Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (CD review)

HJ Lim, pianist.
EMI 50999 4 64952 2 8 (8-CD set).

Beethoven so enjoyed piano sonatas, he wrote thirty-two of
them between 1795 and 1822. While he probably didn’t intend them as a single
cycle with any unifying subject matter, pianists ever since have been playing
them in conjunction with other pieces in the series, sometimes presenting all
thirty-two of them over a succession of nights. Then, with the coming of the
sound-recording age, pianists clamored to prove their worth by releasing
complete recorded sets. I confess I have heard in its entirety only one of the
dozens of such sets currently available, that of Alfred Brendel (Philips), but
I have other discs of select sonatas from the sets of Wilhelm Kempff (DG),
Arthur Rubinstein (RCA), Sviatoslav Richter (EMI), Emil Giles (DG), Stephen
Kovacevich (EMI), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Decca), Claudio Arrau (Philips), John
O’Conor (Telarc), Maurizio Pollini (DG), Murray Perahia (Sony), and Vladimir
Horowitz (RCA). And, of course, there are what seem like hundreds of other
single and multi-disc collections of the sonatas available, so choice is almost

In 2009 Korean pianist HJ Lim burst onto the musical scene
with a popular YouTube video of a Rachmaninov and Chopin recital she had done,
followed by an appearance in Paris where she performed the complete Beethoven
sonatas. These events so inspired the folks at EMI Classics, they signed her to
record the sonatas in the set we have here. There is little question about
EMI’s excitement: Ms. Lim’s playing is wonderfully virtuosic, her performances
remarkably intelligent, if highly idiosyncratic, and her personal appearance
strikingly photogenic. It’s a winning combination for any performer.

Let’s begin our look at the set by noting how Ms. Lim and
EMI have chosen to present it. First, they have laid out the sonatas over eight
discs, four two-disc packages, each package I presume EMI to make available
separately as well as in the complete box. Second, she has opted to record only
thirty of the thirty-two sonatas, omitting Nos. 19 and 20, which Beethoven
wrote for family, friends, and students and whose publication he suppressed.
Fair enough. Third, she has organized the sonatas not chronologically but
according to a personal thematic arrangement. Thus, you will find various of
the most-popular works sprinkled in amongst less-familiar pieces. This has the
advantage for the listener of spicing up the content with variety and the
advantage for EMI of ensuring that if you’re buying the two-disc packages
separately, you’ll probably have to buy several of them in order to get
everything you want. Yes, marketing is always a factor in these things.

The first disc in the set tells us a great deal about the
direction Ms. Lim will be taking in the whole cycle in terms of approach,
survey, and sound. She starts by including three sonatas-- No. 29 “Hammerklavier,” No. 11,
and No. 26 “Les Adieux”--under the
thematic heading “Heroic Ideals.” In her extensive booklet notes, the pianist
explains her intensions by saying something to the effect that Beethoven had a
special relationship with his Creator, a relationship he tried to communicate
in his music. She continues by referring to the myth of Prometheus, the demigod
giver of arts and fire to mortals; to Beethoven’s temporary admiration for
Napoleon; and to the composer’s increasing deafness. While her critical
analysis of the composer’s life and her own individual reflections appear weighty,
much of it also seems rather dry and academic, ultimately providing less
insight into Beethoven’s motivations than they might seem. Likewise, Ms. Lim
spends three lengthy paragraphs on the composer’s metronome markings, saying on
the one hand that he was pretty definite about things but finally concluding
that the markings probably don’t matter as much as the pianist’s having “the
right feeling.” If it all begins to seem rather highfalutin and vague at the
same time, it probably is. I’d advise just listening to the music and ignoring
much of the categorizing and composer examination.

Ms. Lim begins with the “Hammerklavier,” that most brawny,
lengthy, and difficult of all the sonatas. You’ve got to give her credit for
starting right in with the heavy lifting and getting the show going with a
rousing opening act. She attacks the Hammerklavier” with vigor and passion,
demonstrating both a scholarly and dazzling command of the piano that will
serve her well throughout the cycle. If I have any minor reservation about the
performance, it is the same as I have about all of her work: namely, that she
appears to have a youthful enthusiasm that leads her into very fast finger work
in the outer movements and sometimes less than penetrating interpretations of
the slower sections. She is blazing, to be sure, but a quick, simple comparison
to someone like Alfred Brendel indicates she still isn’t as mature or
understanding as she may be in a few more years. Although No. 26 is a little more traditional and Ms. Lim’s speeds a bit more
conventional, she still doesn’t let much or any sentimentality show through in
her reading, which can be both radiantly fulfilling and frustratingly severe.

The first disc also tells us everything we will need to
know about the sound. EMI recorded Ms. Lim playing a Yamaha CRS piano in Faller
Hall, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in 2011. The result is one of the
cleanest, clearest piano recordings you’ll find, with excellent transparency
and taut transient response. The venue is modestly resonant, and the piano
shows up warmly and richly most of the time, with only a few instances of cold
or hard sound. Since the clarity corresponds well to Ms. Lim’s analytical
approach to the music, it’s undoubtedly a good fit, and I have no complaints. I
found it extremely easy to listen to.

