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Australian classical music: the best recordings

Whether drawing on its Indigenous roots, magnificent landscapes or terrifying natural disasters, Australia’s composers past and present often look to their own country for inspiration. Here are some of our favourite recordings to explore

Australian classical music: the best recordings
Published: November 10, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Peggy Glanville-Hicks's Etruscan Concerto (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra)

Start with the bright colours of Glanville‑Hicks’s Etruscan Concerto from the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (ABC Classics ABC4763222), paired with the finale from her opera Sappho.


You can also buy this from Amazon.

Percy Grainger's The Warriors (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

Follow this by The Warriors by her fellow expat Grainger, which is given an epic performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, alongside the folk arrangements for which he is best known (Cala CACDS4033).

You can also buy The Warriors from Amazon.

Malcolm Williamson's Complete Piano Concertos (Piers Lane)

Pianist Piers Lane brings stunning clarity to The Complete Piano Concertos (Hyperion CDA68011/2) of Australian composer Malcolm Williamson.

You can also buy Piers Lane's recording on Amazon.

Peter Sculthorpe's didgeridoo works (William Barton)

Didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton joins the Queensland SO for Sculthorpe’s dramatic Earth Cry and dance‑inspired Songs of Sea and Sky (ABC Classics ABC4761921).

You can buy William Barton's recording on Presto Classical.

Women of Note: A Century of Australian Composers Vol. 2

Finish off with a few contemporary Australian voices: Elena Kats‑Chenin’s Eliza Aria and excerpts from Deborah Cheetham’s Eumeralla: A War Requiem for Peace appear on Women Of Note: A Century Of Australian Composers Vol. 2 (ABC Classics ABC4819109).

You can also buy from Amazon.

Liza Lim's Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (Klangforum Wien)

While the complex, evocative Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus by Liza Lim (Kairos 0015020KAI) is brought to vivid, slithering life in the hands of the Klangforum Wien.

You can also buy from Amazon.


Top image by Getty Images


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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