has a voice that is beautifully rich and full of colour, from the highest notes in his range to the darker low register. In each song, he tells a story with clarity and ease. A Bit of Earth and End of the World sit easily alongside iconic show songs such as Anthem (Chess), Being Alive (Company), and Bring Him Home (Les Miserables).

(This review first appeared in Fine Music magazine, 2015.)

I Was Flying: Music by Sally Whitwell

ABC 481 1704

The piano music of Sally Whitwell will become even more accessible from this original recording. Many already know of this Sydney pianist from her recordings, particularly the music of Phillip Glass, as well as her performances with numerous ensembles and soloists. This disc, however, thrusts the individual personality of Ms Whitwell centre stage.

Sally Whitwell discIt is not only the playing that is assertive, engaging, spirited; the works also, themselves, have a great amount to say, mostly on a very personal level. The liner notes detail the pianist/composer’s approach to composition, her inspiration and her journey as a composer. It is written in a chatty discourse and draws the reader in, just as her music does.

Not all pieces are for piano solo, but feature other musicians. A Hundred Thousand Birds (from a poem by Christina Rossetti) features the singers from Vox (a vocal ensemble for skilled young singers aged 18-30). Starlight Steeple has some wonderfully exciting textural shifts and vocal effects, and is based on a poem from a recent collection by Monique Duval. A more poignant setting of another Rossetti poem is Echo, which highlights an expanded choral range and expressive demand with its extended phrases.

With text from her own pen, Whitwell ponders upon her own cultural heritage in To Your Shore, which is filled with hope and fear, in seeking a new life. The piano accompaniment is busy, with its little repetitive figures (almost like the ebb and flow of the ocean waves) whilst the vocal lines are more arching and beautifully sustained. The harmonic gestures used in the choral setting of Byron’s poem She Walks in Beauty has a simplicity, but also a restful quality which comes from the composer’s reflection of falling in love. Flying, is based on a 3-line poem by Australian poet, Michael Dransfield, who battled drug addiction. Whitwell gives wings to the text in this delicate setting for choir and piano.

Along with these 6 choral pieces, there are 7 songs for piano and soprano (with soloist Alexandra Oomens).

A slow moving vocal line is offset with a beautifully rolling piano accompaniment in Some World Far from Ours.

The Birds, a short song cycle with words by Rossetti (Skylark, Nightingale, Linnet) evokes beauty, sadness, hope and joy (as Whitwell states); these songs are truly poignant and yet at times, glorious.

The Yeats poem, The Lake Isle of Innisfree gives Whitwell a rich lyric in which to express her longing for a sustainable eco-friendly life. She has created a mesmorising song, In the Deep Heart’s Core, in which there is a faint sense of her own heartbeat pulsing throughout.

Flatworm’s Heaven is a complete contrast, with its inspiration taken from city life frustrations, in particular, train travel (with text taken from The Train Now Standing by Michael Rosen). The incessant rhythmic piano lines almost collide with the text, and finally in a comic final phrase, alludes to the Sydney Trains 4-note announcement cue.

On hearing these songs, one gets the distinct impression that Whitwell craves for joy, and sharing that joy with others. In Warm Where Snowflakes Lie (with text by Rossetti), she allows the vocal line almost to calmly climb and recede, whilst the piano decorates and weaves around in an optimistic manner.

Loopy Lady is a set of 4 piano pieces (Reels, In the Middle, Waltzing Alone, Spin Out) which explores the frequently changing emotional states of teenagers. Musically, they exhibit rhythmic challenges, quirky shifts in style and mood, as well as a lyrical beauty in the slower sections, and some more robust moments.

Road Trip is actually a flute and piano solo (recorded here with flautist Sally Walker) that takes its inspiration from a weekly train commute for the composer from Sydney to Newcastle. There is constant movement throughout, other than a small flute solo, making this an exciting experience.

Whitwell describes The Insomnia Waltz (a piano and violin solo, recorded here with violinist Kirsten Williams) as a “frustratingly meandering stopstart of a piece”. The fragments of thematic ideas capture the mind of an insomniac, as they grapple with disrupted sleep and thoughts.

Winter Love (a piano quintet) was written specially for the Arcacia Ensemble (String quartet), and Whitwell here displays a fine grasp of dealing with the different timbres and textural contrasts that she so ably produces. It is especially appealing, both melodically and rhythmically.