Disc two finds five sonatas categorized under the heading
“Eternal Feminine -Youth.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really
thought about Beethoven in terms of “eternal feminine.” Still, I suppose Ms.
Lim’s characterizations of Sonatas Nos. 4,
9, 10, 13
, and 14 “Moonlight” do,
in a way, fit that description. The music is of a sweeter, gentler nature than
most of the other sonatas, Beethoven as the true romanticist, the passionate
yet wounded lover. The “however” is that Ms. Lim plays them with almost the
same dispassionate precision she applies to the “Heroic Ideals” group. As an
example, she zips through the famous opening Adagio of the “Moonlight” lickety-split. For comparison, both
Brendel and Kempf take a little over six minutes to complete the movement; Ms.
Lim takes about four and a half minutes, a full twenty-five percent faster.
It’s not that her playing doesn’t come highly charged with emotion; it’s that
it doesn’t necessarily convey much in the way of tragic or romantic feeling.

Disc three begins the next volume, and it contains
Beethoven’s three earliest sonatas, Nos.
, 2, and 3, under the heading “Assertion of an Inflexible Personality.” The
“personality” is that of Beethoven, and Ms. Lim explains in the booklet that
the young composer was typically confronting fate through a youthful
rebelliousness. Perhaps it’s Ms. Lim’s own youthful rebelliousness that’s at
issue here; I don’t know. In any case, listeners may recognize the opening Allegro of No. 1 from its use accompanying countless silent movies, and Ms.
Lim seems to have a good time playing up its extensive melodrama. Nonetheless,
I rather enjoyed its minor rebellion, too. Likewise, she provides a youthful
exuberance in the other two sonatas.

Something like the dramatic innocence of the first three
sonatas, the fourth disc finds four sonatas in the category of “Nature”: No. 15 “Pastorale,” No. 21 “Waldstein,” No. 22,
and No. 25. In these works, Beethoven
follows a course characteristic of the newly flowering Romantic Age in
describing the universal appeal and dramatic innocence of the natural world.
Here, we find Ms. Lim in extraordinarily good form. Her “Pastorale” is
especially welcome, a genuinely ardent, expressive, descriptive view of Earth’s
wondrous landscapes. If I have any minor reservation, it’s that her playing is
so dextrous and precise that it almost seems as though at times she’s showing
off. Her rather fast, heady plunge through the “Waldstein,” for example,
appears more intellectual than it does insightful, more engaged in technique
than it is a revelation of the soul. Still, with piano playing so
scintillating, it’s hard to argue with the results. Again, EMI’s recording is
clear and strong, well sustaining the performance.

And so it goes. Disc five contains three sonatas, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, under the
umbrella “Extremes in Collision.” By this Ms. Lim means that these sonatas are
polar opposites, and to prove the point she tends to play up the differences. I
quite liked her interpretations of the slow movements; the Adagio of No. 5, for
instance, is exquisite. And even if her intensity doesn’t do much for me in
some of the outer movements, I appreciate her conviction. Disc six takes us to
the theme of “Resignation and Action,” containing Sonatas Nos. 16, 17
“Tempest,” 18, and 28. The “however” continues to be that
while she is undoubtedly an exciting pianist to listen to, she seems not to
capture fully the introspective moments of, say, the Adagio of the “Tempest” with the same deep emotion of a Brendel,
Kempff, or Perahia.

Disc seven Ms. Lim calls “Eternal Feminine - Maturity,”
reflecting back on the earlier “Eternal Feminine - Youth” theme, now from
Beethoven’s older perspective and containing Sonatas Nos. 24, 27, 30, and 31. Then, the set closes with the category “Destiny” and includes
two of the composer’s most-popular sonatas, No.
“Pathetique” and No. 23
“Appasionata,” along with Nos. 12 and
32. It’s as though she were saving
the best for last, and certainly she does up the two named sonatas in fine,
fervent style, with yet much hushed confidence in the slower segments.

In the end, I’d say that for anyone interested in a
one-and-only, possibly first-time purchase of a complete set Beethoven piano
sonatas, Brendel or any favorite pianist from those at the top of the review
might be a safer bet than Ms. Lim’s EMI set. This is not to say, however, that
one should not hear or sample or possibly own one of the single discs from
Lim’s set; nor should one avoid Lim’s complete set as a second or third or
alternative choice in one’s collection. There is no denying her playing is
brilliant and blazing, her interpretations vital, and EMI’s sound clear and
natural. It’s just that Ms. Lim’s performances may be too highly personal as
one’s only realizations of these works.



Virgin Mobile to stream headline acts from Splendour in the Grass - Kimbra, Miike Snow, Ladyhawke, Cast of Cheers, Band of Skulls, Bleeding Knees Club, Last Dinosaurs and more...

Sydney, 20 July 2012 – Splendour in the Grass sold out quicker this year than you could say “Splendour Bender Weekend Extender”, and knowing that there are more disappointed people that missed out on tickets than ever before, Virgin Mobile today announces that it will once again be delivering a live stream of the festival. Continuing its commitment to dish out even more content for music loving Aussies, Virgin Mobile has announced a stellar line up expanding the live stream to a whopping 8 hours of exclusive content direct from field phone.

Following on from last year’s success where over 46,650 music fans tuned in to be part of the action, Virgin Mobile will be streaming performances from the likes of Kimbra and Miike Snow directly from the Mixup and Supertop stages at Splendour in the Grass 2012, on Saturday 28th from 3pm.

The exclusive Virgin Mobile Live Stream 2012 will bring non-festival goers uninterrupted live access to the festival’s gigs with a mix of live and pre-recorded performances and backstage artist interviews, bringing ‘music to the masses’ via its YouTube channel ( and the official Splendour in the Grass app.

Those on the move won’t miss a beat this year. Thanks to Virgin Mobile, music lovers can experience the live stream on mobile devices via the free Splendour in the Grass app – available for Android and iPhone. Furthermore, the Virgin Mobile Facebook page and website will be regularly updated with all the latest Splendour in the Grass news.

