Popular Classical Top 100

Philharmonic, Sydney Classical Music Guide, Sydney Free Classical Music - Events News, Top 100

Sensual, rhythmic and emotionally stirring, No. 98 is Ravel’s Boléro, a famous one movement orchestral piece, originally commissioned as a ballet by a Russian ballerina (Ida Rubenstein). The video below is of Andre Rieu conducting Bolero at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne. Whilst Rieu has been criticised by some as being too ‘popular’, debussycat applauds him for bringing classical music to a wider audience.


No. 98




 by Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)


Click for Andrie Rieu’s recording of Bolero – Audio CD

Click for Andrie Rieu’s recording of Bolero – mp3

debussycat – Sydney free classical music & jazz music guide


We heart…

We heart...

music themed cupcakes.

 OK… perhaps this post is a little self indulgent, but I don’t care.

Cupcakes are soft, buttery and delicious and therefore deserving of our attention.

Musical Cupcake

Piano Cupcake

Piano cupcakes sitting on sheet music... apparently it's a Chopin Nocturne!

Musical Note Cupcakes

Treble Clef Cupcake

Baby Blue Piano Cupcakes


debussycat – Sydney classical music & jazz music guide

Popular Classical Top 100

Top 100

No. 99 is Pomp & Circumstance, a triumphant march often heard at American graduation ceremonies. You’ll recognise it at 1:56.  The title was actually taken from Act III, Scene iii of Shakespeare’s Othello:


Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”


No. 99


Pomp & Circumstance
(March No. 1 in D major)

by Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)


Click for Pomp and Circumstance Marches on CD – (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yehudi Menuhin)


debussycat – Sydney classical music & jazz guide

Popular Classical Top 100

Top 100

Beginning with No. 100, debussycat takes you through 100 popular classical hits. Our very first piece is an all time Debussy favourite, and the rendition below by German pianist Walter Gieseking is one of the very finest. Gieseking was widely respected for his interpretation and execution of Debussy.

No. 100

Clair de Lune

by Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Gieseking’s recording available here

debussycat – Sydney classical music & jazz music guide

How about a little lunch music?

Advertised Concerts
A Little Lunch Music is presented at City Recital Hall Angel Place in association with Selby and Friends.


Are you one of the many Sydney-siders who work in Sydney CBD? Do you feel guilty each time you while away your lunch hour eating alone at your desk and perusing facebook?  Well, so you should, because there are incredibly cheap lunchtime concerts taking place right at your doorstep.  
City Recital Hall & The Sydney Conservatorium of Music each offer their own lunchtime programs.   Whilst the City Recital Hall is a mere $12 per concert (or even less, if you purchase one of their packages, some of which include free tea/coffee), the Sydney Conservatorium concerts will only cost you a simple gold coin donation at the door. Grab a friend and check one out!  

City Recital Hall – ‘A Little Lunch Music’ – Fortnightly Concerts  

Concerts begin at 12:30pm  
April 11 – Sydney Brass. This renowned brass ensemble takes us on a journey spanning three centuries from Bach to the Beatles.
Click for bookings
May 10 –  Sydney Camerata and Kathryn Selby (piano). Series Artistic Director Kathryn Selby joins the award-winning Sydney Camerata in an all-Mozart program featuring both symphony and piano concerto.
Click for bookings

Sydney Conservatorium  – Weekly Lunch-break Concerts  

Concerts begin at 1:10pm at Verbrugghen Hall.  
Duration approximately 50 minutes
March 30  
April 6, 13, 20  
May 4, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25  
Click  for further information
 Bookings not required. If you have any special requirements or are bringing a group of 8 or more, phone +612 9351 1222 or email con.concerts@sydney.edu.au.  
debussycat – Sydney classical music & jazz music guide

Japan Disaster Appeal Concert

Advertised Concerts

Treat yourself to an afternoon of fine music and help the Red Cross efforts in Japan. 


WHEN:  Sunday 27th March, 2011 at 1:00pm

WHERE: Turramurra Uniting Church, 10 Turramurra Ave, Turramurra NSW 2074

CONTRIBUTION: Tickets $20 each. Payment on entry. Cash only (exact amount appreciated).

