Music

“Maria by Callas”… New Documentary On The Legendary Opera Singer Told Her Own Words

Time magazine called her “a woman for whom the term prima donna could have been invented” and the “undisputed queen of the world’s opera”. WYSK This weekend, the life story of Maria Callas, one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century, is coming to the big screen. Maria by Callas is the first film to present the story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer, completely in her own words. Her remarkable journey through stardom is ... Read More »

Bob Dylan to launch ‘life story’ retrospective in Shanghai

Dylan’s current Mondo Scripto exhibition is a pre-cursor to fully-immersive show that melds his music and visual art with his life story Richard Cook Asia Times Bob Dylan is world famous as a musician, singer, writer and poet, as a social critic and cultural icon, and as a winner – among numerous other commendations – of a Nobel Prize in Literature. As if such a mercurial collection of talents and accolades is not enough, this modern day American Renaissance Man ... Read More »

Decoding the music masterpieces: Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas and Mélisande

Claude Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande holds a unique place in the repertoire of turn-of-the-century France. Madeline Roycroft The Conversation For his only completed opera, Debussy rejected the musical and dramatic conventions of the genre, crafting a work that is as captivating as it is perplexing. For years, Debussy had searched for the perfect text upon which to set his first opera. In 1899, he described his ideal librettist (the person who writes the words for an opera) as “a poet ... Read More »

Classical music is undergoing a revolution — and you’re probably a fan without realising it

If you catch yourself humming the opening bars to the Game of Thrones theme, or feeling unsettled by the soundtrack to The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s possible you might be a closet classical music fan without realising it. RN – By Antony Funnell for Future Tense ABC You may think classical music is dying, but it’s actually booming — and it’s throwing off the confines of the past. From film scores to television commercials and the opening of major sporting events, classical ... Read More »

Everything he does, he does it for us. Why Bryan Adams is on to something important about copyright

Last Tuesday Bryan Adams entered the copyright debate. Rebecca Giblin The Conversation That’s Bryan Adams the singer and songwriter, the composer of “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”, and “Summer of ’69”. Authors, artists and composers often have little bargaining power, and are often pressured to sign away their rights to their publisher for life. Adams appeared before a Canadian House of Commons committee to argue they should be entitled to… No control until after you are dead ... Read More »

Andy Irvine: ‘Being loved may be an important part of my psyche’

RTÉ Radio 1 is launching its inaugural Folk Music Awards, and the recipient of its first Lifetime Achievement Award is a hugely loved veteran who’s earned his stripes. Siobhan Long The Irish Times If folk music can be described as music “by, of and for folks” (to hijack a phrase), Ireland can lay claim to a remarkably sturdy inheritance. Our folk canon depends on the inventiveness of its artists to renew its lifeblood across the generations, and this is a ... Read More »

Trust Me, I’m An Expert: How augmented reality may one day make music a visual, interactive experience

You probably heard your first strains of music when you were in utero. From then on it’s helped you learn, helped you relax, hyped you up, helped you work, helped you exercise, helped you celebrate and helped you grieve. Authors: The Conversation Music is ingrained in so many aspect of our lives, but it’s also the subject of a significant body of academic work. Today’s episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert is all about research on music. We’ll be ... Read More »

Aretha Franklin: A Legacy in Music

Aretha Franklin’s voice was a pure, painful, and unforgettable expression of American history and American feeling, the collective experience of black Americans and her own life. David Remnick The New Yorker The Queen of Soul, who died Thursday morning, was the daughter of the most influential black pastor in Detroit, a charismatic, often cruel man who filled the house with musical friends—Duke Ellington, Della Reese, Nat Cole, Mahalia Jackson—and a… Aretha Franklin rarely spoke of her inner life, her crises—she was wary of ... Read More »

