Reviewed by Peter McCallum Before writing The Ring, Richard Wagner wrote a tortuous essay, Opera and Drama (1850), which tried to theorise what he was about to do. Music on its own no longer sufficed - it needed to be fertilised by a poetic idea as Beethoven had attempted in the Ninth Symphony. Program music, in the style of Berlioz, was not the answer - using music to tell stories ignored what music was good at.
Jessica Cottis conducts the Sydney Symphony.
Reviewed by Harriet Cunningham MOST people's knowledge of Jean Sibelius's music centres on a well-trodden loop of symphonies, the violin concerto and Finlandia.
Reviewed by Peter McCallum THE generation of composers born in the 1860s - Mahler, Debussy, Strauss, Sibelius and others - were path-breakers. Formed by Wagner, old enough to see the twilight of Romanticism and young enough to see beyond it, they set the foundation stones for music in the 20th century.