Kevin McBeath in Facade by William Walton

Not a recent recording by any means, but a fitting tribute to the passing of one of the State Library’s great friends and a true Renaissance man in his own right, Kevin McBeath. Amongst many other accomplishments Kevin was a lifelong champion of new music, and his passion for the works of William Walton led to this marvellous recording of Facade, with Kevin himself reciting the poems of Edith Sitwell; a Melbourne performance that met with the composer’s own very enthusiastic approval. We are lucky to have had such a marvellous friend over so many years, and fortunate that his legacy remains with us.

Sacrificium by Cecilia Bartoli

Decca Music, 2009 Decca Music, 2009

The great Italian soprano Cecilia Bartoli has a list of quite incredible recordings to her name, most of which we hold here. Sacrificium continues her tradition of exploring little known repertoire from the Baroque era and bringing it vividly to life. Partnered with the fantastic Italian group, Il Giardino Armonico, she uncovers startling arias originally written for the superstar castrati of the 18th century. The sound and technical mastery of the castrati must have been extraordinary, and Bartoli’s dazzling and uninhibited style makes you wonder if this isn’t at least close to what their effect might have been on the audiences of the day.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bartoli, this clip from YouTube of her singing the opening aria from La Resurrezione by Handel says it all! Cecilia Bartoli sings Handel

David and Jonathan by Charpentier

ABC Classics, 2009 ABC Classics, 2009

Closer to home, but still in the 18th century, the adventurous Pinchgut Opera in Sydney have been staging and recording some of the rarer operatic repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries for many years now. This recent recording of performances they gave in 2008 of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s David and Jonathan followed on from their successful 2005 staging of another great French Baroque work, Rameau’s Dardanus.

Five Symphonies by Felix Mendelssohn

ABC Classics, 2009 ABC Classics, 2009

Following its well received complete recording of the Beethoven symphonies, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has now tackled the beautiful symphonies of Felix Mendelssohn, led by their Chief Conductor, Sebastian Lang-Lessing.

The Bach Album with Diana Doherty and Ironwood

ABC Classics, 2010 ABC Classics, 2010

Another beautiful recording from ABC Classics. Australian oboist Diana Doherty is joined by an extraordinary group of musicians who make up the period ensemble Ironwood, in a programme of glorious music by Bach. This is a seriously lovely recording.

All of these items can be requested through the Library’s catalogue and listened to in the Arts Reading Room. You can also explore the amazing Naxos Music Library , either here in the State Library building, or at home if you are registered with us as a Victorian resident. Once you’ve started exploring this colossal collection of online music  you won’t want to stop!

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