MELBA - The name that means perfection
Terry Lane, Melbourne broadcaster and writer.
MELBA is a name to conjure with—not just in Australia, but everywhere music is performed and enjoyed. Nellie Melba was the most famous Australian woman of her time. Her name is synonymous with music performance of unrivalled excellence. Which is why Maria Vandamme*, founder of MELBA RECORDINGS and the MELBA FOUNDATION, chose the great singer’s name to symbolise her dream—to give Australian musicians the opportunity to perform and record to the highest international standards, and to do it right here in Australia. MELBA RECORDINGS lives by the words of Dame Nellie: “It’s got to be perfection...”
MELBA RECORDINGS now has a catalogue of 69 compact discs. These recordings, made in Australia and in Europe with our finest singers, orchestras and virtuoso instrumentalists have received glowing reviews and awards from critics around the world.
The standards of MELBA RECORDINGS are there for you to hear and see. What we are putting before you is not only a promise for the future, but a solid record of what has already been achieved. Conductors of international renown—Richard Bonynge, David Lloyd-Jones, Simone Young, Barry Tuckwell and Guillaume Tourniaire—and singers of outstanding talent—Cheryl Barker, Steve Davislim, Rosamund Illing, Deborah Riedel and Gregory Yurisich—have recorded with MELBA. The cream of our instrumental virtuosi, including brilliant young performers just beginning their solo careers, are now on MELBA and being heard and admired here and abroad.
MELBA’s compact discs have been praised by critics everywhere for their musical, technical and production excellence.
On every count, this is a magnificent release. [Turbulent Heart] It is also a truly revelatory one, not least in highlighting the outstanding work being done by this distinguished Australian label. Gramophone [UK] December 2009 Editor’s Choice
Christopher Wrench [Bach Organ Sonatas] has a keyboard technique which is ideal for this music” MusicWeb International [UK] October 2009
All of these transcriptions [The Galant Bassoon] are played masterfully by Matthew Wilkie ... Lovely performances, warmly recorded with the sonic beauty we have come to expect from Melba." Classical CD Review [US] August 2009
Paul Dean [Sublime Mozart] shapes the lovely melodic arches in both works with a sure musical instinct, producing a rich, mellow tone and manifesting exceptional control - the softest notes always speak without a hint of breathiness...As is typical for this label, the packaging is lavish. The Absolute Sound [US] June/July 2009
Without further ado let me say Steve Davislim's account of Schubert's grippingly abject Winterreise cycle is a deeply-felt, superbly cogent performance; a credit to tenor, pianist, and Melba's recording team...Steve Davislim and Anthony Romaniuk have earned a place among the highest achievers in Schubert's finest lied creation. Music and Vision Daily [UK] March 2009
The young horn player Ben Jacks [Rhapsodie: Fantasie: Poème] succeeds in inhabiting each score with passion, intelligence and poetry. His technique works wonders in the most virtuoso passages, and one is amazed at the colours his instrument reveals. This is a great moment for concerto music. Opus HD [France] April 2009
A beautiful disc [Cherry Ripe] complemented by design to match and including the lyrics of the songs. Melba clearly takes great care not only with the quality of its recordings but also with the presentation of its products. In short, another disc well worth recommending. Web La Opera [Spain] 2 May 2009
Richard Bonynge, with perfect elegance, brings to life the subtleties of the dance rhythms that accompany the vocal line. Res Musica [France] 16 June 2009
Devotees of Ravel's exquisite chamber music need look no further than this fine collection by these young Australian players. *****5 stars performance/*****5 stars sonics SA-CD.NET [UK] July 2009
The presentation of the album [Tzigane]—both the music-making and the sound quality of the recording—attains a degree of perfection that would be difficult to surpass...this disc is absolutely indispensable. Mundo Clasico [Spain] May 2009 This is unusual, worthy music, [Hélène & Nuit persane] welcome additions to the catalog, superbly performed and recorded. Another class act from Melba! Classical CD Review [US] October 2008
A first-class production, [Back from Oblivion] with gorgeous recording acoustics, and stylish and masterful playing... a pleasurable listening experience and the liner notes are excellent... This is one CD to own and enjoy repeatedly. Historic Brass Society [USA] [31 December 2007]
Elizabeth Whitehouse brings intelligence, passion, and a strong interpretive personality to the arias...[Believe in Love] an attractive, light lyric voice [...] that's agile and expressive... Richard Bonynge leads Orchestra Victoria in elegant and passionate accompaniment.
Melba's sound is excellent - clear and present. AllMusic Guide [USA] January 2008
And so on… To read the many glowing reviews of our discs go to www.melbarecordings.com.au
Some of Melba’s emerging young artists: Back (left to right): Lin Jiang, Justin Williams, Pei-Jee Ng, David Tong, Benjamin Martin, Michelle Wood. Front (left to right): Lerida Delbridge, Pei-Sian Ng, Kristian Winther.
Maria Vandamme says: “We seek out the best talent, emerging and established, and provide the production resources for their performances and recordings. We put them on disc, film and television and take them to the world. We are in the business of finding and promoting new Nellie Melbas, Joan Sutherlands and Barry Tuckwells.
“We ask you to join in this venture by supporting MELBA FOUNDATION to assist us to produce great compact discs with conductor, orchestra, singer and production and post-production facilities. All over the world now record companies are turning to corporate and individual sponsors foundations and benefactors to help to make these expensive projects possible.
“What’s in it for the sponsor? Brand recognition—your corporate logo goes on the recording and your support is acknowledged. But, more importantly, the knowledge that you are contributing to an international reputation for Australia that includes culture, and lodges us in the world mind as more than a place of sportsmen, cuddly animals and deserted beaches.
“Cultural recognition is important for business credibility. When we think of Germany we think not only of Mercedes Benz, but also of the Berlin Philharmonic. They belong together as two sides of the nation’s cultural and intellectual reputation.
“Cultural reputation is important for tourism. Australia’s tourist industry is biased towards young back-packers, and we need more of the wealthier, mature travellers who value the cultural attractions of France, Austria and Italy. We should be creating the expectation in visitors that they can lie around on the beach during the day and, when the sun sets, take it for granted that the best opera and concert performances are about to begin in our halls and theatres.”
*“MARIA VANDAMME worked for twenty years as a music and recording producer at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She produced many recordings, including the phenomenal best seller, Simple Gifts, with Yvonne Kenny and the Melbourne Symphony.
In 1998 Maria left the ABC to pursue her dream of producing recordings of excellence, choosing her own performers, players and engineers. She works in the spirit of the great impresarios, betting her own judgement on her projects. She is the spiritual heiress of another famous Australian recording producer, Louise Hanson-Dyer, the founder, backer and artistic director of L’Oiseau-Lyre, the record label that almost single-handedly brought baroque music back into the standard repertoire and changed performance styles for all time. [see http://www.oiseaulyre.com/about.html for an account of Mrs Hanson-Dyer’s contribution to music in Melbourne and abroad, and Jim Davison’s book Lyrebird Rising, Miegunyah Press,]
Maria has the will, the talent and the industry experience needed to make MELBA RECORDINGS as internationally well-known as L’Oiseau-Lyre.