Kate Rockstrom

Kate_bigthumb

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

Reviews

Baroque: Music for Viola by Nils Mönkemeyer

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Finally after all these years of reviews, I have a virtuosic viola album to review! The ‘King of Instruments’ (as it has been dubbed in certain circles), is often the considered the poor cousin to th…

Read more ›

Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov & Shostakovich by the Orava Quartet

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Did we need yet another string quartet album in the world? I didn’t think so, until I listened to the latest release from Deutsche Grammophon of an Australian group, the Orava Quartet. What is most a…

Read more ›

Reich: Pulse/Quartet by International Contemporary Ensemble & Colin Currie Group

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

People often remark that Steve Reich’s music can be an acquired taste, one only for those serious, modern-classical music listeners wanting to expand their horizons. As someone who has been firmly en…

Read more ›

Paul Stanhope: Lux Aeterna by Sydney Chamber Choir & Paul Stanhope

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Lux Aeterna is Latin for ‘eternal light’. Paul Stanhope’s works often have dense harmonic ideas, but here, there’s a constant sense of lightness – both in the musicianship of the Sydney Chamber Choir…

Read more ›

Schubert: Piano Sonatas D959 & D960 by Krystian Zimerman

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

I think I need to be honest and say I’ve been on a bit of a Schubert bandwagon lately – though mostly his symphonic and chamber repertoire – so it was a delight to review this piano album. I started …

Read more ›

Il Diavolo by Accademia Arcadia

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Many people know the story of the Devil’s Trill Sonata by Tartini. How he dreamed one night he made a pact with the devil, who took up Tartini’s violin and played ‘a sonata so wonderful and so beauti…

Read more ›

Splendid Harmony by L'arpa festante

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

The concept behind this album is very interesting. It’s not an homage to a person as such, it’s a homage to his legacy through his teaching. It features five different composers, all of whom learned …

Read more ›

Mozart in Havana by Simone Dinnerstein & José Antonio Méndez Padrón

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

On the first listen through this album, I was presented with Mozart in his most recognisable form. There was bounce to the phrasing, with delicacy and depth to the timbre, without heaviness. The blen…

Read more ›

Chaconnes and Fantasias: Music of Britten and Purcell by Emerson String Quartet

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

At first glance, you might think Purcell and Britten have nothing in common bar their English origin. However, when you dig deeper you find that Britten was somewhat of a fanboy of Purcell and freque…

Read more ›

Songs Without Words by the Grigoryan Brothers

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

If you say the words ‘Grigoryan brothers’ to most classical music fans, they’ll smile and nod knowingly. Renowned for their musicianship since they were teenagers, they’ve released five albums togeth…

Read more ›

J.S. Bach: Trios by Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

For many people, the name Yo-Yo Ma immediately brings to mind the Bach Cello Suites and Ma’s bestselling album; the album that has defined many a young cellist’s ideas about the performance of the wo…

Read more ›

Philip Glass: Piano Works by Vikingur Olafsson

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Vikingur Olafsson is an unknown around this neck of the woods, but he has been voted ‘Musician of the Year’ in his native Iceland four times, is the music director of two major music festivals and is…

Read more ›

JS Bach: French Suites

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Bach Piano music can be quite daunting for the uninitiated. The complex melodic ideas and constant rhythmic pulse typical of his style feels like it’s turning in on itself and it can be hard to follo…

Read more ›

Telemann: Sonatas, Sonatinas and Fantasias

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

When I listen to Genevieve Lacey perform I often forget something, I get distracted by her lovely turn of phrase, her clean and bright sound, and those fast, pattering fingers making light of difficu…

Read more ›

Bach by Nemanja Radulovic

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Bach has been recorded, re-recorded and then re-done, re-worked and re-recorded again. But never have I heard such an arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor as this on Nemanja Radulo…

Read more ›

Shostakovich & Glazunov: Violin Concertos

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

The always talented Nicola Benedetti returns to the catalogue with a recording of the historic Shostakovich Violin Concerto and the lovely and underrated Glazunov Violin Concerto. The dark opening st…

Read more ›

Vaughan Williams: Symphonies 2 & 8 (Vol. 1) by Andrew Manze & The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

With a quiet intake of breath, the opening notes of Vaughan Williams’ London Symphony creep into your awareness, painting a picture so clearly you can describe the colours of a morning in London at t…

Read more ›

1000 Years Of Classical Music

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

ABC Classics has been producing high-quality recordings of all the Australian orchestras, chamber groups, choirs and soloists for years. This means they have an extensive library of music that is not…

Read more ›

Handel: Israel In Egypt

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

This recording is one of those strange beasts that sometimes appear in the world of period music. It’s a recreation (2014) of a recreation (1833) of a performance from 1739. For the 2014 Mendelssohn …

Read more ›

Beethoven Piano Trios by Seraphim Trio

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

With a flourish the new Seraphim Trio recording transports you back in time to when there was unmatched elegance and an outpouring of such beautiful music that you still hear it performed today. Form…

Read more ›

Bach & Chindamo: The New Goldberg Variations

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

When you start listening to this recording, make sure that ambient noises are at a minimum. The first few notes on this sublime reinterpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations will sweep you away into…

Read more ›

New Seasons by Gidon Kremer & Kremerata Baltica

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

‘We often look at the scores of contemporary music with some scepticism. Many people (including musicians) are already turned off by the word “contemporary”. They associate it with something purely “…

Read more ›

Intimate voices: Sibelius String Quartets by Flinders Quartet

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Everyone knows Sibelius’s orchestral works – even if you don’t think you do, you’ve probably heard his enormously famous Finlandia at least once – which are stirring and sublime in character. I was d…

Read more ›

Island Songs by Amy Dickson & Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

I’ve noticed over the years that saxophonist Amy Dickson has become a true champion of contemporary classical music. Often presenting modern music in a way that is accessible to everyone, she also ex…

Read more ›

Adolphe Adam: Giselle by Nicolette Fraillon & Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

The ballet Giselle was written over 170 years ago but is still one of the most popular ballets to be performed around the world. Often seen here in Australia, the magic of a prince in disguise, broke…

Read more ›

Terry Riley: Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector by Kronos Quartet

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

No matter what music the Kronos Quartet decide to record, they always take my breath away with the strength of their technical prowess and their decisive musicality. When they choose to record the mu…

Read more ›

Vignettes by Emma Sholl and Jane Rosenson

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

A comment you often hear when talking about Australian classical music is: ‘Oh yes, but in Europe they do it so much better.’ From personal experience, however, I believe that is not true. Vignettes

Read more ›

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé is not only his longest work but one of his most popular (in its Suite form). Often recorded and frequently performed even in Melbourne, most classical music enthusiasts are …

Read more ›

Revolution by Emmanuel Pahud

Reviewed by Kate Rockstrom

It’s always very interesting to see what Emmanuel Pahud chooses for the repertoire on his solo recordings. Considered one of the best, if not the best, flautists in the world, he has nothing to prove…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›

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…

Read more ›