Kate Rockstrom

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Kate Rockstrom is a Classical Music Specialist. She regularly performs as a flautist as well as writing about music and books.

Reviews

John Adams: The Gospel According to the Other Mary

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

We’re in the season of Easter and although the shelves are groaning under the weight of chocolate, Passions are also filling the shelves, particularly Bach’s famous St Matthew and St John Passions. J…

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J.S. Bach: St John Passion by Richard Egarr & Academy of Ancient Music

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Everyone knows the St Matthew Passion by Bach; despite whether or not you know the name, there is a high likelihood you will have heard parts of it here and there. Though what is often forgotten is t…

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Mozart Arias by Emma Matthews

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

In 2009 Australian soprano Emma Matthews released an album simply titled Emma Matthews in Monte Carlo. It was a roaring success so I was excited to hear she was releasing a new recording. Featuring a…

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Destino Mexicano by La Compañia

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

In 2012, the Melbourne-based Baroque group La Compañia released their album, Ay Portugal. An homage to fifteenth-century Portuguese music, it was a triumph – and I still enjoy listening to it. So it …

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Romantic Piano Trios by Trio Anima Mundi

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

This is Trio Anima Mundi’s debut recording and what is fabulous about it – aside from the strong performances of each work – is that there is no Beethoven or Brahms in sight on an album titled Romant

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Dvorak Cello Concertos

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

The Dvořák Cello Concerto in B Minor is well-known, both to cellists and concert goers alike. A work of surpassing beauty and Dvořák’s signature melodies, it was originally supposed to be premiered b…

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A World Of Other People by Steven Carroll

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Strong and reserved, Iris is a woman living in the middle of the London Blitz. She’s good at her job, but passionless about almost everything around her. Feeling useless in the war effort, she volunt…

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Mozart: Piano Concertos 19 & 23, Brautigam

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Sometimes I forget why Mozart has endeared himself to so many generations of musicians and music lovers alike. I quickly become tired of his perkiness and, in today’s musical world, his pedestrianism…

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Nielsen: Symphonies 2 & 3, LSO

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

I don’t know why Nielsen is not a more popular composer around here. Lush and romantic in style, but interesting with twentieth century harmonic ideas, his Symphonies are truly gorgeous. Continuing i…

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Zarebski: Piano Quintet, Quartet, Plowright

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

This recording from two obscure Polish composers is another first for the Hyperion label. Both works are excellent examples of chamber music from the Romantic period and wouldn’t be out of place besi…

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Y by Marjorie Celona

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Stories of adopted and foster-care children are some of the hardest to read, and the better the writing, the more difficult I find it to persevere. On occasions, I had to stop reading Celona’s book a…

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Prokofiev, Janine Jansen

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

There is something immensely satisfying about Prokofiev Violin repertoire. With a luscious sounds from the violin and alternatively heavy and light orchestrations this is music that is always delight…

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Rachmaninov, Li-Wei Quinn

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Chinese born, Australian raised cellist Li-Wei Quin is a very popular musician round these parts. Coupled with Albert Tiu they have recorded a sweet collection of works for cello and piano by Rachman…

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Nouveau Monde, Petibon

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Patricia Petibon is quite the versatile performer. The last time I was reviewing her was in a production of Berg’s Lulu. This could not be further from that. This collection of Baroque arias explores…

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Cello Romances

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

For people who are devoted fans of the cello, this is not the recording for you. However for those you who have heard a cello only a couple of times and thought you just might like it, this two disc …

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Handel: Deidamia DVD

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Handel Operas are very popular for not only DVD releases but also reworkings into unusual and modernistic retellings. This is just one of those productions. Unusual set designs with weird costumes th…

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Rossini: Moses in Eygpt DVD

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

This production of Rossini’s tragic sacred drama, Moses in Eygpt created a lot of uneasy waves when people saw the parallels the Director and designer, Graham Vick had drawn between today’s political…

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Brahms & Schumann, Lisa Batiashvili

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Batiashvili’s previous release was one of our best sellers in 2011 and it was with great excitement I listened to her recording of the Brahms Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and the Three Romances …

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Beethoven: Violin Sonatas, Leonidas Kavakos

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

It is a brave musician who decides to do a complete recording of a composer, especially one that can be as fraught with difficulty as Beethoven. Leonidas Kavakos with Enrice Pace have done just that,…

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300, Ingolf Wunder

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

The first thing I thought when I saw the repertoire on this recording was that it’s really quite weird. This is a seriously odd selection of repertoire, there is no doubting that Wunder is a very goo…