Virgin Mobile’s Marketing Director, David Scribner, said, “We’re really excited to once again be offering this exclusive access to fans and music lovers who can’t make it to the festival. We have been pioneers in live-streaming ever since we first live-streamed the Temper Trap in 2010 and are proud to once again be offering viewers a real feel for this year’s festival with an excellent collection of music and behind-the-scenes interviews streamed directly from the festival to wherever you are.”

In its third year of sponsorship, Virgin Mobile will for the first time extend its activations beyond the festival grounds, offering festival goers the chance to pull over and revive in style and comfort at Virgin Mobile’s Star Treatment Stop. The Star Treatment Stop (stylish pit-stops), located at 171 Pacific Highway Broadwater, en-route from Sydney to Bryon Bay, will offer drivers and their mates free coffees, massages, comfy beanbags and chilled DJs tunes for a refresh with a difference.

Dedicated to enhancing the overall experience for those at the festival, Virgin Mobile will offer a host of customer benefits to Virgin Mobile customers attending Splendour in the Grass 2012. Customers will be asked to register before the festival for them and a plus one via a Facebook app and when they get on site they can pick up their Near Field Communications (NFC) wristband. Virgin Mobile festival benefits include:

•       Access to the Posh Pit fancy bathroom (clean and fresh – oh the joy!) plus 5 minute makeovers to keep punters looking and feeling like a star throughout the festival

•       Fast Lane express bar queue - Virgin Mobile thinks it’s only fair that customers spend more time watching bands, and less time queueing at the bar

·       Power Point Recharge Station – Running out of juice on your mobile? Can’t send that last photo of you in the mosh pit to make all your friends jealous? Virgin Mobile have you covered with the recharge station

·       Bandstand daily prizes – These babies are your key to fun times at Splendour from food vouchers to phones there’s a whole lot of love to give. Customer simply tap their wristband throughout the festival to see what they have won

·     The chance to win tickets to the exclusive Channel V party: 50 Virgin Mobile customers and their friends will win access to the VIP section at the Channel V Party at the Beach Hotel in Byron Bay on Saturday the 28th July where they will be treated to a recovery breakfast, drinks and great tunes from the likes of Alice Wonderland and other Splendour artists. Another 100 Virgin Mobile customers will win access to the party and two drinks tokens.

Virgin Mobile customers can now pre-register for all the benefits at: 

For more information on the Virgin Mobile live stream and festival benefits for Virgin Mobile customers visit: 

Virgin Mobile & Music
As a Virgin company, music is a part of our heritage and our brand DNA. Since we launched 11 years ago, Virgin Mobile Australia has been a key player in the music scene undertaking initiatives to enrich the music experience for our customers.

We’ve been a major sponsor of Splendour in the Grass festival since 2010, offering customers a host of benefits to enhance their festival experience. We also brought music to the masses as the first brand to live web-stream from an Australian music festival, broadcasting Temper Trap’s set from Splendour in the Grass 2010. We then gave you Australia’s longest-ever festival live web-stream from St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in 2011.

In 2012 we are also excited to be sponsoring music legend George Michael’s national tour later this year. Stay tuned for more music news from us at or


Splendour in the Grass

Virgin Mobile - Splendour in the Grass

One Green Bean

Classical Music News of the Week, July 22, 2012

Ryan Brown Awarded
Medaille d'or du rayonnement

Having proven himself a beacon of light in preserving and
renewing French music, conductor Ryan Brown has been honored with the Medaille
d'or du rayonnement from La Renaissance Française. For more than a decade,
Brown has delighted international audiences with his re-discovery and inspired
performances of masterful French operas of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Brown is the founder, artistic director, and conductor of
the Washington, D.C., based Opera Lafayette which, in addition to sold out
seasons at the Kennedy Center and in New York City, has been engaged in an
ambitious recording agreement with Naxos since 2005. Recent releases in their
quickly growing discography include Monsigny's Le Deserteur and Rebel and Françoeur’s Zélindor, roi des Sylphes.

Continuing his mission of casting light on ignored French
masterpieces, Brown recently led Opera Lafayette in their debut performance of
Monsigny's compelling Le Roi et le
at the Opera Royal in Versailles. This autumn Opera Lafayette fans
can expect Naxos to release Grétry's Le
, followed by Le Roi et le
in 2013.

The non-profit French organization La Renaissance Français
was founded in 1916. Brown was presented with his award by French Ambassador
François Delattre on May 31st in Washington, D.C.

--Schwalbe and Partners, Inc.

Merola Opera
Program Presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera August 2 and 4

Program presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s La finta
giardiniera on Thursday, August 2 at 8 PM and Saturday, August 4 at 2 PM at the
Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA. The cast features
bass-baritone Gordon Bintner, tenor Casey Candebat, soprano Jennifer Cherest,
tenor Theo Lebow, mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko, soprano Jacqueline Piccolino and
soprano Rose Sawvel. The production will be directed by Nicholas Muni and Gary
Thor Wedow will conduct.

“La finta giardiniera is an opera that explores
post-traumatic stress syndrome and identity crisis, within the language and
traditions of commedia dell'arte,” says director Nic Muni. “It is a piece rife
with stock characters, outlandish turns of plot and, at the same time, it is a
piece of striking originality in its exploration of human behavior in extremis,
leaving us with this question: Is it actually meant to be humorous or is the
subject matter too complex and profound to be a comedy?”