Whitwell is a remarkable composer and pianist of her generation, with an adroit hand at writing for solo piano, chamber ensembles, vocalists, and choirs. She infuses her own personality into everything she writes and performs, making for some striking musical experiences.

Fine Music to Air New HSC Program

(This article first appeared in the January 2016 edition of Fine Music magazine.)

In a new initiative by Fine Music, students, teachers and listeners will have the opportunity to hear and learn about the latest in Australian music.

With Jason Noble at the helm, listeners will discover concepts have their aural diet expanded, as new music is explored from both the performers’ and composers’ perspective.

Jason NobleDesigned to add to the study of the HSC Senior Music topic, Music of the Last 25 Years, the programmes will assist young audiences, their teachers, and hopefully will find some new converts in older generations as well.

“I see the development of this radio programme as being a valuable resource for music teachers and students, as well as the general public. As a performer specialising in modern repertoire and as a teacher of my instrument, I still find it difficult to direct students in the right direction when it comes to selecting a piece to perform for the compulsory core topic as set by the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES),” said broadcaster, Jason Noble.

In league with key players in the area of new music, Noble has had the benefit of the Australian Music Centre.

“The AMC does a great job collating potential material for students and their teachers, but sometimes sifting through the vast repertoire can be time consuming, “ Noble said.

The initial broadcasts in February will be an introductory series. Fine Music will present an hour length program each on wind and brass, strings, piano, and percussion. Programmes will feature discussions with composers, HSC markers, and teachers.

Later in the year (Term 4), we will work towards a half hour show on each instrument, with about 6 to 8 works featured.

A series like this will excite all those listeners who believe in life long learning. The opportunity to hear new music, and find meaning will be paramount for the success of the series.

As senior Music student from across the state know, the compulsory core topic for the HSC subject, Music 2, is Music of the Last 25 years, and thus will form the main focus of this project. Works chosen for broadcast must have been composed in the last 25years by an Australian composer. The focus is therefore on solo and duo works. Students selecting the Music 1 course could also find some interesting pieces to select should they choose the Australian Music elective, or even the other topic – An Instrument and its Repertoire. There should be works presented to cater for a range of student abilities.

Making this programme digital will give access to those who live in the country too. Many teachers will admit that they tend to fall back on the same tried and tested pieces, but there is so much more music out there virtually undiscovered.

Jason Noble, a bass clarinetist, believes that our music tells us much about the diversity of Australia.

“The listener doesn’t have to enjoy every piece; they are short enough to get a good cross-section of what is going on with Australian composition, while listening to some of Australia’s finest performers. We need to keep supporting new ways of making music, while reflecting on the great legacy of Western Art Music,” said Noble.

Some of the more established composers, such as Ross Edwards, Elena Kats-Chernin will be heard alongside lesser-known ones. Variety is the common theme, and an attempt to get students to become aware that there is an abundance of new works written for their instrument will be a prime objective.

Whilst many students focus heavily on their performances skills, there is also an important part for composition in the study of HSC Music.

“I think there is naturally some co-relation with the composition elective, in that students will be able to hear a lot of Australian works, which could influence their own composition skills. A teacher could easily use the programme to focus on compositional techniques in a couple of the works after purchasing a score. Most scores will be available from the Australian Music Centre, or websites of the composers. In the future, we may be able to extend the program to do a feature on successful HSC compositions. I think this would be really interesting, as there is some great work and teaching being done,” Noble said.

Being a performing musician, Noble is keen to link in with the many organisations with which he already works.

“As a member of Ensemble Offspring, I have lots of links with composers and performers specialising in this new music,” said Noble.

Ensemble Offspring and the Acacia Quartet, along with pianist Sally Whitwell, worked alongside Richard Gill and Karen Carey earlier this year for a successful HSC composition workshop at Santa Sabina. The waters were tested here, with about 100 students and their teachers attending. There is certainly a hungry audience for this new music.

Noble believes that there is need for more access to events like these, to show students that they are not working alone, and to inspire each other to improve their performing and compositional skills.

“The advantage of this radio programme is really that students across the state can access the show without leaving their home. It is great as it will provide equal access for everyone,” Noble said.

Simon Tedeschi: The Gershwin Collection

ABC 481 1872

Now that Simon Tedeschi has released two recordings separately for ABC Classics (Gershwin & Me; Gershwin – Take Two), this box set (both CDs) has been released. Tedeschi, who clearly has a great affinity with the music of George Gershwin, describes the style as a combination of “Russian melancholy, Cuban rhythms, African American blues language, all gulped down with a Manhattan gusto”.

