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In October 2016, the award-winning comedian and writer John Clarke – a regular on Australian television and a household name thanks to his satirical interview series Clarke and Dawe and the mockumentary TV series The Games – made his debut appearance as guest presenter on ABC Classic FM’s Saturday Morning program.
Clarke relished the opportunity to turn his comic genius and brilliant wit to music he adored: orchestral favourites by Vaughan Williams and Dvorák, piano classics by Liszt, Satie and Beethoven, and iconic opera moments such as ‘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 re-aired 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.
Performers include singers Elina Garanca, 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, Jirí Belohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic, Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducting the NDR Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra directed by Richard Tognetti.
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