Conductor Gary Thor Wedow has been hailed for “hot music
making” by the Baltimore Sun and “convincingly elegant period style” in Opera
News. His most recent successes include Orphée and Die Zauberflöte for the
Seattle Opera, Le donne curiose for Wolf Trap Opera and Agrippina for Boston
Lyric Opera. Mr. Wedow has been a member of the Juilliard School faculty since
1994. He has established an enviable reputation for dramatically exciting and
historically informed performances with opera companies, festivals and choral
organizations throughout North America.

Director Nicholas Muni returns to Merola having most
recently directed the popular 2009 production of L’amico Fritz. He currently
serves as an Associate Professor of Opera and Distinguished Artist in Residence
at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Mr. Muni has served as Artistic Director
for Tulsa Opera and Cincinnati Opera as well as director of drama for the
Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Development Program. As a freelance stage
director, he has directed over 200 productions with companies in North America,
Europe and Australia. Recent directing credits include the US premiere of
Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot at
Glimmerglass Opera, Carmen at Boston
Lyric Opera and Postcard from Morocco
and Of Mice and Men at Cincinnati
Conservatory of Music.

Set in Italy in the early 1900’s, Merola’s production of
La finta giardiniera follows the story of the Marchioness Violante Onesti, who
flees her home and disguises herself as a gardener after her lover, Belfiore,
attacks her and leaves her for dead. In her quest to confront Belfiore,
Violante, who now goes by the name “Sandrina” encounters a cast of colorful
characters and finds herself caught between people who would do anything to get
what they want. Dealing with heavy issues such as attempted murder and madness
as well as lighthearted themes of love and mistaken identity, La finta
giardiniera is both comedic and serious, combining elements of both to arrive
at a happy ending.

The Merola Opera Program is dedicated to the continuing
education and training of the finest young operatic talent and the development
of this talent into professional opera singers, coaches and stage directors of
the highest artistic caliber. Merola operates in close artistic collaboration
with San Francisco Opera but is an independent nonprofit organization. Governed
by a separate board of directors, Merola is responsible for its own long-term
financial stability and fundraising, and is grateful to the hundreds of loyal
members, donors and foundations who support the Program.

--Karen Ames for Merola Opera

MasterCard and
Sonoma State University Unveil Long-Term Relationship in Support of the
Performing Arts

Effort to Support
Priceless Cultural and Music Experiences in Northern California

MasterCard and Sonoma State University today announced
details of a long-term relationship in support of the performing arts. Under
this relationship, MasterCard will become the title sponsor of the annual
MasterCard Performance Series.  The
company will also support the building of an outdoor pavilion for music and
dance at the Green Music Center, adjoining the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall.

On Tuesday evening, the Board of Trustees of the
California State University approved naming rights for the outdoor venue, to be
called the MasterCard Performing Arts Pavilion.  This is the first corporate partnership of its kind for the

“We continually look for ways to create stronger
connections with consumers by understanding their passions and interest to
provide them with priceless experiences and memories,” said Alfredo Gangotena,
chief marketing officer, MasterCard. 
“We look forward to a relationship with Sonoma State University to
deliver unique music-related access and experiences to the local community and
the larger northern California region.”

MasterCard has several long-standing relationships in the
world of entertainment. “We are very excited about our significant, long-term
partnership with MasterCard, one of the world’s best and most admired
companies,” said Sandy Weill, chairman of the Green Music Center Board of
Advisors. “Having the support of MasterCard further emphasizes what we at
Sonoma State continue to believe – this is a transformative project that will
create an innovative learning environment for students and will provide an
economic boost to the area and help diversify its tourist base.”

As part of the relationship, Sonoma State University and
MasterCard will work together to offer a student internship program in the
field of entertainment and sponsorship management.  Additionally, MasterCard will work with Sonoma State University
to provide financial literacy programs or tools for the university’s students.
“Our vision is to aim high, reach wide, and educate all,” said Sonoma State
University president Ruben Armiñana. “We look forward to sharing this
extraordinary complex with music and art enthusiasts around the globe.”

Exclusive Pre-Sale Kicks Off Countdown to Grand Opening:

Located on the picturesque Sonoma State University campus
in the heart of California’s Sonoma wine region, Weill Hall officially opens
Saturday, September 29 with an Opening Night concert featuring Chinese piano
sensation Lang Lang.

Beginning Wednesday, July 18, MasterCard cardholders will
enjoy presale access to the twenty Priceless performances that comprise the
2012-13 MasterCard Performance Series (Sept. 29, 2012 through April 27, 2013).
Tickets go on-sale to the general public on Sunday, July 29.

A focal point for music in the region, the inaugural
season in Weill Hall features an array of internationally acclaimed performers
including vocalists Stephanie Blythe, Eli-na Garanc(a, Joyce DiDonato and
Barbara Cook; celebrated classical soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Vadim Repin, Wynton
Marsalis and Anne-Sophie Mutter; acclaimed early music ensembles Philharmonia
Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, Tallis Scholars and Il Complesso Barocco; and
Latin jazz greats Chucho Valdés and Buika. The Santa Rosa Symphony, Resident
Orchestra, offers a full season of programming at the Green Music Center and
the San Francisco Symphony will perform four concerts.

The Green Music Center complex allows for the integration
of performing arts, particularly in the fields of music and dance. The
MasterCard Performing Arts Pavilion will be located on the northeast side of
the complex, and will add to the versatile venue arrangement by offering an
ideal location for larger outdoor performances. Currently in the planning
stages, the Pavilion will provide the ability to book an expanded range of
performers including more contemporary music and dance.

