In October 2016, the award-winning comedian and writer John Clarke made his debut appearance as guest presenter on ABC Classic FM’s Saturday Morning program.
A favourite on television and a household name thanks to his brilliant satire Clarke and Dawe and the mockumentary TV series The Games, Clarke relished the opportunity to turn his comic genius and acerbic wit to music he adored: orchestral favourites by Vaughan Williams and Dvořák, piano classics by Liszt, Satie and Beethoven, and iconic operatic arias like O mio babbino caro, the Habanera from Carmen, the Flower Duet from Lakmé, and the Pearl Fishers Duet. Audiences loved the show and were eagerly asking for the next instalment.
Sadly, there were to be no more, as John Clarke passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in April 2017. When the first show was reprised on Classic FM as a tribute, the audience response was again extraordinary, and the ABC was inundated with requests for a CD release of the program.
Thanks to this public outpouring, and to the enthusiasm of John’s own family, the full program is presented here as a tribute to this brilliant, beloved Australian icon: three hours of glorious music and classic Clarke commentary on 3 CDs. The performers include singers Elīna Garanča, Joan Sutherland, Pumeza Matshikiza and Kathleen Ferrier, pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Alexandre Tharaud and András Schiff, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Sir Neville Marriner, Jiří Bělohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic, Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducting the NDR Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra directed by Richard Tognetti.
The Tracks: CD1
LISZT Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2/ BIZET Carmen: Habanera/ SATIE Gymnopédie No. 1/ GLUCK What is Life?/ VAUGHAN WILLIAMS The Lark Ascending/ BEETHOVEN Moonlight Sonata: First movement/ BIZET The Pearl Fishers: Duet/ SCHUBERT Hungarian Melody
HILL Trumpet Concerto/ PUCCINI O mio babbino caro/ BACH Goldberg Variations: Aria/ VERDI Va’, pensiero
DVOŘÁK New World Symphony
SCHUBERT Ave Maria/ WAGNER Siegfried Idyll/ DELIBES Lakmé: Flower Duet/ BRAHMS Hungarian Dance No. 5
Album available 11 August 2017
3CD | Digital Album | ABC 482 8548