Droplets: 60 minutes – 60 pieces

ABC 481 1871

For those who have short attention spans, or as that perfect gift, this compilation album of pieces will engage every listener with its selection of music from every period, every instrumental combination, along with some choruses and vocal items.

Droplets CDNot only does the CD rip along at an almighty pace from Buxtehude to Gershwin, but it must delight radio broadcasters who scurry to find that mini track of music to fill a rare moment.

ABC Classic FM presenter, Guy Noble is thrilled with the release of this album.

“As a radio presenter, I have been searching for a CD like this for years, music by composers that bridges that awkward gap between the end of the Beethoven symphony you have just played and the imminent arrival of the Majestic Fanfare of the ABC News theme. You have thanked your producer and talked at length about what is coming up after the news, but there is still a minute of airtime to go. In the real world a minute passes by with ease, but in the world of radio it opens up like a giant ice crevasse in the Antarctic. You scrabble through discs to find a track short enough to fit the hole, but everything is too long. You know that if music is still playing as the second hand on the clock ticks from 59 to zero, it will be guillotined by the ruthless computer studio switch as cleanly as the head of Marie Antoinette.

“Now finally a CD that presents a delicious selection of minute-sized morsels of music that fill that pesky space…. (It is) a musical slide show of place and time,” said Noble.

There is Purcell, Beethoven, Handel, Orff, Warlock, Elgar, Goossens, Britten, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Granados, Schubert, Chopin, and Grainger amongst the selected composers.

But don’t count on Mahler, as there is none. His compositions never took less than an hour. No Wagner. And curiously Chopin’s Minute Waltz doesn’t feature. Why? Well, it lasts for one and a half minutes!

This is a great easy listening classical album. For the studio teacher, it would be a great end of year student gift, or even studio prize.

I Dreamed a Dream: Hit Songs from Broadway

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Guy Noble

Various Artists

ABC 481 0378

Nineteen of the best-loved songs from twelve landmark musicals (from composers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Rodgers, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Leonard Bernstein, Robert and Richard Sherman, and Stephen Sondheim) coupled with a full orchestral backing from the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, along with eight wonderful Australian musical theatre stars make this a stand-out recording.

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Guy Noble

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Guy Noble

Each performer hits the mark in his/her chosen songs, bringing to life the lyrics with an excitement and passion you would wish for in live theatre. Their individual vocal artistry and commitment to the music is the reason they each have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy careers on the stage.

Included are Toni Lamond AM (the indisputable doyenne of Australian Musical Theatre, and star of 42nd Street, My Fair Lady and five Lifetime Achievement Awards), Amanda Harrison (the original Elphaba in the Australian production of Wicked), Trisha Crowe (Christine in Masterpiece – The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber), Lucy Maunder (Lara in Doctor Zhivago), Jacqueline Dark (Don Giovanni, and Cinderella), Andy Conaghan (South Pacific, Oklahoma!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Michael Falzon (Side by Side by Sondheim), and David Parker (The Magic Flute, Rigoletto).

Whatever is your favourite song or musical, this compilation disc will simply astound you, whether it is the powerful title track, Stars, Bring Him Home, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, or On My Own (Les Miserables), The Music of the Night or All I Ask of You (The Phantom of the Opera), Memory (Cats), Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific), Send in the Clowns (A Little Night Music), the evocative Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz), Climb Ev’ry Mountain, My Favourite Things, or Edelweiss (The Sound of Music), Supercalifragilisticespialidocious (Mary Poppins), Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (Evita), Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ (Oklahoma), Tonight (West Side Story) or wittily delivered Chitty Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Conductor, Guy Noble brings together this stellar cast of singers and musicians to produce a first-class collection, worthy of Broadway or the West End.

Noble’s recent “soapbox” contribution in Limelight (January 2014) suggests that he wish for musicals to remain interesting musically. He points specifically to those works by Richard Rodgers, in which the chord structures showed a “master at work”.

“Imaginative, unusual, it is the bedrock on which the melody sits,” writes Noble.

“We seemed to have lost harmonic biodiversity. All the complex and unusual chords have gone the way of the dodo and we are left with the same three or four triads over and over again, a diet of I, IV, II and V.” This might account for the selections on this disc not venturing into the realms of the new and more adventurous (perhaps lesser known) musicals, emerging on the scene today. Of course, the producers at ABC Classics could have released many more than one CD of songs that would fit the criteria of this particular conductor. Hopefully, they will in years to come, further capturing some of the great musical theatre talent in this country.