Simon Tedeschi The Gershwin CollectionRialto Ripples Rag leaves no-one in the dark. It grabs you with its strongly articulated accents and robust playing, a hallmark that permeates the entire recording. Three Preludes was one attempt by the composer to make his mark in the classical arena. Strangely, this was a lifelong quest of Gershwin’s. In the mid-1920s, staying in Paris for a short period, Gershwin applied to study composition with the noted Nadia Boulanger who, along with several other prospective tutors such as Maurice Ravel, rejected him. She was afraid that rigorous classical study would ruin his jazz-influenced style.

Tedeschi chooses some of the finest arrangements to include here; Keith Jarrett’s arrangement of Someone to Watch Over Me, which is so seductive, and then there’s Percy Grainger’s take on Love Walked in and The Man I Love, showing Grainger’s sensitivity as pianist arranger.

Three pieces (with arrangements by the composer), ‘S Wonderful, Oh, Lady Be Good!, and Strike Up the Band, were all written for different purposes, one a popular stand-alone song, one for a musical and one for film, showing the diversity that was the composer’s music-making style.

The tenderness of Dave Grusin’s arrangement of Nice Work If You Can Get It, comes from a period in which this prolific American celebrated through his arrangements the work of Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini and Leonard Bernstein.

On this recording, however, you are not left just hearing Tedeschi as a fine (jazz) pianist and exponent of Gershwin, but also as an arranger, giving breath to his own Summertime, and I Loves You, Porgy, with hugely improvisatory flair.

Of course, no disc of Gershwin’s piano music could be complete without one of the landmark pieces in American music, Rhapsody in Blue. In January 1924, Gershwin reportedly learned from a newspaper article that he was meant to be writing a ‘jazz concerto’ for a programme of new American music to be given by the popular dance band leader Paul Whiteman a month later. Writing at manic pace, Gershwin composed a two piano version, which was then orchestrated by Whiteman’s arranger, Ferde Grofé. The composer, himself, was the solo pianist at its premiere.

On both Tedeschi recordings are versions of this work. A live recording with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Benjamin Northey) – using the Grofé orchestration, brings to life all the colours of New York City, from the underground subways, to the hustle and bustle of the sidewalk, and the streets conjested with cabs. It is manic, verging on the breathless, and at times sleazy, and even majestic. The second version included here is the piano solo version, which is equally engaging for its muscular drive.

The second CD, Gershwin Take Two, has many more pieces that perhaps are less known these days. Solo piano music features such as Promenade, Prelude (Novelette in Fourths), Prelude (Rubato), Merry Andrew, Three-Quarter Blues, Impromptu in Two Keys, as well as extracts or arrangements from shows.

Tedeschi also invites guest musicians to collaborate with him in some tracks, such as Nice Work If You Can Get It, with trumpeter James Morrison, which also shows Tedeschi’s own skill in jazz improvisation at the piano. A very dreamy Prelude (Melody No 17) sees the trumpet and piano duo explore the lyrical and harmonic gestures in this “song without words”. ARIA award winning singer, Sarah McKenzie appears, singing a sultry Embraceable You (from Girl Crazy), which contrasts with her alluring Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (from Shall We Dance).

Other tunes from shows are Sweet and Low-Down (from Tip-Toes), Do-Do-Do, Clap Yo’ Hands (both from Oh, Kay!), Jazzbo Brown Blues (from Porgy and Bess), Liza (from Show Girl), My One and Only (from Funny Face), I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise (from George White’s Scandals of 1922), Do It Again (from The French Doll), Nobody But You (from La-La-Lucille), Who Cares? (from Of Thee I Sing), most of which had lyrics written by Ira Gershwin (George’s brother). The forgotten lyricists here are Gus Kahn, Buddy DeSylva and Arthur Jackson.

Gershwin is one of those composers whose life was cut short too early (from a brain tumour), and one whose music sweeps you up in a rapturous experience of sheer joy.

In Simon Tedeschi we have a world-class pianist, who, probably more than any other recent musician, has placed the music of George Gershwin on a plane equal with his own musical understanding and virtuosic playing, as well as his honest performance regarding the intentions of the composer. Tedeschi’s innate sense of the style marks him out as an authentic exponent; it is as close to channeling the great composer-pianist as it could be.

