Kate Rockstrom

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Kate Rockstrom regularly reviews classical music for Readings. She also performs as a flautist, as well as writing about music and books.

Reviews

Echoes of Life by Alice Sara Ott

The past will always echo through the years, affecting the future in ways that are surprising and often far reaching. Would Chopin have guessed that in the year 2021 we would still be playing and rev…

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First Light: Muhly & Glass by Pekka Kuusisto & Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

This recording felt like a musical representation of the last 18 months. From a world premiere recording to a piece that was recorded on separate continents, it’s a miracle that this album ever came …

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The British Project by City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

I always like being honest in my reviews and to be frank, this is an odd duck of a recording: the glories of Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, paired with the almost unknown arr…

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Ravel & Saint-Saëns: Piano Trios by Sitkovetsky Trio

Ravel was a sophisticated composer who was exacting and worked towards compositional perfection, which is beautifully evident in this Piano Trio in A minor. However, he was also described as childlik…

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One Movement Symphonies: Barber, Sibelius & Scriabin by Kansas City Symphony & Michael Stern

A symphony is classified by most musical dictionaries as an extended work written in the Western Art Music tradition, most often in four movements. So what happens when a composer throws out a part o…

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Baroque by Nicola Benedetti & Benedetti Baroque Orchestra

What is it about Baroque music that endears itself to the modern 21st-century audience? Is it the unabashed complexity or soulful slow movements? Or does the passion of the musicians themselves infus…

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French Works for Flute Adam Walker, Timothy Ridout & James Baillieu

In listening to Chandos’ latest flute offering, I was delighted by the gentleness of Adam Walker’s musical phrases. I never thought the first movement of Franck’s Violin Sonata could be so gentle, th…

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Brahms: Piano Concertos András Schiff & Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Those brawny first notes. Strings sawing, with strength and strident trills they announce Brahms’s Piano Concerto No 1. Then out of the storm emerges András Schiff at the piano – a breath of sunshine…

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Beethoven: Works for Flute by Emmanuel Pahud & Daniel Barenboim

Why is Beethoven so delightfully cute on the flute? Beethoven might be rolling in his grave as I say this, but as I listened to this album, I just kept finding myself smiling at the cheeky phrases ef…

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Liszt: Works for Solo Piano by Benjamin Grosvenor

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor has been a regular in these pages for many years now. Electrifying the classical music community in 2011 with his first foray into Liszt’s repertoire, we now now ha…

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Silver Age: Scriabin, Stravinsky & Prokofiev by Daniil Trifonov

From 1890 through to the revolution and the first two decades of the 20th century, Russia was gripped with creative fever. The poets, musicians and artists of the era were all producing great works a…

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Carl Maria von Weber: The Clarinet Concertos

Beautiful, lush romantic strings set this recording off. Then the clarinet enters, with a wailing sound – not at all what I was expecting. There is an edge to the clarinet tone, with a brightness tha…

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Antonio Vivaldi: Lost Concertos for Anna Maria

There was a time in Venice when baby girls could be dropped through a slot, similar to a libraryreturns chute, and so be abandoned to be raised in a convent. If a young girl was (relatively speaking)…

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Brahms: Symphonies 3 & 4 Richard Tognetti & Australian Chamber Orchestra

There is nothing in the world quite like an electrifying live performance. I know we have all been missing that feeling of sitting in the middle of the music, hearing the orchestra breathe together a…

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Vivaldi: Works for Clarinet and Orchestra Martin Frost & Concerto Koln

Historians believe that the clarinet was first invented around 1700. At the time, composers were demanding more from their musicians, and trumpeters were not able to cope with the fast passages in th…

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Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 & Finzi: Clarinet Concerto by Michael Collins

He hath given me rest by His sorrow and life by His death. – Bunyan

Written above the third movement of Vaughan Williams’s Fifth Symphony, Romanza, these words are deceptively multilayered. Not just…

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Mozart y Mambo by Sarah Willis

Sometimes grand adventures start with a throwaway comment. Sarah Willis, French Horn in the Berlin Philharmonic, was amazed in 2017 to discover there is a statue of Mozart in Havana, Cuba. Nonplussed…

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Death and the Maiden by 12 Ensemble

Fans of the Australian Chamber Orchestra will instantly recognise the oeuvre of 12 Ensemble. They are a string orchestra that performs as a chamber ensemble, with no conductor. This brings a heighten…

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Aspects of America: Pulitzer Edition by Oregon Symphony & Carlos Kalmar

As many people would be aware, classical repertoire can take a long time to work its way into the hearts of listeners (J.S. Bach being an obvious one, only becoming popular eighty years after his dea…

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Vasks: Works for Piano Trio by Trio Palladio

We listen to, we look for, and we learn about classical music all the time. And yet, somehow, sometimes we miss a gem. This is what discovering Peteris Vasks has been for me. Considered one of the mo…

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Beethoven: The Piano Concertos by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Happy 250th Birthday Beethoven! The classical music world is going mad for all new Beethoven recordings and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is jumping on that bandwagon. Teaming up with fellow Austra…

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14 Histoires de guitares by David Jacques

You know someone is a music nerd when they discuss the fact that they collect guitars from a period spanning four hundred years and have more than ten guitars in their collection. David Jacques is de…

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Stuart Greenbaum by John Stanton, Ron Baglind & Luke Howard

What would you do in your final hour? If you had but one hour left, how would you express yourself? Through words, music, art? Stuart Greenbaum posits this question with his latest album, a musing on…

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Les Sons et les Parfums byJanina Fialkowska

‘Sounds and Perfume’ is the perfect name for this enchanting piano album. Originally from Baudelaire’s poem, Debussy borrowed the full title ‘Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir’ for …

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Mozart: Piano Trios

There is something so assured in this recording of Mozart’s Piano Trios. A deft touch at the piano, a sense of style to the violin melodies and a warm rich tone for the cello. This is everything Moza…

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Richard Strauss by Lucerne Festival Orchestra & Riccardo Chailly

There is silence. We wait … and wait … and then, out of this heavy hush, the trumpet speaks those famous notes. Riccardo Chailly brings his understanding of opera drama to these epically dramatic pie…

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Terry Riley: Sun Rings by Kronos Quartet

2019 is the fiftieth Anniversary of the moon landing. So I think that this is the perfect time for the first ever recording that intersperses sounds from space with classical music. Sun Rings by Terr…

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Sir John Tavener: The Protecting Veil by Matthew Barley and Sinfonietta Riga

When the first thing you see, as a performer, is the phrase ‘Transcendent With Awesome Majesty’, you know you’re going to be in for something epic. John Tavener wrote those words over the top of the …

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Rise by Jess Gillam

Last year was a historic year for the BBC Young Musician awards. They had their first ever saxophonist in the finals. Now to those who don’t know, this is a bigger deal than you might think. It’s his…

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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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