PRE-PURCHASE TICKETS & ENQUIRIES: Please contact Shiska Sword by email: jpcharityconcert@gmail.com


Aiko Goto (Violin: Member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra)

Satsuki Odamura (Japanese Koto player)

Airena Nakamura (Principle violin: Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra)

Suzuki Method children (Class of Yasuki Nakamura, The Honorary President of STEAA)

Kenichi Mizushima (Cello: AOBO)

Haruo Goto (Violin)

Laura McDonald (Piano), Itsuko Bara (Piano)

MASAKI (Violin: Japanese Artist)

and many more…

Click to Donate to Japan & Pacific Disaster 2011


 debussycat – Sydney classical music & jazz music guide

March 2011 – Events in Sydney



The Barber of Seville

Gioachino Rossini

Opera Australia

February 25

March 4, 10, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 29

Click for Information & Tickets



Opera Australia

March 12, 15, 18, 23, 26, 28, 31

Click for Information & Tickets


Georges Bizet

Opera Australia

February 26

March 2, 5, 9, 11, 16, 19, 22, 25, 30

Click for Information & Tickets 

Great Opera Hits on a Sunday Afternoon

Mozart, Verdi, Puccini

February 27

March 13

Click for Information & Tickets

Classics by Candlelight 

Woodford Uniting Church

February 25, 26

March 4, 5

Click for Information & Tickets



Mahler 6: Hammerblow of Fate

LISZT Piano Concerto No.2

MAHLER Symphony No.6

March 3, 4, 5

Click for Information & Tickets

Mahler 7, Night Music

Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor) &
Sayaka Shoji (violin)

MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E minor

MAHLER Symphony No.7

March 9, 11, 12

Click for Information & Tickets

Chamber Philharmonia Cologne

Kammerphilharmonie Köln 

March 5

Click for Information & Tickets

The Rest is Noise

Alex Ross

March 13

Click for Information & Tickets

Listen to This

Alex Ross

Australian Chamber Orchestra

March 16, 19

Click for Information & Tickets

Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra

BEETHOVEN Ruins of Athens Overture
MOZART Flute Concerto no 2
MENDELSSOHN Symphony no 3 op 56 A minor ‘Scottish’

 March 12, 13

Click for Information & Tickets

Mozart in March

Willoughby Symphony

March 27

Click for Information & Tickets



Cocktail Hour Recitals

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

March 21, 28

Click for Information & Tickets

Rise Up – A Concert for Christchurch

Christcurch Earthquake Appeal

March 27

Click for Information & Tickets

Musica Viva

Andreas Scholl

March 21

Click for Information & Tickets

Dean’s Gala Concert

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

March 23

Click for Information & Tickets


Radio Broadcasts

The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross – ABC Classic FM, Saturday 19 March,  1:00pm

Partenope – live – ABC Classic FM, Saturday 26 March, 1:00pm


Check out debussycat’s reviews

debussycat – Sydney classical music & jazz music guide

Madama Butterfly – Opera Australia




When he first penned this famous oriental drama, Puccini had not so much as set foot in Japan. The opera he wrote is the product of his extensive research and personal preconceptions, no doubt influenced by the fad-like Japonisme that swept through the European art world in the latter half of the 19th century.

Needless to say, Madama Butterfly has never been a hit in Japan, but there’s no doubt Pucinni’s larger-than-life stereotyped characters complement the exaggerated emotions of the opera tragedy.  Indeed, very few opera composers are able to match themes and dramatic scenarios to such emotive effect. Puccini is, after all, the same composer who brought you the likes of “Nessun dorma” and “O mio babbino caro”.

When it was first performed at the famous La Scala opera theatre, in 1904, Madama Butterfly was a flop. The audience booed and jeered, and Pucinni, crestfallen, wasted no time in making some significant structural changes. The amended work was very well received, and has been a much loved opera ever since.

Madama Butterfly is the story of a 15 year old Japanese geisha who marries the feckless and significantly older Mr. Pinkerton, an American navy officer in want of, well basically, a nice pad in Japan and a pretty young thing to shack up with. An all in one marriage-broker and real estate agent brings Mr. Pinkerton and Madama Butterfly together. Little Butterfly’s new husband is the centre of her world, but for him she is nothing more than an exotic time-passer; a mere conquest. Mr. Pinkerton ultimately leaves Butterfly an impoverished, single, teenage mum, and yet she waits faithfully for three years, scanning the shores for his ship and insisting that he would return.  He does return, but with a new American bride. As if that wasn’t enough, the callous Mr Pinkerton now wants to take the son borne from their sham marriage back to America. Distraught, Butterfly takes her own life, committing “harakiri”.

