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Classic 100: Beethoven

Australia has voted Ludwig van Beethoven’s epic Ninth Symphony featuring the “Ode to Joy” as their number one in the Classic 100: Beethoven.

ABC Classic’s annual Classic 100 countdown was set amidst the global backdrop of coronavirus lockdowns, with the Ninth Symphony a fitting choice for top spot as people have sought to connect through music across the world.

This 8CD set contains music from all 100 of the best-loved works by Australia’s favourite composer, Ludwig van Beethoven: the easy grace and charm of his youth, his groundbreaking symphonies and string quartets, the anguish and triumph of his struggles with deafness, and the visionary genius of his final years.

It includes a brand new recording of the famous ‘Für Elise’ by Tamara-Anna Cislowska, ABC Classic presenter and internationally-celebrated pianist. She joins a Who’s Who of Australian performers, including Jayson Gillham, Nicole Car, Gerard Willems, Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Anna Goldsworthy, the Goldner String Quartet, the Seraphim Trio and more.

In 2019, Beethoven was revealed as Australia’s favourite composer, topping the Classic 100: Composer countdown. And so in 2020, to celebrate his 250th birthday, we dedicated the Classic 100 to Beethoven.

Beethoven epitomises the hope and humanity at the core of music’s purpose, from the inspiring story of the deaf man who became the greatest composer of all time, to the moments when Beethoven has provided a soundtrack to the great events of history, to the comfort and joy of his music in our everyday lives.

Classic 100: Beethoven by the numbers

Favourite Forms 26 Sonatas 13 String Quartets 10 Concertos 9 Symphonies 4 Overtures • Trios 3 Romances • Sets of variations 2 Fantasias • Fugues • Sets of incidental music Masses • Quintets • Rondos 1 Adagio • Allegro and minuet • Bagatelle Ballet score • Battle piece • Concert aria Set of dances • Octet • Opera • Oratorio Septet • Serenade • Sextet • Sonatina Song • Song cycle Dark horses The highest-placed works making their Classic 100 debuts: · Egmont Overture (#13) · Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 2 (#24) · Coriolan Overture (#30) Earliest piece: Fugue in D major for organ (1782 – aged 12) Latest piece: String Quartet Op.130: Finale (1826 – aged 56) 22 Solo pieces (1 musician) 41 Chamber works (2–7 musicians) 37 Orchestral works 51 pieces featured a piano Beethoven in previous Classic 100 countdowns 48 unique works across 13 countdowns The Choral Symphony has featured 7 times; the Emperor Concerto 6 times Five #1s: · Classic 100 Piano (2004): Moonlight Sonata · Classic 100 Concerto (2007): Emperor Concerto · Classic 100 Ten Years On (2010): Choral Symphony · Classic 100 Voice (2016): Choral Symphony Classic 100 Composer (2019): Beethoven

Can’t get enough Beethoven? ABC Classic have also made a playlist featuring all the movements of all the works in the Top 100 – every single note from Australia’s favourite Beethoven pieces! Head here to listen.

Classic 100 Beethoven – Track List

CD1

1 Symphony No. 9 ‘Choral’: IV. Finale (Ode to Joy)

2 Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘Emperor’: II. Adagio un poco mosso

3 Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’: I. Pleasant, cheerful sensations awakened on arrival in the countryside