--Karen Ames for Sonoma State

The Century opens at The Star

Golden Century Group reveals The Century

New Cantonese restaurant at The Star now open

Sydney:  The Golden Century Group today opened its new Cantonese restaurant at The Star, THE CENTURY, with a traditional Chinese dragon ceremony for over 200 Sydney siders. Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess from the Rabbitohs, Dr Charlie Teo and Sami Lukis were amongst those to enjoy the colourful display and get a sneak preview at the new restaurant which opens to the public at 6pm on Sunday 22 July.

THE CENTURY, which when translated in Cantonese means, ‘essence of Golden Century’, is the latest dining experience from The Golden Century Group, which has opened some of the most popular dining institutions in Sydney since 1989.  THE CENTURY still retains the menu and seafood offered by Golden Century restaurant in Chinatown, but also showcases a new interior concept, which has been designed by Paring Onions based in Hong Kong.  THE CENTURY’s new look playfully incorporates symbolisms of Chinese culinary culture with a refreshing and modern twist. 

Innovative design features that visitors will experience at THE CENTURY include:

·         The Great Wall of Chopsticks! The interior of THE CENTURY features a Great Wall of Chopsticks that pays respect to this imperative Chinese dining utensil. Paring Onions designed a series of handmade wall tiles compiled by 82,320 chopsticks, creating a unique wall surface and subtle texture
·         Over 300 tea cups and 5kms of fibre optics to create an eye catching light feature that again pays its tribute to a symbol of Chinese cuisine
·         Fifteen double glazed aquarium tanks line the entrance, emphasising the use of the very best fresh and live seafood, prepared and served multiple ways by the award winning chefs

Alex Wong, Director at Pairing Onions said, ”When designing THE CENTURY, it was critical to keep the Golden Century’s unique culture in mind, but it was also a great opportunity to introduce a refreshing modern side of the group, inspired by a creative take on Chinese dining customs.”

THE CENTURY offers a menu designed to highlight the use of live seafood and fresh ingredients in creating authentic Cantonese classics and favourites of the well-known and original Golden Century.

Following on from the acclaim and recognition of the Golden Century wine list by Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine and Wine Spectator, THE CENTURY has also compiled a wine list worthy of the modern design concept and setting of the new restaurant.

Frederic Luvisutto, managing director of The Star, added, ”We’re delighted to have such a well respected and much loved business, like the Golden Century Group, join our award winning suite of restaurants here at The Star. From the modern design to the delicious menu, we’re predicting THE CENTURY will be a must visit destination for our guests.”

THE CENTURY is located on the ground level of The Star on Pirrama Road and completes The Star’s culinary collection of restaurants following its $870 million redevelopment. THE CENTURY now joins David Chang’s Momofuku, Teage Ezard’s BLACK by ezard, Stefano Manfredi’s Balla, and modern Japanese restaurant Sokyo, as well as Zumbo Patisserie, Flying Fish and Chips, Fat Noodle and Bistro 80.

The restaurant seats 220 people and houses stylish private and semi-private dining rooms for groups of 6 to 70 people. It serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Sarah De Bono opens Kiehl’s store in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia

Sarah De Bono opens Kiehl’s apothecary health and beauty store in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia...

Saturday the 21st of July reality TV superstar Sarah De Bono dazzled the northshore shopping mecca of Chatswood Chase with the official ribbon cutting and opening of the Kiehl's boutique.

Kiehl's since 1851 is a quintessential New York label with an apothecary line up that will satisfy ant skin care need.


De Bono from 'The Voice' fame, whose album is currently number 9 in the iTunes charts, cut the ribbon at midday.

Customers received 10 per cent off their purchases and Kiehl's is donating 10 per cent of sales to De Bono's chosen charity, Musicians Making a Difference.

It is the New York-based skincare brand's first Sydney store.

In case you didn't know Kiehl’s was founded as an apothecary in New York’s East Village neighborhood over 160 years ago, and they have been expanding the luxury franchise outlets around Australia over the past number of years.

Ingredients are the single most important component their their products and they have always proudly displayed theirs.

Ingredients are not chosen on their aesthetic merit – only formulas with ingredients that are truly beneficial to the skin are selected. They select many naturally derived ingredients for use in the formulations, and they are committed to utilizing only the most gentle and efficacious formulas for maximum benefit and results.

Kiehl's is a very community and philanthropic minded company. Giving is the embodiment of "The Mission of Kiehl’s". Written over 30 years ago by Kiehl’s founding family, their Mission clearly stated their belief in the importance of giving back to the communities in which they serve customers every day.


For the Holiday season 2010, in stores in Australia only, Kiehl’s was pleased to announce a collaboration with one of the foremost recognized Australian iconic artists, Ken Done who is using his creative genius to help children in need around the world. With the shared vision to help to create safer, stronger local communities for children, the Kiehl’s and DONE partnership raised awareness and funds through the sale of a Limited Edition Crème de Corps Holiday Collection, comprised of a three-product offering. Each product in the collection featured the artwork of ‘Postcard June’ (2007, acrylic on canvas, 91 x 122cm). 100% of Kiehl’s net profits from the sale of each product in Australia were donated to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, the world’s leading advocate for children. 

In Australia Kiehl’s continue to partner with leading charity, Red Kite. Every month they collect money to support children in need and organize shop for a cause events.

Today's special appearance has become a topic of conversation in the Australian beauty industry.

Kiehl's continues to innovate in an ultra impressive fashion - be it with products, services, or out of the box media and marketing campaigns.


Kiehl's makes a grand entrance at Chatswood Chase Sydney!

