As one of Les Six, Poulenc was acutely aware of modern trends. His mélodies (French Art Songs) set poets like Apollinaire, Éluard and Aragon; the voices of 20th-century French feeling. This charming collection reveals Poulenc as a master craftsman for the voice, affirming his position as heir to the French Art Song tradition, after Fauré and Debussy. His melodic lines are gracefully uncomplicated, and feature a delicate lyricism with a popular edge. Belgian soprano Sophie Karthäuser is the charismatic chanteuse whose voice fills this parlour of musical delights. Her performance pedigree is impressive: she has sung Classical and Baroque roles under conductors such as Chailly, Gardiner and Christie. Her voice is sumptuous on this disc, gliding effortlessly through Poulenc’s long, sensuous phrases with a casual elegance. It is never overdone, and features all the nuance and variation of colour required in a diverse set of songs. She inhabits the character of each poem, employing theatrical touches and vocal shading to convey the narrative of each. Poulenc’s music is quintessentially French, and embraces a more contemporary world than some. Works like Voyage à Paris are fit for the dreamy atmosphere of the cafés and salons of 20th-century Paris. Others have a…
Andrew Aronowicz is mostly a composer, but sometimes writes words. He has had performances with the Tasmanian and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, and was a 2013 Australian Youth Orchestra Fellow, which is how he met the lovely people (his words) at Limelight.
Articles by Andrew Aronowicz
Mark-Anthony Turnage is one of the UK’s biggest names in contemporary music, known for thinking outside the classical box. He’s not averse to crossing genres (he did study with American jazz great Gunther Shuller), and is pretty up-to-date as far as opera’s concerned (his most recent told the lifestory of Anna Nicole Smith). The music here is Turnage’s foray into the world of dance. Undance (2011) was a collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor, and finds its creative origins in a concept artwork by Mark Wallinger. Opposing verbs like dig/twist, jump/hammer, spill/throw, form the basis of each section. Turnage’s music ranges from jaunty, jazz-like band music with an almost Stravinskian sonority to soft, melancholic strings. Crying Out Loud (2002-2003) was originally composed for Ensemble Modern and used in Heinz Spoerli’s Peer Gynt ballet. Much of the music bears traces of jazz and other non-classical traditions. Turnage’s rhythmic language has a perky groove and is relentlessly unstable, conjuring images of jerking dancers all akimbo. The members of the Rambert Orchestra manage the transparent writing with assurance, and become a discrete jazz combo in the final work, No Let Up (2003), with flute, soprano saxophones, bass clarinets and brass. The sound world of…
The story of an Indigenous hero is about to become an epic choral work by Paul Stanhope. Continue reading Get unlimited digital access from $3 per month Subscribe Already a subscriber? Log in
When the war came, Szymanowski wanted to get away from German influences. The answer lay in the music of France and the dreamy harmonic language of Debussy and Ravel. How fitting, then, that this disc of largely wartime works is performed by a Frenchman. Cédric Tiberghien treats the impressive colouristic range of this music with great sensitivity and deftness of touch. The Opus 33 Études are short, whimsical splashes of inspiration carried effortlessly by Tiberghien’s agile playing. The performance is expertly nuanced, and captures the quicksilver transience of the music. You could call this music flagrant fantasy, and Szymanowski was nothing if not a dreamer. Following trips to Italy, Sicily and North Africa, the Polish composer developed a fascination with exotic locales that demanded expression. The Masques and Métopes, written between 1915 and 1916, draw on characters and stories from the mythic traditions of Greece, Northern Europe and the Middle East. Tiberghien’s take on the Métopes are particularly expressive. Calypso is like magic. The vibrant wash is overkill at times, making the four Études of 1902 a welcome sojourn. Bridging the Masques and Métopes, the Op. 4 Études bear an affinity with the language of Scriabin, and reveal a younger…
Viola virtuoso gives the violin a run for its money in this masterful recital.
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