What’s to love?’- Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and the latent lyricism of the Second Viennese School

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‘ Even now, so many decades after the composers of the Second Viennese School were active, the music of Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) and his pupils Alban Berg (1885-1935), the creator of Wozzeck, and Anton von Webern (1883-1945) is difficult for many audiences to understand and not strikingly popular. The Twelve-Tone Technique which Schoenberg invented in […]

Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel”

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When it seemed that Wagner’s music-dramas were un-toppable, his one-time assistant Engelbert Humperdinck showed that the way forward lay in going back to folk-tunes and fairytales, a world delightfully captured in Richard Sparks’ new English translation of Adelheid Wette’s libretto. But for World War I, he might have ended up in Australia. These were among […]

Bach, Aranda Way

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australian culture, Dramatizing the world's music, Music and film, Music articles, My blog, Strehlow, Words

In honour of the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir’s forthcoming concerts in Washington, and in honour of their recent film, The Song Keepers,  I re-publish this 2003 article about the premiere of Journey to Horseshoe Bend, which featured one of their predecessor organizations, the Ntaria Ladies Choir. (Please be advised that this article may contain […]

Just a Fad? – Film screenings with live orchestra

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  Have film screenings with live orchestra really been around so long?  Jon Burlingame writing in Variety in 2013[1], cites a 1987 live screening of Eisenstein and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as the ‘light bulb’ moment when Steven Linder of IMG Artists realized these could be a thing. Thirty years! Is […]

Beautiful…sad: Puccini’s La bohème

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Loretta: That was so awful. Ronny: Awful? Loretta: Beautiful… sad. She died! John Patrick Shanley Moonstruck (dir. Norman Jewison, 1987) In the 1987 film, Moonstruck, Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage) woos Loretta Castorini (Cher) by taking her to La bohème at ‘the Met’. In the Third Act, as the two principals on stage touch hands through […]

Squeezed full of life – Prokofiev’s ‘ceaseless chain of contrasted incidents’

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In Act III of Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, the Prince has found his true-love, the last of three fantastic oranges, Princess Ninetta, and saved her with a refreshing drink. ‘At last, a real fairytale with tunes that we can hum’ sing the commentators, the ‘Lyrics’, in Tom Stoppard’s translation of Prokofiev’s libretto. Except that […]