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Adagios by Karajan

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

There is something truly heart rendering about the works simply titled ‘Adagio’. If you’ve ever heard the Death of Ase by Grieg and not been moved, then you need to hear it done by Karajan. There is …

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Bach, Nathalie Stutzmann

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

I have waxed lyrical about Nathalie Stutzmann and her many talents a number of times before so when her latest recording landed upon my desk I was thrilled to listen to it. Although slightly disappoi…

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Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

The problem with books like these is that they end. At some point you must come to the end of the book and be kept on tenterhooks until the next instalment. If you’ve read the first book in this seri…

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Gershwin & Me, Simon Tedeschi

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Simon Tedeschi is well known around these parts as a consummate pianist who is not only considered one of our best musicians around, but also presents likeable and accessible music. This new recordin…

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Shostakovich: Symphonies 1-3, Wigglesworth

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Who doesn’t love a good Shostakovich Symphony? There are not many orchestral musicians who don’t adore the exciting and virtuosic fifteen symphonies that he wrote. Mark Wigglesworth is one of those r…

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Two Brothers by Ben Elton

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Ben Elton is better known for his comedy writing or, more recently, his musicals, but here he goes out of what might be considered his comfort zone and writes a tragic yet beautifully poignant tale o…

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The Happiness Show by Catherine Deveny

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Life is a funny thing. The people we meet, the connections we make and then the connections we lose.

I have always loved Catherine Deveny’s writing style and having a whole book of it makes me feel …

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Dvorak: Silent Woods

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

I don’t know whether or not you’ve heard Dvorak’s works for cello and piano before, but I think that this sonority is almost unmatched by anything else. The spiralling upwards of the tunes and richne…

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Stephen Hough’s French Piano Album

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

There is something quite whimsical about Stephen Hough’s interpretation of some of the best loved French piano works. Although there are some rather odd inclusions in this album of French music, incl…

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Steve Reich, Drumming

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

There is something primal and exciting about Steve Reich’s music. Drumming is one of his most famous works and in this re-release as part of a new series with Deutsche Grammophon featuring music from…

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News

Classical Music for Winter

by Kate Rockstrom

The weather is closing over and it’s getting darker earlier each day putting me in the mood for blankets, books and tea – and warming music. Here are my favourite picks to help chase away the winter blues.

Orchestral: Stravinsky: Le sacre du printemps

It’s been 100 years since there was a near-riot in Paris at the opening of Diaghilev’s ‘Ballets Russes Rite of Spring’. With a groundbreaking…

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Classical Composers You Might Not Have Heard Of

by Kate Rockstrom

There are more composers out in the world aside from the usual Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. The only problem is where to start with the plethora of music available.

I have a number of my favourite less-known composers I’d love to introduce you to today.

Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) was a Czech composer.

While his style was deeply entrenched in the Romantic style of composition (think big sym…

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Classical Musicians Visiting in 2013

by Kate Rockstrom

The year has well and truly started back with the usual grind and it’s about this time that we start seeing if there’s anything to look forward to in the year. We’re always really lucky in Melbourne to get a lot of visitors from overseas; some of the best performers currently in the world land on our doorstep on a regular basis.

(Meanwhile, as we wait for them to arrive their extensive recording…

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Classical Music Anniversaries 2013

by Kate Rockstrom

For the past couple of years I’ve looked forward to the new year and anniversaries of famous classical composers. This year is no different. I look forward to seeing box sets and celebrations of each of their music.

Looking back 450 years we have the celebration of the birth of English bard, John Dowland. Particularly known for his works for lute and voice, there are so many recordings already a…

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Gift Ideas for Classical Music Lovers

by Kate Rockstrom

Christmas is upon us again!

While an integral part of Christmas are the carols, Handel’s Messiah and many other classical works, there are many classical music lovers out there and you don’t have to be stuck on carols to appreciate the world of classical music at this time of year.

Here are 12 titles that caught my eye.

Jordi Savall, Hesperion XXI and Alia Vox bring out a beautiful box for e…

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Listening to Sacred Classical Music

by Kate Rockstrom

Kate Rockstrom talks about the pleasures of listening to sacred music, presenting a sample of some wonderful recordings.

Music written for the use in church services can be some of the most powerful music ever written. While most of the music written in the Western Art Music tradition is for different types of Christian services, you don’t have be a church goer to appreciate the majesty of t…

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