4 Symphony No. 7: II. Allegretto

5 Symphony No. 5: I. Allegro con brio

6 Piano Sonata No. 14 ‘Moonlight’: I. Adagio sostenuto

7 Violin Concerto in D major: III. Rondo

8 Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’: III. Scherzo

CD2

9 Piano Sonata No. 8 ‘Pathétique’: II. Adagio cantabile

10 Piano Concerto No. 4: II. Andante con moto

11 Triple Concerto: III. Rondo alla Polacca

12 Piano Sonata No. 23 ‘Appassionata’: I. Allegro assai

13 Egmont Overture

14 Für Elise

15 Missa Solemnis: I. Kyrie

16 Piano Sonata No. 21 ‘Waldstein’: I. Allegro con brio

17 Piano Concerto No. 3: III. Rondo

18 Choral Fantasy: Excerpt

CD3

19 Piano Trio No. 7 ‘Archduke’: II. Scherzo

20 Fidelio: Prisoners’ Chorus

21 Violin Sonata No. 5 ‘Spring’: IV. Rondo

22 Violin Sonata No. 9 ‘Kreutzer’: III. Finale

23 Symphony No. 8: I. Allegro vivace e con brio

24 Violin Romance No. 2

25 String Quartet No. 15: III. Heiliger Dankgesang: Excerpt

26 Symphony No. 4: III. Allegro vivace

27 Piano Concerto No. 1: III. Rondo

28 String Quartet No. 13: V. Cavatina

29 Mass in C major: I. Kyrie

CD4

30 Coriolan Overture

31 String Quartet No. 14: I. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo

32 Piano Sonata No. 17 ‘The Tempest’: III. Allegretto

33 Piano Sonata No. 15 ‘Pastoral’: IV. Rondo

34 Piano Concerto No. 2: III. Rondo

35 Piano Sonata No. 29 ‘Hammerklavier’: I. Allegro

36 Symphony No.1: III. Menuetto

37 Rondo a capriccio ‘Rage over a Lost Penny’

38 Violin Romance No. 1

39 Wellington’s Victory: II. Victory Symphony

40 Piano Sonata No. 32: I. Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato

CD5

41 Leonore Overture No. 3

42 Große Fuge

43 Violin Concerto in C major (Fragment)

44 Symphony No. 2: III. Scherzo

45 Cello Sonata No. 3: II. Scherzo

46 String Quartet No. 16: II. Vivace

47 The Ruins of Athens: Turkish March

48 String Quartet No. 7 ‘Rasumovsky No. 1’: IV. Thème russe

49 Septet: III. Tempo di Menuetto

50 Piano Trio No. 5 ‘Ghost’: I. Allegro vivace e con brio

51 Cello Sonata No. 2: I. Adagio sostenuto ed espressivo

52 Piano Sonata No. 31: I. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo

53 String Quartet No. 9 ‘Rasumovsky No. 3’: IV. Allegro molto

CD6

54 The Creatures of Prometheus Overture

55 Piano Sonata No. 26 ‘Les Adieux’: I. Das Lebewohl

56 Diabelli Variations: Excerpts

57 Piano Sonata No. 30: I. Vivace, ma non troppo – Adagio espressivo

58 String Quartet No. 8 ‘Razumovsky No. 2’: IV. Finale

59 Oboe Concerto (Fragment: Largo)

60 Octet: IV. Finale

61 String Quartet No. 12: I. Maestoso – Allegro

62 Rondo for Piano and Orchestra

63 Horn Sonata: III. Rondo

64 Mandolin Sonatina in C major

65 Fantasia in G minor

66 Mandolin Adagio

67 String Quartet No. 10 ‘Harp’: IV. Allegretto con variazioni

CD7

68 Leonore Overture No. 2

69 Leonore Overture No. 1

70 An die ferne Geliebte: VI. Nimm die hin denn, diese Lieder

71 Piano Sonata No. 12: III. Funeral March

72 Cello Sonata No. 1: III. Allegro vivace

73 Christ on the Mount of Olives: Wir haben ihn gesehen

74 Romance Cantabile (Fragment)

75 String Quartet No. 2: IV. Allegro molto quasi presto

76 Adelaide

77 Wind Quintet: III. Minuetto

78 Piano Sonata No. 1: III. Menuetto

79 String Quartet No. 11 ‘Serioso’: IV. Larghetto espressivo – Allegretto agitato

80 Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola: V. Allegro scherzando e vivace