In the words of the legendary harmonic virtuoso Larry Adler who worked with Gershwin himself (and with whom Tedeschi has also worked): “I just wish Gershwin were here… Simon is one of the finest exponents of his music I have ever seen.”

Cello Dreams

ABC 481 1629

The great American cellist once said, “The cello is the most perfect instrument aside from the human voice”. That perhaps explains why arias and other songs lend themselves to cello transcription so well, such as Handel’s arias Lascia ch’io piana (from Rinaldo), Par che mi nasca in seno (from Tamerlano) and Sondheim’s Goodbye for Now, as well as the folk song, I Will Give My Love an Apple.

Cello DreamsOn this double CD compilation set, there are 27 tracks of exquisite cello solos played by some of Australia’s most outstanding cellists. Dreamy is the mood of the music selections, and as a consequence the chosen repertoire is slow in speed. The cover photograph of a cello lying down (as if a person) in a grassy field is also suggestive that the music will be contemplative.

The majority of tracks are played by two cellists, Sally Maer (9 pieces), and Li-Wei Qin (5 pieces), whilst others feature Janis Laurs, Louise King, Michael Goldschlager, Julian Thompson, Suzanne Wijsman, Noeleen Wright, Daniel Yeardon, Anthea Cottee, Fenelia Gill, and Jamie Hey.

The accompanying forces should not be diminished in any way simply because this is a disc of solo cello music. The Melbourne & Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, Sinfonia Australis, and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra are put alongside piano accompanists and chamber musicians, including Anna Goldsworthy, Mark Kruger, Sally Whitwell, Genevieve Lang, Janice Preece, Catherine Strutt, Genevieve Lacey, Neal Peres Da Costa, Paul Dyer, and Michael Brimer.

As well as the expected inclusions, such as The Swan (Saint-Saens), Cello Concertos movements (Vivaldi, Haydn, Dvorak & Elgar), Cello Suites (Bach), Variations on a Rococo Theme, and Pezzo capriccioso (Tchaikovsky), Sonata movements (Boismortier, Saint-Saens), Cantilena from Bachianas brasileiras No 5 (Villa-Lobos), Winter (Largo) from The Four Seasons (Vivaldi), Sinfonia (Arioso) from Cantata BWV 156 (Bach), there are lesser-known pieces such as Promenade a l’automne (Tournier), an arrangement of the traditional Scottish, Unst Bridal March, Sicilienne (Paradis), Adagio (Zipoli), and the refreshingly new in Spiegel im Spiegel (Part).

This is a most beautiful recording, with truly delightful music, played with warmth, passion and at times charming simplicity.

The Celtic Songbook

ABC Classics 481 1981

Music of the Celts has always had a huge following, and this disc of 18 songs will find a large audience. Timeless melodies from Ireland, Scotland and Wales are performed by some of the leading musicians in Australia currently.

The Celtic SongbookSingers David Hobson, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Sarah Calderwood, Annalisa Kerrigan, Paul McMahon, Timothy Reynolds, Nollaig Casey, and Craig Newman, are accompanied by orchestras (Tasmanian Symphony, Australian Brandenburg, Melbourne Symphony and Sinfonia Australis), chamber or folk groups (Sunas, Carisma), as well as choirs (Cantillation, Brandenburg Choir, Choir of Trinity College – University of Melbourne).

There is a plethora of instrumentalists recorded here from Genevieve Lacey (recorder), James Crabb (classical accordion), Genevieve Lang & Mary Dourmany (harps), Paul Jarman, Lynnelle Moran (tin whistles), to Chris Duncan (fiddle), who all help in giving the arrangements an authenticity.

Those interested in Celtic music, or folk music in general, will love the selections: The Mountains of Mourne, Wild Mountain Thyme, As He Moved Through the Fair, Suo Gan, Do You Love an Apple?, Loch Lomond, My Lagan Love, The Cliffs of Dooneen, Bovaglie’s Plaid, The Last Rose of Summer, Danny Boy, All Through the Night and Fhir an Bhata.

The vocal and instrumental artistry shines through in every track. There is a genuine affinity that comes across with each performance. This is one of the best collections of Celtic music on offer. It does fall into that category of relaxation and evocative music, with its abundance of melancholic and sometimes haunting ballads, slow instrumental passages, and lack of energetic gigs. But, it is reflective music, which is so perfect for the soul.