In January 1988, our sound engineers recorded a number of recitals held in the Vestibule of the Sydney Town Hall. They were part of the Bicentennial Festival of Sydney. Two of the outstanding artists in this series were Lauris Elms and Roger Woodward. The voice of Lauris Elms at this time was at its peak and the recital consisted of Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben (sic), Mahler’s Rückert Songs and several songs by Jesús Guridi. Roger Woodward’s recitals encompassed the complete piano works of Chopin and seven of these concerts were rescued from reel-toreel tape.
Another early recording worthy of note was a concert of the Philharmonia Motet Choir and the Australian Chamber Orchestra with Peter Seymour conducting in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. It featured violinist John Harding playing the Vivaldi ‘Spring’ sonata. The Australian premiere of Michel Corrette’s setting of Psalm 148, Laudate Dominum based on Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ sonata was performed by the choir and soloists who also sang Vivaldi’s Psalm 100, Dixit Dominus. Over many years, and still continuing today, we have had a strong relationship with the Sydney Mozart Society and have recorded their many high quality concerts featuring the most excellent chamber groups and instrumentalists. Special mention should be made of Donald Hazelwood, Carl Pini, Rachel Valler and their associated chamber musicians who provided so many outstanding concerts. Numerous recordings have been made of Kathryn Selby as a solo pianist and with the various chamber combinations which she has organised which have included violinists Charmian Gadd and Susie Park and cellist Timo-Veikko Valve.
The Ku-Ring-Gai Virtuosi, organised by clarinettist Deborah de Graaff, was another group of musicians who also gave us excellent concerts featuring, amongst others, soprano Adele Johnston, violinists Charmian Gadd, Natsuko Yoshimoto and Marina Marsden, cellists Georg Pedersen and Timo-Veikko Valve, and pianists John Winther, Len Vorster, Natalia Sheludiakova and Bernadette Balkus. Georg Pedersen has featured in two outstanding cello recitals: Masterpieces of the Franco-Belgian Repertoire (Ysaÿe, Franck, Debussy, Tortelier) with pianist David Miller and a recital of Grieg, Falla and Rachmaninov with pianist Natalia Sheludiakova.
The Australian String Quartet (in various combinations over the years), the Sydney Soloists, the Australia Ensemble, the Goldner String Quartet, the Sydney Chamber Choir and the Sydney Philharmonia Choir have been regular subjects of our concert recordings. Newer ensembles have carried on the tradition of fine music excellence and they include the Omega Ensemble, the Australian Haydn Ensemble, Duo Histoire and the Acacia Quartet. There are many other excellent musicians who have been recorded both in concert and in the studio at Fine Music and we apologise for not mentioning them individually.
– Elaine Siversen