81 Andante and Variations for Mandolin

82 Organ Fugue

CD8

83 Trio for Two Oboes and Cor Anglais: III. Menuetto

84 German Dances, WoO 8: No. 1 in C major

85 Andante favori

86 Cello Sonata No. 4: I. Andante

87 Quintet for Piano and Winds: III. Rondo

88 String Quartet No. 4: III. Menuetto

89 Sonata for Piano Four Hands: I. Allegro molto

90 Cello Sonata No. 5: III. Allegro fugato

91 Piano Sonata No. 18 ‘The Hunt’: III. Menuetto

92 Piano Sonata No. 5: III. Finale

93 Piano Trio No. 4 ‘Gassenhauer’: II. Adagio

94 String Quartet No. 6: III. Scherzo

95 Piano Concerto No. 0: III. Rondo allegretto

96 Piano Sonata No. 13: II. Allegro molto e vivace

97 Flute Duo: I. Allegro

98 See the Conqu’ring Hero Comes: Variation No. 12

99 Wind Sextet: III. Menuetto quasi allegretto

100 Ah! perfido

Release
Multi Award Winning Country Music Artist Adam Brand is back with his new album, Speed Of Life.  Already labelled by critics as “his best and most positive work yet”.Produced by Luke Wooten (Dierks Bentley & Brad Paisley), the new studio album succinctly reassures fans that Adam is in a good place in life, following his record breaking “Milestones” tour in 2018 and the birth of his first child, a baby girl, last year. A relaxed Brand sings of life, love and laughter on Speed of Life.“The whole experience of making this album was a vastly different experience to all the other albums I’ve done in the last 20 years. It was a calm and stress free process and I put that down to the place in life I’m at. I felt no pressure in putting this album together… no urgency to find that big hit song… to be honest I let my heart guide me this time, and my heart was full of the wonderful notion of my baby girl who was about to be born. I whole heartedly believe she gave me that calmness and clarity in knowing what I wanted to sing about this time around." Says Adam.The new single ‘Fly’ is also released today and is a song that Adam describes as a prayer you want to give someone you love. The video was shot in the Nashville studio of Grammy Award winner producer Luke Wooten while Adam was there recording the song, as well as in Australia. A stellar career that shows no signs of slowing down with Adam nominated for multiple ARIA Awards, win 12 Golden Guitars, sell over half a million CDs & DVDs, as well as earn 3 x Platinum &  5 x Gold albums.Adam is scheduled to perform on CMC Rocks next week and Big Country Festival in May.Speed of Life is an example of how Brand continues to deliver as one of the modern giants of Australian Country Music. It seems that life really has been good to Adam Brand.Tracklisting:1. Speed of Life2. Life’s Been Good To Me3. Fly4. Messin’ Up A Good Thing5. Freakin’ Weekend6. Just A Love Song7. Baby I Miss You8. You Are Not Alone9. Don’t Wanna Let You Down10. Time Of Our Lives
Release
Iconic Australian band Custard makes a welcome return in 2020 with their eighth studio album, ‘Respect All Lifeforms’, set for release on Friday May 22 via ABC Music. The album kicks off with lead single, the irresistible nationwide lockdown hit, ‘Funky Again’ - a catchy pop offering that mentions the Russian winter of Operation Barbarossa AND home renovations in one convenient 3-minute package.The accompanying video, directed by long-time Custard collaborator, ARIA Award winning Andrew Lancaster, skillfully combines the band’s three true loves - Jacobean architecture, social distancing, and late 70s New York funk.Custard circa 2020 features the classic line-up of David McCormack, Glenn Thompson, Paul Medew and Matthew Strong. Originally formed in Brisbane in 1990, Custard released a series of classic guitar pop albums over the next decade, including Wisenheimer, We Have the Technology and Loverama. The band developed a cult following, touring extensively across Australia and abroad, as well as producing a parade of unforgettable singles, including ‘Apartment’ and ‘Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us)’.After disbanding at the end of the 1990’s, the band returned in 2015 with new album Come Back All Is Forgiven, which was followed by 2017’s The Common Touch.In more recent times, frontman David McCormack has found a new legion of fans as the voice of Dad ‘Bandit’ in the smash hit ABC Kids series Bluey, which has quickly become the most watched program in iView history, with 21.3 million views to date.‘Respect All Lifeforms’ Track list:1. Couple’s Fight2. Funky Again3. Harlequin Records4. A Cat Called No5. Wishing6. Take the Skinheads Bowling7. The Min Min Lights8. Talkative Town9. Like People10. Watcha Waiting For11. Come Tuesday