Ancient Greek music: now we finally know what it sounded like

In 1932, the musicologist Wilfrid Perrett reported to an audience at the Royal Musical Association in London the words of an unnamed professor of Greek with musical leanings: “Nobody has ever made head or tail of ancient Greek music, and nobody ever will. That… Armand D’Angour The Conversation Indeed, ancient Greek music has long posed a maddening enigma. Yet music was ubiquitous in classical Greece, with most of the poetry from around 750BC to 350BC – the songs of Homer, ... Read More »

Decoding the music masterpieces: Rossini’s William Tell, and its famous overture

Although it boasts one of the most famous sequences of music in existence, Gioachino Rossini’s William Tell is hardly a staple of the operatic repertoire. Madeline Roycroft The Conversation At five hours long in its original composition, and with a challengingly high male singing part, it is rarely heard in its entirety. Victorian Opera’s current production of William Tell, a three-hour abridged version, is the first in Australia in over 140 years. The opera is certainly most famous for its ... Read More »

How Shakespeare used music to tell stories

Today we fully expect film, television and theatre to use music to shape meaning. Simon Smith The Conversation The screeching violins of Psycho and the menacing Jaws theme, for instance, both depend upon a shared 20th-century dramatic language in which music indicates mood. Rewind 400 years and it may not seem like the same is true. Take Shakespearean drama. Many modern productions choose to avoid historical music altogether, preferring new compositions or pre-recorded popular songs that more obviously indicate mood ... Read More »

The best anthem for Workers’ Day? ‘Stimela’ – a tale about apartheid’s migrant labour system

What is the ultimate song to celebrate Workers’ Day? Many will suggest “The Internationale” which had its roots as a poem written in the aftermath of the Paris Commune in 1871 by Eugène Pottier, a transport worker. Andries Bezuidenhout The Conversation Set to music a few years later, it became the anthem for the wider progressive movement. It served as the Soviet Union’s anthem after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, making it more closely associated with the communist movement. But ... Read More »

How Beethoven’s ‘mistake’ became one of our most famous tunes

Without question, the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony contains one of the most famous tunes ever written. Scott Davie The Conversation Since its first performance in 1824, the “Ode to Joy” has been repurposed in endless ways, both reverential and exploitative, from performances at the Berlin Wall to its use in tawdry advertising. This final movement, which combines voices and orchestra, is based on Friedrich Schiller’s 1786 poem extolling a humanist theme of universal joy. Beethoven started sketching ideas ... Read More »

Cinema and smart phones: the art of increasing audiences for opera, ballet and theatre

Watching an opera, play or ballet has become an increasingly cinematic experience. “Livecasting” performances directly onto screens is now a major part of these kinds of production. Alan Williams The Conversation London’s Royal Opera House has an upcoming “Cinema Season” which includes live relays of Carmen and Swan Lake. In the US, the New York Metropolitan Opera House started livecasting in 2006, while the UK’s National Theatre Live began in 2009. The Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet joined ... Read More »

Bach: The Art of Fugue review – a striking, perfectly shaped performance

Accademia Bizantina/Dantone (Decca) In The Art of Fugue, “Bach plays to God and himself in an empty church”, the critic and composer Wilfrid Mellers memorably wrote. Andrew Clements The Guardian The sequence of 20 fugues and canons, grouped according to the contrapuntal devices they employ, remains one of the most enigmatic works in the history of western music, not only left unfinished at Bach’s death in 1750, with its final fugue incomplete, but also lacking any indications as to how it might be ... Read More »

Decoding the music masterpieces: Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor

Opinion Clara Schumann, the wife of the great composer Robert Schumann, wrote in her diary on May 25, 1854: Liszt sent Robert today a sonata dedicated to him and several other things with a friendly letter to me. But the things are dreadful! The Conversation By Zoltán Szabó, Sydney Conservatorium of Music ABC [Johannes] Brahms played them for me, but they made me utterly wretched … This is nothing but sheer racket — not a single healthy idea, everything confused, ... Read More »