Tragic, perverse, unconscionable… but based on a true story. Thankfully, the geisha girl Tsuru Yamamura (wife of Thomas Blake Glover) was unsuccessful in her attempt to take her own life.

Brilliant soprano Antoinette Halloran, winner of the Australian Puccini Foundation Award in 2003, captured the simple innocence of Cio Cio San, nicknamed  “Butterfly” for her youthful grace and charm.  I really did believe that Halloran was the guileless Japanese teenager twirling between metres and metres of pure white fabric. In this notoriously difficult role Halloran displayed scintillating clarity and power. Encompassing the full spectrum of emotion and human experience: joy, love, sorrow, delight, self-sacrifice, her performance held the audience rapt from beginning to end.  Halloran certainly rose to the herculean task of potraying Pucinni’s most beloved geisha heroine, whom he seldom permits to leave the stage of Madama Butterfly.  The celebrated soprano delivered an unwaveringly consistent and powerful performance.

As for the stageset, it was simple and charmingly Japanese. The singers reached the main stage by crossing bridges that passed over a square mote of sparkling water. Japanese characters donned spectacular and elaborate costumes, lending splashes of vivid colour to a  minimalist set.

Opera Australia’s Madama Butterfly offers a heady and exciting mix of grand Italian opera, fatal drama and alluring Japonisme, topped off with a sumptuous and seductive stagecraft.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

February 24, 2011


by Sabina Chitty

debussycat © Sydney classical music & jazz music guide

 *Image available at roth-young.deviantart.com




Luxury pianos – the crème de la crème?


Some of debussycat's favourites from the luxury line Fazioli:

A Steinway is widely considered to be the greatest piano money can buy, but the lesser known Fazioli is in a league of its own.

A well kept-secret, you might say, Faziolis are extremely limited in production. Only 110 pianos are created each year.

No expense is spared in the attempt to craft a piano that is as close to perfection as possible. The gorgeous Fazioli pianos you see above have soundboards that are constructed from the finest spruce in the world. Sourced from the Val Di Fiemme grove in Northern Italy, Fazioli’s selection is the same highly sought after spruce used in Stradivarius violins.

As for Fazioli bridges, they are constructed from three different kinds of wood – rock maple, hornbeam and boxwood. This painstaking measure is hoped to ensure that the sound vibration is transmitted from the string to the soundboard without distortion. Like I said, no holds are barred in the pursuit of the “Fazioli Sound’, which boasts clarity; uniformity; a wide dynamic range (a Fazioli will go from ppp to fff without any distortion in fff); long duration; and selectivity – meaning voices can be played with more distinction in polyphonic works.

Finally, Fazioli is the only brand in the world that plates all its metal hardware in 18k gold. Whilst this measure seems opulent and over the top, the use of gold helps to prevent tarnishing.

Below is a little commentary on six of my favourite Fazioli pianos (featured above).

1. Marco Polo

Bold and in your face, the Marco Polo is coated in a red high gloss varnish. What really sets it apart is the individual hand-painted Canaletto reproduction. The painting depicts the connection between China and Venice, China being the country of the client who commissioned this piano.

2. The Walnut California Brier

The Walnut California Brier is finished with burr walnut.  The final effect is that a different kaleidoscopic pattern is viewable from any angle!

3. M. Liminal

 My personal favourite was designed by NYT Line. This is the kind of piano that belongs in a lavish habourside penthouse. 

4. Classic

Dubbed simply Classic, this piano’s hand-carved music desk is a striking feature, set off against the simple lines of a19th century style piano. Look closely – the underside of the lid is finished with maple wood.

5. The Brunei II

Finished in sequoia burr, this piano is adorned with flowers in mother of pearl and features assorted semi-precious stones. 

6. Amboina

This hot number is decorated with Amboina burr, a rare and precious Indonesian wood.

So there you have it, the world’s most expensive, and most luxurious piano. Now I just have to start saving…

by Sabina Chitty

debussycat © Sydney classical music & jazz music guide