Release
For her 20th studio album, Katie Noonan takes listeners back to where it all began – the iconic pop songs of the 1980s that first ignited her passion for music.From pooling pocket money with her brother to buy the first Crowded House album, to having her mind blown by the incredible video clips of a-ha and 1927, to dancing around in stonewash denim singing Whitney Houston, Billy Joel and Cyndi Lauper songs into a hairbrush mike, these are the singers and the songs that inspired her to pursue a career in music – a career that has seen her named one of the greatest Australian singers of all time by the Herald Sun, with five ARIA Awards from 25 nominations across a number of diverse genres.On this album Katie is joined by four of the finest jazz musicians in Australia – Zac Hurren (saxophones), Sam Keevers (piano), Phil Stack (double bass) and Evan Mannell (drums) – all fellow babies of the 1970s who grew up with this music as their earliest influences.They put new jazz spins on these classic tunes that reveal just how good the songwriting was, despite the occasional daggy synth effect or over-the-top production. Terence Trent D'Arby’s smash hit ‘Sign Your Name’ is reimagined as a sultry late-night groove, while Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ is transformed into a piano ballad that exposes the heartache and longing at the core of what has long been a party-starter.‘Electric Blue’ by Icehouse is given an irresistible cha cha makeover, while ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ and ‘True Colors’ are stripped right back to their bare bones, with Katie’s extraordinary voice taking centre-stage and delivering performances of these songs as raw and moving as you have ever heard them.This is a joyous and heartfelt album, full of surprising and delightful takes on beloved classics. It’s an album for that small part of us that is forever leaping around our bedrooms, singing along to the radio, and gazing adoringly at the posters of pop stars on our walls – even if nowadays that’s a more accurate description of our children than ourselves!TRACKLISTING 1 Don’t Dream It’s Over2 Blue3 If I Could4 Just The Way You Are5 True Colors6 Electric Blue7 I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)8 When Tomorrow Comes9 Russians10 Sign Your Name11 Take On Me12 Running To Stand Still Katie Noonan: VoiceZac Hurren: Tenor and soprano saxophonesSam Keevers: PianoPhil Stack: Double bassEvan Mannell: Drums, cymbals and percussion
Release
ABC Jazz is thrilled to announce the re-release of Lush Life: A Tribute to Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn by The George Golla Orchestra, timed to celebrate George’s 85th birthday in May 2020. One of the iconic records in the history of Australian jazz, Lush Life has been unavailable in any format for a number of years.Lush Life holds a significant place in Australian music history as the winner of Best Jazz Album at the inaugural ARIA Awards in 1987, and features a Who’s Who of performers including John Hoffman on flugelhorn, Craig Scott on bass, Len Barnard on drums, James Morrison on trombone and George himself on guitar, and produced by the great Cleon Dennis.Lush Life is a tribute to the extraordinary professional and personal relationship between two greats of American jazz – Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Their creative partnership lasted 25 years, and led to an enormous catalogue of works that have become cornerstones of the genre, including ‘Don’t Get Around Much Any More’, ‘Take The A Train’, ‘Mood Indigo’ and ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)’, all of which feature here.In the original liner notes for the album, George writes, ‘One nice thing about reaching maturity is the knowledge that one has accumulated a vast backlog of experience, both pleasant and otherwise. In the garden marked ‘pleasant’ lies a bed of wonderful music heard and experienced down