Since 1851, Kiehl’s has had a devoted group of patrons (models and moguls among them) flocking to their original Third Ave apothecary for medicinal and herbal tonics. Their herbal-based apothecary skincare formulas and tell-it-like-it-is packaging have garnered the devotion of generations of no-fuss types world-wide who like to keep their lives simple. 

Founded by John Kiehl, the store began as a homeopathic pharmacy. Its unique background represents a blend of cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal and medicinal knowledge and experience acquired through the family’s generations. All products are made by hand using the finest ingredients available (and Kiehl's "secret" formulations).


Kiehl’s (Australia)

Chatswood Chase, Sydney

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

Maxim magazine celebrates 1st birthday at The Star, Sydney, Australia

Marquee Sydney helps Maxim celebrate first birthday...

Last night at The Star popular men's magazine, Maxim Australia, celebrated its first birthday.

If you didn't know already, Maxim is a lad's mag, and this issue is blessed with Australian sports model, Lauryn Eagle. Did we mention Lauren is a boxer, kick boxer, water skier and more! She's also one of Australia's most popular sports models these days.

The magazine and is sponsors, advertisers, models and everyone else associated with it should be happy with tonight's turn out, and any print magazine out of Australia that is still in business does have something to celebrate.

Joining Lauryn were other names and celebs including Brittany Bloomer, Grant Dwyer, Rochelle Fox, Nacho Pop, Brittany and Anthony Cairns, Annalise Braakensiek.

Well done to everyone involved in tonight's birthday success.

Wrap Up...

The Star's tag line is 'There will be stories', and its a sure bet Star will keep living up to that if tonight was any indication. A casino matched with Maxim Australia, a media pack, models and more - that's going to make news.


The Star

Echo Entertainment

Maxim Australia

Music News Australia

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Tommy Fleming, returning to Australia

Artist Network presents the ‘Voice of Ireland’ Tommy Fleming, returning to Australia in November to celebrate twenty years in the music industry and the release of his Platinum Collection.
Tommy brings his own beautiful interpretation of classic and contemporary songs such as Bridge Over Troubled Water, The Isle of Innisfree, Something Inside So Strong, “the best version of Danny Boy - bar none” (Eric Clapton),and many others you know and love.

His recording and performing credentials speak for themselves; with over 32 platinum albums under his belt and has already brought his mesmerising voice to audiences around the world, performing in prestigious venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall.

But earlier in his career, shortly after securing a solo record deal everything looked set to flourish
when a near fatal car accident left the singer with a broken neck leaving his music career on-hold indefinitely.

After many months of convalescents, Tommy took time out to spend three months in famine-stricken Sudan, working with the relief charity GOAL.

Tommy returned to the stage having had to start over and is now regarded as one of the finest singers worldwide and is currently enjoying a hugely successful career spanning the last 20 years.

Returning to Australia for his third tour will delight his legion of Aussie fans with a reputation of drawing capacity crowds during his previous Australian tours.

“I love coming to Australia. I can’t wait to return because I love the people and the easy going way they live their lives and of course the weather,“ he says. “It really feels like my home away from home.”

Celebrating his twenty year anniversary in the music industry Tommy has released a stunning 3 CD, 40 track
“Platinum Collection” – now available in all good music stores around Australia.

Each album has its own, unique style – Including: “The Irish Collection”, “The Contemporary Collection” and “The Duet’s Collection”.

Containing songs spanning Tommy’s twenty year career including Tommy’s very first studio recording – Loving Hannah – recorded in 1991, this beautifully packaged 3CD set also contains previously unreleased tracks – making it the essential collection for Tommy Fleming fans.

A Tommy Fleming concert is a musical experience not to be missed.

He has a universal appeal to all ages and backgrounds with a fan base that is growing stronger worldwide year by year.

Tour dates are set with tickets now on sale. /

Adam: Giselle, highlights (CD review)

Andrew Mogrelia, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. Naxos 8.572924.

Giselle ou Les Wilis, which French composer Adophe Adam (1803-1856) premiered in 1841, has been around as a staple of Romantic ballet music for over a century and a half, and for good reason. The story of Giselle has all the ingredients for great listening: a supernatural, melodramatic plot involving dead spirits and curses and such; a young hero and heroine in love; a cruel if not downright evil villainess; and an appropriately rousing yet sentimental finale. It's hard for any conductor not to be able to bring out the beauty and excitement of the score, and Andrew Morgrelia does it as well as almost anyone in this set of highlights from his complete Naxos recording.

People have made many cuts, additions, and changes to the ballet's working score over the years, so having only the highlights isn't as drastic a situation as you may imagine. In fact, the shorter score is probably best of all for home listening. At about an hour, it has not only the advantage of conciseness but of continuity, presenting the work's best and most well-known music in a seamless medley.  Besides, the highlights fit nicely on a single disc. For those requiring the full score, I can recommend Mogrelia, of course, from which this set derives; plus Fistoulari's old recording with the LSO (Mercury) and Bonynge's with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Decca), all in two-disc sets. They include almost every bit of music Adam wrote for the work and additional material he didn't write, along with every possible repeat. However, I would also add that if it's only the highlights you want and you're willing to pay a little more for the very best, the folks at HDTT have remastered Jean Martinon's 1958 recording with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestre, and it benefits from not only the best performance of the music ever but the best sound as well.

Anyway, back to Mogrelia. His interpretation of the score is graceful and elegant in a smoothly Romantic manner. It's not quite as characterful as Martinon's version or the others, but at least it's close. Let's say Mogrelia's rendition is more genteel than Martinon's, Fistoulari's, or Bonynge's.

