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Ballads of the Pleasant Life: Nexas Quartet
  • Ballads of the Pleasant Life: Nexas Quartet
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$24.99

“You will hear music created on the brink of cataclysm, proclaiming as it does with such intensity the survival of art and beauty in a hostile world. Any new recording of music from the short-lived Weimar Republic deserves our rapt attention, and now the world-renowned Australian baritone, Peter Coleman-Wright, offers a thrilling selection from this repertoire.” – Barry Humphries, in his introduction to Ballads of the Pleasant Life.

Distinguished baritone Peter Coleman-Wright steps off the world’s opera stages to present a rare recording of music close to his heart: the remarkable songs written as the Weimar Republic descended into Nazism in the 1920 and ‘30s, by composers at home in Germany and Austria who were then forced to flee into exile. These songs capture the spirit of the times: defiant, soulful and searching, but also capable of moments of exuberant joy and hope.

The music of Kurt Weill sits at the heart of the album. We meet Weill’s infamous creation Mack the Knife, who first saw the light of day in 1920s Berlin and soon became a smash hit. A prominent Jew, Weill fled Germany in 1933. In America, he found his new musical home in the theatre, collaborating with lyricists Ira Gershwin and Maxwell Anderson, including his hilarious catalogue of Russian composers “Tschaikowsky” and the timeless ode “There’ll Be Love, Life and Laughter”.

For Weill’s generation, music was the language of protest. Austrians Hanns Eisler and Alexander von Zemlinsky wrote popular songs from the perspective of the downtrodden: the miners, the cotton packers and many more besides.

Amidst all this, there were flashes of humour, and the desire to take the rare joys of life by both hands. The album closes with a series of love songs, often sentimental, always heartfelt: film composer Robert Stolz’ praise for the beauties of life’s autumn years; Arnold Schoenberg’s elegy to the exquisite agony of separation; and Franz Schreker’s melancholy tribute to transient love.

Peter Coleman-Wright is regarded as one of the world’s leading baritones, with a stellar career in the world’s leading concert halls including Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Met in New York and the Sydney Opera House; he finds the perfect foil for this music in the Sydney-based Nexas Quartet. The arrangements of these songs for baritone and saxophone quartet, created especially for this album, reflect a combination that would have been familiar to the clubs and bars where much of this music was first performed.

Peter Coleman-Wright baritone Nexas Quartet Benjamin Burton piano

Track Listing: 1. WEILL Ballade vom angenehmen Leben (Ballad of the Pleasant Life) 2. WEILL September Song 3. WEILL Les Filles de Bordeaux (The Girls of Bordeaux) 4. WEILL Kanonen-Song 5. WEILL Moritat von Mackie Messer (Ballad of Mack the Knife) 6. WEILL There’ll Be Life, Love and Laughter 7. WEILL Tschaikowsky 8. WEILL Anstatt daß-Song 9. WEILL Song of the Free 10. EISLER Lied der Bergarbeiter (Song of the Miners) 11. ZEMLINSKY Lied der Baumwollpacker (Song of the Cotton Packers) 12. EISLER Stempellied (Benefit Stamp Song) 13. EISLER Gruß an die Mark Brandenburg (Greetings to Brandenburg March) 14. WEILL Tango-Ballade 15. STOLZ Schön war’s heute Abend (This Evening Was Beautiful) 16. SCHREKER Die Rosen und der Flieder (The Rose and the Lilac) 17. SCHOENBERG Dank (Thank You) 18. STOLZ Ein schöner Herbst (A Beautiful Autumn) 19. STOLZ Ich hab’ mich tausendmal verliebt (I’ve Fallen in Love a Thousand Times) 20. KORNGOLD Glückwunsch (I Wish You Bliss)

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Current : Nexas Quartet
  • Current : Nexas Quartet
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$19.99

'Current' is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the ensemble and is a reflection of their collaborations with leading Australian composers.

Featuring music from national treasures Matthew Hindson, Elena Kats-Chernin, Matthew Orlovich, Daniel Rojas and Lachlan Skipworth this recording demonstrates the versatility of Nexas and their desire to promote unique Australian compositional voices.

Based in Sydney, the Nexas Quartet is at the forefront of Australian chamber music. The ensemble is focused on promoting the musical diversity of the saxophone by showcasing its versatility and ability to cross genres.

Nexas Quartet offers a twist as a refreshing alternative to the generic string quartet format, with an extensive and diverse repertoire ranging from transcriptions, standard and contemporary repertoire, to collaborations with theatre companies as well as premiering and commissioning new works that reflects their artistic direction. Since 2002, Nexas Quartet has performed extensively throughout Australia and premiered numerous Australian new works domestically and internationallyat the World Saxophone Congress in Scotland and France.

In 2013 Nexas Quartet performed at the prestigious APRA Awards as well as at the heart of Australia in Uluru for the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. Sell out concerts have been the hallmark of Nexas Quartet's Concert Series since 2014, presenting exciting and diverse programs with some of Australia’s finest artists including: Gerard Willems AM (pianist), Daniel Rojas (pianist), Nicky Crayson (jazz vocalist), David Theak (jazz saxophonist and bandleader), Frank Celata (SSO clarinettist) and Peter Coleman‐Wright OA (opera singer). Other collaborations include the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of “Jumpy” with composer and sound artist Drew Crawford and the premiere of Matthew Hindson and Cyrus Meurant’s “Romeo and Juliet", commissioned by the National College of Dance.

Tracklisting:

Elena Kats-Chernin: From Anna Magdalena's Notebook

  1. Polonaise 1'56
  2. Musette 2'48
  3. Aria 3'40
  4. Minuet 2'48
  5. Polonaise 1'51
  6. Minuet 1'59

Daniel Rojas

  1. Nostalgia 3'24

Matthew Orlovich: Slipstream

  1. Allegro, alla fanfara 3'27
  2. Con ritmo 3'24
  3. Sentirsi bene 3'43

Matthew Hindson: Scenes from Romeo and Juliet

  1. Overture 2'29
  2. Juliet 3'06
  3. Romeo 2'17
  4. Juliet and Romeo's Love Scene 7'10
  5. Duel 5'32
  6. The Death of Romeo and Juliet 5'29

Lachlan Skipworth

  1. Dark Nebulae 9'50

Total Time 64'56

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Nexas Saxophone Quartet

Featuring five new Australian works for saxophone quartet. This project was commissioned by Kammerklang.

  • Waiting - Marcus Whale
  • Genie in a Cup - Sarah Myerson
  • Schorched Earth - Joseph Power
  • Interweave - Cameron Lam
  • The Last Flight of Saint-Ex - Katia Beaugeais


Nexas Saxophone Quartet: Ben Carey (soprano sax), James Nightingale (alto sax), Andrew Smith (tenor sax), Nathan Henshaw (baritone saxophone).

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