the years, a great proportion of which was created by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, two long-term collaborators of magical ability in the idioms of jazz. When long-time friend and producer Cleon Dennis suggested I record some of their best tunes, I was naturally overjoyed as I’d spend years playing much of the material in various settings. I felt comfortable and sure that I could do justice to the spirit (as much as I perceived of it) of the Duke and Billy. They were men who lived their full lives in urban society, sophisticated yet warm, full of humour and wit. Their music is a perfect vehicle for the gentle side of jazz.’We hope you enjoy getting to know this gorgeous record all over again.
Release
‘This is your one chance. You have your secret dreams. Follow them! Make them come true!’Using words and music, The Peasant Prince tells the inspiring story of Li Cunxin, better known as ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’: his childhood and his journey to become one of the world’s greatest ballet dancers.With music by composer Katy Abbott setting the scene, Li tells his life’s story in eight episodes over half an hour - from his humble beginnings in rural China to his triumphs as principal ballet dancer of the Houston Ballet. It is a story that will inspire the young and the young-at-heart, with reflections on a family living in hardship, inspiring teachers, and the joy of finding that one thing that you love most in the world.Based on Li’s best-selling memoir Mao’s Last Dancer and children’s book The Peasant Prince, this is a heart-warming tale for anyone who ever dared to dream.The Peasant Prince is being released in three different versions. A CD, which contains two versions of the work – one narrated in English and one narrated in Chinese. And the English and Chinese versions are being released individually on digital and streaming platforms.TRACKLISTINGEnglish version/Mandarin version1 Introduction 9 序章 (Introduction)2 Kite Themes –Hopes and Wishes 10 风筝——希望与心愿 (Kite Themes – Hopes and Wishes)3 Frog in the Well 11 井里的蛙 (Frog in the Well)4 Home and School 12 家里,学校 (Home and School)5 Leaving Home, Arriving Beijing 13 离家到北京 (Leaving Home, Arriving Beijing)6 By the Light of a Single Candle 14 烛光之中 (By the Light of a Single Candle)7 USA 15 美国 (USA)8 Dance of My Life 16 一生最重要的舞蹈 (Dance of My Life)
Release
Strong Cotton Socks is a trio made up of James Macaulay on trombone, Flora Carbo on winds, and Merinda Dias-Jayasinha on vocals.The band came together quite spontaneously and collaboratively. Inspired by Dias-Jayasinha’s performance at a late-night jam session at the Jazzlab following the Melbourne Jazz Festival, Macaulay sent her a sketch for a chorale. The following day Dias-Jayasinha responded with lyrics for it, prompting them to organise a jam and inviting mutual friend, Flora Carbo, along. It worked so well that Strong Cotton Socks was born, making their debut at the Jazzlab in early 2019.Playing arrangements of original repertoire, Strong Cotton Socks collaborate to bring words and music together in a chamber-like setting with space to breathe, pause and to improvise. From through-composed arrangements of songs and shorter set pieces, to longer works featuring more improvisation, everyone contributed arrangements in a very natural, collaborative process.TRACKLISTING1. Transposed 1’422. Sleep Through 3’003. Falling Towards You: I 3’244. Falling Towards You: II 1’485. Falling Towards You: III 3’416. Lately 4’037. Dreams of Tokyo 7’218. Stroop 4’449. Flowers Away 2’3610. Flordrey 3’06Strong Cotton SocksJames Macauley – tromboneFlora Carbo – saxophoneMerinda Dias-Jayasinha – vocals
Release