Mogrelia and his Slovak players produce a performance that sounds very balletic as opposed to one intended solely for the concert stage. That is, Mogrelia appears to be leading an actual ballet production rather than making a stereo recording. Although there is not too much in his rendering to set the blood to racing, there is a great deal of beauty and lyrical refinement involved. The Slovak Radio Symphony play with a charming ease, even if they are not always as polished as some other big-time orchestras in this work.

Naxos took the highlights for this 2012 disc from Mogrelia's complete set, recorded in the Concert Hall of Slovak Radio, Bratislava, in 1994. The sound is big, warm, round, and sometimes a little thick in a typically Naxos way, with a soft glow occasioned by the resonance of the hall. Moreover, while you also hear a kind of velvety texture to the sonics, which is pleasing and easy on the ear, there isn't a lot of orchestral depth or much dynamic punch involved, except in the first act March and a couple of other places where we find a few good bass thumps. Still, you get a wide soundstage and a feeling of sheer size, even if the midrange is a tad veiled.


The Voice Finalists perform live at Warringah Mall, Sydney, Australia

Darren Percival, Sarah De Bono and Rachael Leahcar enjoyed a public appearance at Warringah Mall, on Sydney's northern beaches this afternoon.

The former contestants on Channel Nine's 'The Voice' were there to promote their music of course.

Hundreds of passionate fans showed up to offer their support and a few lucky ones who bought CD's of their favourite performers from 'The Voice' got them autographed. Their music can also be enjoyed via iTunes.

Nova sponsored the event.

Music remains a popular medium in the reality TV industry. The Voice (U.S) is currently screening on Australian TV, but has not enjoyed the same ratings success as the Australian version.

We wish all of the performing artists well as their careers continue to evolve in front of appreciative Australian audiences.


iTunes - Sarah De Bono

The Voice (Australia)

Warringah Mall


Channel Nine

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3 "Organ” (CD review)

Also, Danse macabre; The Carnival of the Animals; Allegro appassionato. Louis Fremaux, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. EMI Classics for Pleasure 0946 3 82233 2.

This is just a note
in case you're counting the number of times record companies have released
Louis Fremaux's recording of Saint-Saens’s "Organ"
over the years.

EMI first released
the recording in 1972 on their Columbia Studio 2 vinyl label, EMI's answer to
Decca's Phase Four at the time. It was quite a spectacular LP in its day and
recorded, as I remember, in four channels. But EMI never officially imported it
to this country, and EMI's American Angel division never to my knowledge issued
it over here. Instead, Klavier released it on LP in the U.S., Klavier being one
of the country’s smaller record companies and specializing back then in taking
up some of the slack left by the bigger outfits. Appealingly, the Klavier LP
mastering was leaner sounding and in some ways more transparent than the
original EMI. After that, in the late 70's, EMI issued a second LP of the work
in their mid-priced Greensleeve series. This time the sound seemed even warmer
and more bass dominant than before.

Then came the CD era
in the early Eighties, and again it was Klavier who first issued a full-priced
CD of the recording in America. And again the Klavier sonics were slightly more
natural sounding than the subsequent, mid-priced EMI Studio CD that followed it
in the U.S. After that, Klavier withdrew the recording from their catalogue.
Meanwhile, EMI issued it several more times, the recording appearing in a
bargain-priced, two-CD Seraphim set, on a mid-priced Eminence disc, and on the
current Classics for Pleasure issue. In between time, a company called Royal
Classics issued it (1994) coupled with a Dvorak Ninth Symphony conducted by Rudolf Kempe. Interestingly, the EMI
English sound has remained consistent over the years--warm, mellow, bassy, and
robust--just as Klavier's sound filled in a little more of the middle.

Why do I mention any
of this at all? Because Fremaux's performance of the "Organ" Symphony is the only version I have ever felt was
worthy of mentioning in the same breath as Charles Munch's famous 1959 RCA
recording with the Boston Symphony (available on RCA or at extra cost on an
XRCD audiophile remaster by JVC). The Fremaux performance deserves its multiple
releases. The interpretation displays energy, zest, excitement, and grace
aplenty, with a second-movement Adagio
that flows over the listener in soft, warm waves.

My only minor concern at the moment is that if one wants
the absolute best sound in the Fremaux recording, one has to find a used copy
of the old Klavier (LP or CD), and that may be difficult without paying an arm
and a leg for it. Maybe someday one of the audiophile houses--FIM or HDTT,
perhaps--will remaster it, and we’ll have the best of all worlds. In the
meantime, the Classics for Pleasure release contains not only the symphony,
which is brief at well under half an hour, but good performances of the Danse macabre, The Carnival of the Animals, and the Allegro appassionato as well. It’s quite a bargain.


UK up and coming talent hosted by Nick Grimshaw at exclusive music biz event

Three of the UK’s most exciting and credible artists Friendly Fires, Mylo and Joe Goddard will mentor the next generation of talent...

Get togethers of music industry talent, top brass and the like, with helpful sponsors and supports, still have their place in the world, as is the case with our friends in the biz up in the United Kingdom...

The best of the UK’s up-and-coming talent was unveiled at an exclusive London launch party hosted by Nick Grimshaw, performing infront of key music industry influencers and celebrity guests including Pixie Geldoff, Caroline Flack and Jameela Jamil. 

