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Antill: Corroboree, Outback Overture / Judd, New Zealand SO

Release Date: 07/29/2008 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570241   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John AntillEarle Brown
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It's about time somebody gave us a brilliant new recording of John Antill's primitivist masterpiece Corroboree, a ballet based on Australian aboriginal music--and lots of other things besides! Eugene Goosens commissioned the work in the 1940s and recorded a suite of extracts for Everest, but aside from that pioneering effort and the 1977 EMI recording from John Lanchberry, Antill's work has been almost completely ignored. Despite obvious comparisons with Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (which Antill claimed not to know), there really isn't anything quite like the sound of this piece.

A more apt comparison might be Prokoviev's Scythian Suite, particularly in Antill's finale, with its
Read more glittering scoring featuring insane gobs of percussion (including a bull-roarer). The opening movement's rhythmic ostinato recalls Revueltas (Sensemaya), while the shorter inner movements feature more delicate textures and some sweetly memorable melodic invention. It's all great fun, a touch outrageous, even cartoonish (Antill has a certain overfondness for the ratchet), and it's dazzlingly performed here by James Judd and the New Zealand Symphony. An Outback Overture might best be described as Copland meets Vaughan Williams--like the former's Outdoor Overture, the piece is bubbly and full of catchy tunes.

Naxos' engineering is a touch on the dry side, but this works particularly well in Corroboree, allowing maximum clarity without sacrificing impact or dynamic range. It would be very interesting to hear more of Antill's work to see if the obvious talent on display in this single piece found its way into his work generally. According to the informative booklet notes, most of his output postdates the 1940s, making the prospects all the more enticing. Let's see if Naxos takes the hint.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Outback Overture by John Antill
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Corroboree by John Antill
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1950 

Featured Sound Samples

Outback Overture
Corroboree: 1. Welcome Ceremony

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