ABC Jazz is excited to announce the release of To Iceland, To Iceland!, the new album by Antelodic.Antelodic is an instrumental chamber jazz trio featuring the unusual combination of guitar with two saxophones. The woodwinds - Gideon Brazil (tenor saxophone) and Monty Mackenzie (alto saxophone) - often perform the role of rhythm section, allowing the guitar (Robbie Melville, winner of the Instrumental Category of the 2018 International Songwriting Competition) to become the melodic voice.Formed in 2012, the trio have developed a highly nuanced approach to their creative practice that allows them to experiment in the moment while maintaining a unified ensemble sound. The music combines meticulously arranged, densely notated compositions with moments of improvisation and sound sculpting, reaching beyond the traditions of both classical and jazz to create a style very much of its own.Individually, the musicians have worked with artists as diverse as Gotye, Krystle Warren, Shane Howard, Vince Jones, Orchestra Victoria, Tim Rogers and Stephen Magnusson, and collectively they have worked for over 17 years in Melville’s band cleverhorse. Antelodic performed at the 2018 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues, Inverloch Jazz Festival, throughout regional Victoria and has recently returned from performances in the UK.Following on from their debut album Quiet Sufficient in 2017, the trio headed into ABC Melbourne’s Studio 345 in the closing weeks of 2018 to record To Iceland! To Iceland!. A considered, mature,honest and deeply personal collection of Melville’s compositions, To Iceland! To Iceland! celebrates life, and honours those we have lost along the way.“There was a great deal of synchronicity involved in the development of this album,” says Melville. “On the day I wrote the track To Iceland!, I went to the music shop I worked in and heard some music playing over the stereo system. It was a haunting, slow choral piece, and caught my ear straight away. It turned out to be an Icelandic hymn called Heyr Himna Smiður. I found it so moving that I instantly decided to arrange it for Antelodic. When I returned home later, my wife opened the door holding a book of the Icelandic Sagas which she had just bought for me that day, thinking I might find them interesting. I couldn’t ignore all of those signs.“As I composed the rest of the album, I imagined sailing to Iceland across the seas, framed as a metaphorical journey – impossibly arduous, boundless and unending. We have spent so much time in Antelodic striving for better performances, better arrangements, a deeper connection with each other and with audiences. We never get to a point where we’re completely satisfied, but that’s positive. It means we’re still learning, improving and searching, still on the journey.”Several pieces on the album, including the title track, are anagrams of the trio’s name. The album’s opening anthem, No Dialect, and two other short pieces, No Citadel and No Idle Act are three distinct arrangements of the same song. The Last Word and Dog Days were written to honour the memory of Melville’s friend Michael Dragwidge, who died suddenly at the end of 2017.The joyful Djamba Germaine uses several overdubs to augment the usual sound of the trio, adding electric guitars and baritone saxophone. Sombrero Fallout is an ethereal piece inspired by a Richard Brautigan novel, constantly shifting between major and minor harmony.On To Iceland! Melville swaps the classical guitar for a high-tuned steel string, resulting in some surprising voicings. Heyr Himna Smiður makes use of an electric baritone guitar to create a darker texture, while the woodwinds mimic the vocal phrases of the hymn’s lyrics, written by warrior chieftain Kolbeinn Tumason on his deathbed in 1208.Tango in Pusan was written on a balcony in South Korea, drunk on gin one summer afternoon, and features the playful group interaction that is more prevalent in their recent live shows. Gone is a gentle memorial to Melville’s grandmother. The pensive mood of Blue Tongue Bend, 1988 is a nostalgic look back at Melville’s youth. TRACKLISTING 1. No Dialect 2’012. The Last Word 6’213. Djamba Germaine 4’504. Sombrero Fallout 4’265. To Iceland 1’246. Heyr Himna Smiður 5’557. Tango In Pusan 4’238. Dog Days 6’029. Gone 4’0010. No Citadel 2’0111. Blue Tongue Bend, 1988 5’2812. No Idle Act 0’59Robbie Melville guitarsGideon Brazil tenor & baritone saxophoneMonty Mackenzie alto saxophone
Release