Friendly Fires, Mylo and Joe Goddard have each selected an artist to mentor and showcase their sound to a wider audience. Friendly Fires is working with twisted-pop duo AlunaGeorge, Mylo is showcasing Ronika, a singer, songwriter and producer from Nottingham, and Joe Goddard is mentoring vocalist Jessie Ware, who is due to release her debut album in August 2012.

The established artists will each be given a £10,000 Bacardi Beginnings bursary that will be used to raise the profile of their chosen artists, whether it’s producing an exclusive remix, putting on a gig in an unusual location, or creating an exciting collaboration.

Bacardi Beginnings will provide a platform for these handpicked musicians to raise their profile in a very competitive industry, while marking Bacardi's 150th anniversary of throwing great parties, and bringing people together over great music and great drinks.

This exclusive web video shows these established artists showcasing their selected acts in London, together with interviews with the artists and Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw.




Jessie Ware

Bacardi Beginnings

Digital News Agency (multimedia footage)

TVC Group


Beginning their 35th year as the “kings of disco”, VILLAGE PEOPLE in recent years performed a full schedule of fairs, festivals, universities and casinos throughout the United States as well as Canada, Brazil, France, Japan, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Romania, South Africa, Mexico and Poland and now they happily return to the Australia! VILLAGE PEOPLE are RAY SIMPSON (Cop & lead singer), ALEXANDER BRILEY (G.I./Military), FELIPE ROSE (Native American Indian), DAVID HODO (Construction Worker), JEFF OLSON (Cowboy) and ERIC ANZALONE (Biker) and they are touring Australia in November 2012 for three Concert engagements, proudly presented by Dennis Smith. Tickets on Sale Date: Monday July 30, 2012.

Friday November 23, 2012 - ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY - Bookings: Ticketek 132 849 or
Saturday November 24, 2012 - PALAIS THEATRE, MELBOURNE - Bookings: Ticketmaster 
Ticketmaster 136 100 or
Sunday November 25, 2012 - JUPITERS THEATRE, GOLD COAST - Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 888 086 

Highlighted Background on VILLAGE PEOPLE:
Having sold more than 100 million recordings, VILLAGE PEOPLE were an instant phenomenon in the ‘70s and ‘80s with hits "San Francisco/In Hollywood", "Macho Man", "YMCA", "In the Navy", "Go West" and many more. They starred in their own 1980 major feature movie "Can't Stop the Music" co-starring Steve Guttenberg, Bruce Jenner, Valerie Perrine, Paul Sand, June Havoc, Tammy Grimes and directed by Nancy Walker. It remains a popular cult film around the world. The group has won many worldwide awards including the American Music Award-Favorite Musical Group 1979, AGVA's Georgie Award, West Germany's Gold Lion Award for music excellence, Brazil's 1981 Award for Best Act, etc. In September 2008, VILLAGE PEOPLE finally received a “Star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – between Betty Grable and Liberace! 
VILLAGE PEOPLE hits have been heard on dozens of major motion pictures including "Up Periscope", "Wayne’s World II", "Addams Family Values" and "In and Out". Their own film "Can’t Stop the Music" celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2011 as a world-wide cult favorite. They were seen on Fox’s "Wendy Williams Show", NBC’s “Singing Bee” with Joey Fatone and a recent American Express TV commercial with Ellen Degeneres and Beyonce. They have performed in recent years on the "Jay Leno Show, the Rosie O’Donnell Show, "Oprah", Dick Clark’s New Years Eve celebration and "Married with Children".  They were also featured in advertisements for “Trivial Pursuit’s 20th Anniversary Edition (they are also featured as a question). They were half-time entertainment for Australia’s Rugby Grand Finals, seen by more people than the Super Bowl in the U.S.  Their music is played during the seventh inning stretch at dozens of Baseball Stadiums and they often entertain sports fans with live performances following basketball, soccer and hockey games as well. At the final All-Star Game in the “old” Yankee Stadium, they performed “YMCA” with the groundskeepers. 
The one-of-a-kind Village People is synonymous with dance music.  These six talented men consisting of RAY SIMPSON (Cop & lead singer), ALEXANDER BRILEY (G.I./Military), FELIPE ROSE (Native American Indian), DAVID HODO (Construction Worker), JEFF OLSON (Cowboy) and ERIC ANZALONE (Biker) combine energetic choreography with outrageous fun and lots of bumping and grinding, singing and dancing, and provide great entertainment for all!

Ladyhawke performs at Metro Theatre, Sydney, Australia

New Zealand's Pip Brown (Ladyhawke) performed at Sydney's Metro Theatre tonight to an appreciative audience.

She's not quite a household name (yet), but many leading artists took years to get on the national or international radar.

Ladyhawke has released her second album 'Anxiety', and has also secured a headline tour plus a few big festival dates.

Apart from her unique sound, which someone was overheard saying "a more spiritual version of early David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, shades of Nirvana, and Blondie - Debra Harry", the Kiwi also has an interesting look...heavily lined eyes, untamed blonde hair and a grungy dress thing going on.

Anxiety demonstrates a different side of Ladyhawke with rocking beats and also ballads such as ‘Cellophane’, and at other times she takes you back to her pop tradition with numbers such as ‘Black, White & Blue’ and 'Blue Eyes'.

On her music Ms Hawke said "I wanted the album to feel like it could fall apart at times and that the songs were just trying to hold it all together with these little bleeps in and out of the songs all the way through for no rhyme or reason. I wanted the music to be anxious."

Support band was 'All The Colours' who were very solid.

Well done to everyone associated with the success of tonight's entertainment.


Ladyhawke Music

Ladyhawke YouTube

Metro Theatre, Sydney

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia