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Katie Herzig

At the Fillmore singing “Songbird”.


John Adams at Arts Centre

I am not a big fan of modern classical music. It is often “interesting” and “attention grabbing” but it often fails the want-to-hear-it-again test. An exception for me is the minimalist music of John Adams that I have enjoyed for more than 2 decades following the release of Harmonielehre in 1985. Adams is visiting Australia […]

Lucia Popp does Mahler

I generally abandoned listening to Gustav Mahler at about the time Paul Keating took it up. Mahler was a neurotic (and an unpleasant person) whose neuroticism spills over into his music just as it does with profound, obscurantist French novelists that I read as an existentially-lost teen. What’s it all about Gustav…? But I do […]

Ludwig dramatised

Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabry in an inspired dramatic rendition of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Brilliant.


Monsters & Men

Liked by Paul Krugman and Marginal Revolution (and me!). An invigorating (thanks RG), punchy rock group. Why are the Icelanders blessed with so many quality contemporary musicians?

Catchy tune by Gotye

I heard this on the radio while driving through heavy traffic the other day. My younger daughter identified it for me -its “Somebody that you used to know” by an Aussi-Belgium singer called Gotye and accompanied by the georgeous New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra. I think they are pretty good – its certainly a catchy tune. […]

Mini speakers

If you are travelling and spending a lot of time in hotels a useful option is to have a reasonable sound system that you can play in your hotel room. I have a vast musical library on my 13″ MacPro but the speakers are fairly limiting. I found these X-mini speakers in the Canberra Apple […]

Iris DeMent & John Prine

Lazy Friday night listening mainly to Iris Dement but also caught this humorous piece by DeMent and John Prine. Here’s another DeMent effort “My Town” with Emmylou Harris.

I like DeMent’s voice, her simply folksy lyrics and her occasional sardonic realism: “Some say there’re comin’ back in a garden/Bunch of carrots and little sweet peas/I […]

Gorecki in Auschwitz

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately – I am bit sick of work and of talking politics, don’t worry I will recover. By chance I caught this filmed version of the second movement of the Gorecki 3rd Symphony. This is a surreal piece of music – a Collection of “Sorrowful Songs”. The […]

Bruckner Symphony #9

One of my all time favourite pieces of music is Anton Bruckner’s unfinished 9th Symphony – I have been listening to it over the last few days but on-and-off enjoying it for about 40 years. I have several versions – all of them very good – but my favourite is by Bruno Walter from the […]


I have been listening to Leo Kottke for decades – the first time in Chicago around 1983 – he has been performing for 40 years. He is an astonishing guitarist and has a warped personality that really appeals – “When Shrimps Learn to Whistle” (no I can’t steal a copy) is a favourite as is […]

Avatar movie

I saw the James Cameron movie Avatar last night with my son William. I thought it was the most entertaining movie I have seen in 2009. I agree with Paul Burnes in the SMH that the plot was not challenging and that the final war footage grated but the movie technology saved the day. In […]

More nostalgia – Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention is one of my all-time favourite bands. They still perform although their early album with Sandy Denny Liege and Lief remains my favourite. Denny died tragically in 1978 after skipping through a number of groups. Liege and Lief is monumental folk-rock music:

‘To rouse the spirit of the earth and move the rolling […]

Nostalgia – Norman Gunston & Frank Zappa

I had forgotten how good both of them were. Here goes Zappa on the Illinois Enema Bandit. And a totally disgusting version (with Captain Beefheart) of Willie the Pimp.  We miss you Frankie.

Shutting down Detroit

John Rich on Shutting Down Detroit. Its a great YouTube – the music is at about 2’50”.  The Anthem of the US Recession is discussed and the lyrics to the song provided..

Bud Petal

This is experimental folk music with some class. Good lyrics, listen! Interesting stuff. I also liked this view of the talking chimp.

Thanks Bernd

Eddi Reader

In terms of contemporary music I have to agree I am out-of-touch.  This is of course a disadvantage but pleasant surprises often present themselves as a consequence. The other night on ABC TV I saw a talented, female singer performing at The Basement in Sydney – Eddi Reader.  She is Scottish and that’s about all I know about her. The next day, selecting […]

Sting: A bitter post

I have an unfortunate, rather negative approach to rock musicians like Sting. They have no obvious musical talents or intelligence and travel the world in their personal jets telling us all how to be environmentally friendly. It is accurate to describe them as hypocrites.

And look at Sting’s taste in women. Look at […]

Joni Mitchell

I’ve been busy working over recent days but I after finally receiving a few early Joni Mitchell CDs from I got to listen to them last night. After a few minutes I abandoned all thoughts of anything other than this music.

For some reason I’d forgotten just how good she is. I started with […]

Classical music blogs & sites

Courtesy of Saturday’s AFR (the gist is here) I learned of Alex Ross’s classical music blog ‘The Rest is Noise’ – the title is also that of his first book, which provides a guide to classical music of the twentieth century. He claims there has been a revival of interest in classical music has been […]