Omega Ensemble are one of Australia’s top chamber music ensembles, champions of new works but also enthusiastic interpreters of the legends of the past.  They also have a rich history with ABC Classic, regularly invited into the studio for radio broadcasts in addition to having released three critically acclaimed albums since 2016.  So when their 2020 concert season was cancelled due to COVID, ABC Classic dove into our archives to revive those studio recordings, never before released to the public. Thus, the Master Series was born.  This series of digital releases takes listeners on a journey through the rich history of chamber music, exploring landmark works by Mozart, Beethoven, Faure, Nielsen and Hindemith.  Released fortnightly from May 29, these recordings will go some way to keeping audiences in touch with the wonderful musicians of the Omega Ensemble – until the next time we can see them in the concert hall.  Omega Ensemble Master Series: Beethoven: Quintet in E-flat major for Piano and Winds, Op. 16 – released May 29Hindemith: Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24 No. 2 – released June 12Nielsen: Wind Quintet, Op. 43 – released June 26Fauré: Piano Trio, Op. 120 – released July 10Mozart: Kegelstatt Trio, K. 498 – released July 24
Release
Sydney’s Ensemble Offspring celebrate their 25th anniversary with a new album of contemporary Australian music that celebrates birds – nature’s own composers.“Ensemble Offspring’s birdsong program…takes on a particular poignancy in the context of recent fires.” 4 stars The Sydney Morning HeraldABC Classic is thrilled to announce Ensemble Offspring’s new album, Songbirds, a surprising and beguiling collection of chamber works for flute, clarinet and vibraphone inspired by butcherbirds, blackbirds, lorikeets and leafcutter ants, frogs and flamingos. Originally intended to accompany the ensemble’s 25th birthday concert tour, Birdsong at Dusk, the album is being released to celebrate both this major milestone and the creativity and endurance of the ensemble even in the face of a global pandemic.With a little help from nine Australian composers, Claire Edwardes (percussion), Jason Noble (clarinet/bass clarinet) and Lamorna Nightingale (flutes) capture the calls and songs of Australia’s birds and create something new: familiar, yes, but unique and engaging and exciting too.Throughout their rich history Ensemble Offspring have been an extraordinary force in Australian music: bold, risk-taking and tireless advocates of work by living composers – championing female and First Nations Australian artists in particular – and have fostered the creation of over three hundred works of new music. So it is no surprise that seven of these nine pieces were written by some of Australia’s leading composers especially for the musicians of the ensemble.After many seasons spent listening and recording in Central Australia, Hollis Taylor brings us the song of the pied butcher bird in Bitter Springs Creek 2014, while Kate Moore takes the liquid melodies of the European blackbird and intertwines alto flute, bass clarinet and vibraphone in an intricate counterpoint. Fiona Loader’s Lorikeet Corroboree is an upbeat, punchy work which weaves the crazy chatter of Australia’s rainbow lorikeets in with some older, ground-dwelling composers, with fragments from Papageno’s magic flute, Vaughan Williams’ the Lark Ascending and the scintillating sound world of Messiaen. Meanwhile Gerard Brophy makes flamingos dance and humming birds buzz in his brand new 3 movement tour-de-force Beautiful Birds.Sydney based Ensemble Offspring are Australia’s musical mavericks, championing living new music in all its forms. A group of Australia’s most innovative and virtuosic instrumentalists led by acclaimed percussionist, Claire Edwardes, the group celebrates living composers and creates musical experiences that stimulate the senses and pique curiosity. Nominated for an ARIA Award for their ABC album and podcast Classic Kids: Music For The Dreaming, winners of the 2019 SidneyMyer Performing Arts Group Award and the 2016 APRA Award for Excellence by an Organisation and touring widely around Australia and internationally, they are one of Australia’s most exciting and unique ensembles. TRACKLISTING1. FIONA LOADER Lorikeet Corroboree2. HOLLIS TAYLOR / JON ROSE Owens Springs Reserve 20143. BRETT DEAN Notes from the Twittersphere4. JANE STANLEY Desert Rose (from Four Desert Flowers)5. FELICITY WILCOX People of this Place6. TRISTAN COELHO DaybreakGERARD BROPHY Beautiful Birds7. I. Lyrebirds8. II. Flamingos9. III. Hummingbirds10. HOLLIS TAYLOR / JON ROSE Bitter Springs Creek 201411. KATE MOORE Blackbird Song
Release
The Australian Chamber Orchestra announces a new series of digital releases - ACO ORIGINALS – featuring four world premiere recordings of works commissioned by the orchestra in recent years.The Australian Chamber Orchestra are known throughout the world for their thrilling and exciting performances of traditional classical repertoire, taking a fresh approach to the old masters like Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. At the same time the orchestra have been fearless champions of new music and living composers, commissioning new works that push the boundaries of how an orchestra can and should sound.Four of these commissions from recent years are now receiving their world premiere releases in the ACO ORIGINALS series, with new music to be released fortnightly beginning Friday, May 29.The four works chosen – by Samuel Adams, Missy Mazzoli, Olli Mustonen and Brett Dean – showcase the orchestra at their very best and celebrate the sound and personality that the orchestra has developed over the decades since their establishment.Samuel Adams strived to write something deeply expressive for the musicians to play. “What strikes me about the ACO is the personality of the ensemble,” he says. “They have a wonderful profile when they come on stage. So much of this piece is about exploring interpersonal dynamics. I would be happy if an audience member leaves the concert feeling like they understand something, that they didn’t previously, of the personality of the ensemble.”Missy Mazzoli’s piece, Dark with Excessive Bright, was commissioned by Principal Bass Maxime Bibeau in celebration of his 20th year with the orchestra. “I was inspired in no small part by Maxime’s double bass, a massive instrument built in 1580 that was stored in an Italian monastery for hundreds of years and even patched with pages from the Good Friday liturgy’, says Mazzoli. ‘I imagined this instrument as a historian, an object that collected the music of the passing centuries in the twists of its neck and the fibres of its wood, finally emerging into the light at age 400 and singing it all into the world.’Olli Mustonen’s Sonata for Cello and Chamber Orchestra was originally composed for cello and piano and dedicated to the great Heinrich Schiff, with this version or chamber orchestra receiving its world premiere in September 2015. Mustonen believes that music should be a spiritual quest, a search for something beyond oneself. ‘Even a good concert can leave you untouched,’ he comments. ‘To become memorable, I feel it should strive for an experience of transformation, the feeling that you have been taken to another world.’Brett Dean’s Electric Preludes takes inspiration from sources as diverse as the paintings of Australian artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, a rusty, squeaky swing in an abandoned playground and the paintings of Dean’s wife, Heather Betts, with whom he has shared a llong and rich personal and creative partnership. “But the most striking image that fired my fantasy throughout the entire compositional process,” says Dean, “Was that of Richard standing with the ACO, his exotic electric fiddle under his chin, taking mere breaths of sound and embryonic motivic shapes and transforming them, with the help of this impressive piece of electronics and sound designer Bob Scott at the mixing desk, filling the hall and enticing the orchestra’s manifold responses.”Recorded live in concert during their premiere seasons, this series of four recordings captures the electrifying energy of this remarkable orchestra. In 2020, as the orchestra celebrates 30 years of fearless leadership with ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti, it is fitting that these visionary works are available to listeners worldwide.Since its establishment in November 1975, the Australian Chamber Orchestra has become one of the world’s most daring and exciting ensembles, renowned globally for its inspired programming, unrivalled virtuosity, energy and individuality, showcased through an extensive and ongoing program of international touring and recordings for many of the world’s top labels.“The Australian Chamber Orchestra is uniformly high-octane, arresting and never ordinary.” The Australian