Melba Recordings

Melba eNews | 21 March 2017


Leslie Howard in 1976 (photo courtesy Ron Layton) The towering colossus of romantic piano, Leslie Howard, is in Melbourne delivering Masterclasses at his alma mater, Monash University. Leslie’s next performance is at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday 26 March.

Music-lovers fortunate enough to attend will be treated to a recital of Liszt, whose music Leslie has championed with irresistible energy. His recording of the complete piano works of Liszt, spanning ninety-nine CDs made over nine years, is a monumental achievement unparalleled by any pianist. Leslie’s Liszt Edition has been described as “one of the most staggering achievements in classical music” and has earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for “the completion of the largest recording project ever undertaken by a solo recording artist, including pop artists.”

Leslie Howard in 1976 (photo courtesy Ron Layton) Leslie’s extraordinary recording career began over 40 years ago, when, in Melbourne in 1976, he recorded the complete works for piano of Percy Grainger; another internationally acclaimed release which has remained in the catalogue ever since.

The producer was Melba Founder and CEO Maria Vandamme, and the enduring success of Howard’s Grainger recording stands as testament to Vandamme’s credo “great recordings are forever”.

Photos courtesy Ron Layton
 LESLIE HOWARD’S TRIBUTE TO THE BELLE EPOQUE In Leslie Howard’s next Melba release, he collaborates with the respected Italian pianist Mattia Ometto, in another world premiere: Belle Époque, the Complete Works for two Pianos and Piano Duet by Reynaldo Hahn.

Hahn was a composer beloved in the sophisticated Paris salons of the early 20th Century. Leslie pleads the case for a long overdue revival of Hahn's instrumental music, in performances brimming with the hallmarks of French musical art: ‘luxe, calme et volupté’ - luxury, elegance and refinement.

Prior to CD release the recording is also available to purchase via download in mp3 or CD quality audio. And mp3 samples of the new recording are available to audition on the Melba website.

The “Melba Sound” has received many plaudits internationally. It is a recorded sound that has been studiously refined over more than 40 years by Melba’s Maria Vandamme, who drew on her passion for the sound of the great Decca recordings of the 1960s golden era of analogue classical music recording, and which she subsequently honed through work with many of the foremost figures in international classical music recording.

Following the Leslie Howard Grainger recording Maria Vandamme worked with the legendary Decca music producer John Culshaw. It was Culshaw who had given Melba’s distinguished Chair, Barry Tuckwell AC OBE FRCM FRSA, his start as a recording artist, leading to Tuckwell’s unprecedented and stellar career on the international stage as a touring horn virtuoso. Barry’s legacy is preserved for future generations in his acclaimed catalogue of over 50 recordings, a truly remarkable achievement.

Another Melba board member is national treasure, broadcaster, journalist and public-sector intellectual Terry Lane. Terry will be best known to many through his long running and always stimulating radio programs on ABC radio, and more recently, by his in-depth articles and reviews on photography, under the pseudonym “Imaging” in the Age’s Green Guide. Amongst Terry’s other abiding passions are music and audiophile recording, as the two offerings that follow illustrate.

Back in 1963 the Deutsche Grammophon record company created a recording milestone with a complete cycle of Beethoven's symphonies performed by the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra under the baton of Herbert von Karajan.

The record set of eight LPs was nicely packaged in a handsome box and cost so much that I bought mine by instalment from Time-Life in 1970, the bi-centenary of Beethoven's birth.

Read on...

Should you ever have the urge to hear the sound that engineers hear when they are recording the original musical performance that will eventually be transferred to disc then you need a good pair of headphones.

For critical listening and judgment of levels, balance, placement of instruments in the stereo image and tonal qualities engineers rely on top quality headphones, not on the studio monitor speakers.

Terry Lane recently went looking for quality headphones that would take him into the audio world of the sound engineer. Arriving at an acceptable compromise of quality and price he settled on the Sennheiser HD700 headphones.

Read on...
 WHEN LOVE SPEAKS “When Love Speaks” is the debut release with Melba Recordings from the distinguished Australian composer and pianist Grant Foster, a world premiere of ten significant, original piano works.

Richard Bonynge says of Grant Foster “I love his music. Grant Foster has a rare ability to compose melodic and imaginative works demonstrating a high level of sophistication.”

"there’s nothing else quite like Grant Foster’s eloquent romanticism being produced today." FANFARE (USA)

“fine gift for melody…virtuosic, powerful & wonderfully phrased playing…impressive piano works that show Foster to be a distinctive voice” The Classical Reviewer

Grant is offering a selection of his compositions “Postcards from the Piano” on YouTube via his website.
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Melba Recordings: A label of fragrant distinction -- MusicWeb International
Melba Recordings Pty Ltd & Melba Foundation Ltd
PO Box 415, Elwood Victoria 3184 Australia
Phone: 613 9534 5004  Fax: 613 9593 8533  Email:
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