...As you can see from the quotes below, a lot has been written about my work, all of it good!...
...From John Shand's review in the SMH of the Raga Dolls third and most successful CD 'Night Falls'. This review had a lot to do with that success...
... “it’s good to be reminded of a mythical world of honour, beauty, optimism and even a little wit. Melbourne multi instrumentalist David Osborne has long championed such a world through his music. Now his quartet, the Raga Dolls, has grown into a full-blown orchestra, allowing his music to sweep across time and space.
... images of Vienna, Budapest and Paris, the crystal glistening in the light of a thousand candles...
...Osborne adds weight to his brew by interspersing the frivolity with the occasional realisation of an aching sadness...”
John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald
...I was chuffed that Bill Hoffmann came to one of our Canberra concerts and he wrote us a really nice review. I grew up in Canberra and must admit I was a little scared of him...
“The mood was immediately established by the opening piece of the program, Osborne’s lively and welcomely Afternoon Visitors, which as members of the audience we certainly were, introducing us to the fine tonal balance and assurance of this ensemble during the ensuing performance.”
W.L. Hoffmann, The Canberra Times
...I'm afraid many of the orchestra doubled over with laughter when they read this critique of my conducting skills...
“Its musical director, David Osborne, has great verve and energy, as well as composition, orchestrating and conducting skills of a high order, and his ability and enthusiasm stimulate and inspire both players and audience.”
Darryl Emmerson, Australian Stage
...and then from Deborah Jones in the OZ. It was a nice feeling picking up the paper on a Saturday morning, reading this and counting the stars!...
“The Melbourne based band calls itself a salon ensemble, which conjures up images of red velvet, fringed lampshades and people with a past. On Stray Dog Waltz the music lives up to the promise, having the fabulously languorous feel of a slightly louche tea room...
...Another Waltz is lushly romantic, Another Tango is slow and sexy and Left Again the full on, smoky cabaret room tragedy.
***** (Five stars)
Deborah Jones, The Weekend Australian
...And there was the occasional concert when I did play some of the right notes!...
“Osborne is clearly a fine musician who delights in transforming the technical challenges of complex violin solos into excellent, personalised performances. His own compositions range in length from the short, whimsical Watercolour of two minutes duration, to the complex and evocative Masquerade which leads us up and down narrow stairways, through dark alleyways into smoky dance halls and late night cafes as we wander a Bohemian path through old Paris.
...Stray Dog Waltz, combines alluring solo violin passages and haunting accordion melodies within the sensual momentum of a European waltz. Osborne stretches the melody rhythmically, adding spaciousness and increasing dramatic tension to transform the traditional dance form into a new descriptive genre”.
Jennifer Gall, Muse Magazine
Not a review, but a lovely piece by Robin Usher in the Age. We had a great chat about music philosophy and busting some of the myths and conventions which really do the art form no favours. The only minor quibble is that he said I liked the name 'Raga Dolls'. No, I never liked it but sometimes a name just attaches itself to you and there's no getting rid of it.
RAGA DOLLS TAKE THE STARCH OUT OF STUFFED SHIRT RITUALS
By Robin Usher, The Age May 11 2012
IT COMES as a surprise when composer and founder of the Raga Dolls Salon Orchestra, David Osborne, nominates Franz Schubert as his favourite composer, because he dislikes much of what classical music has come to represent. ''A lot of classical music puts the performers on a pedestal, playing down to the audience,'' he says. ''It is my greatest love but I have no love at all for the system surrounding it.''
Osborne's solution was to start his own group, first as a quartet in 2000, expanding to 14 musicians in 2005. “We are not a conventional orchestra,'' he says. ''Not many of them feature guitar or piano accordion.'' So where does Schubert come in, best known for his piano and chamber works, as well as songs?
''He wrote really good tunes that are incredibly adaptable,'' he says. ''He didn't get many opportunities to play his music in concert halls. It is unique to hear it now played with our array of instruments.''
While the Raga Dolls orchestra has played at the Melbourne Recital Centre and is performing at Sydney's City Recital Hall later this month, he prefers smaller venues and community halls, citing the Albert Park Yacht Club where they play on May 18. He says it has ''fantastic acoustics and great atmosphere'', with the audience of about 160 people close to the performers. ''We don't care when people clap or try to make anyone feel uncomfortable if they fail to conform to classical music's quasi-religious ritual,'' he says. ''We tell jokes. We laugh at ourselves. We are probably happier playing in the Stanhope Community Hall than the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall.''
Osborne studied violin as a teenager in Canberra but was ''too rebellious'' to continue. Instead he moved to Brisbane and a variety of jobs included playing rock guitar in a band that toured regional centres. ''They were very testing audiences and I slowly realised the need for musicians to listen to their opinions,'' he says. ''Our concerts now are similar to rock shows in some ways. There is no program and we make sure we talk to the audience between songs to break down barriers. Our main aim is to be entertaining.'' He points out how different this is to classical music concerts where the only communication with the audience is likely to come during encores. ''People lap it up, so why not start that way, rather than being so formal and intense all the time?'' He says a eureka moment came five years ago when the orchestra was playing in Stanhope's Community Hall. ''We played across the hall and the audience was in an arc in front of us and up on the stage,'' he says. ''I realised you could reach out to people using a different dynamic.''
The approach of the Raga Dolls- Osborne likes the name because it is catchy, not because of any reference to Indian music- has not alienated traditional classical music audiences. He says the group has entered the musical mainstream ''by stealth'', mainly through the support of ABC Classic FM.
''It has supported the orchestra from the beginning through its programs, some of which are really diverse. Now we have crossed over into formal programming.''
The group has released four albums, and a new live recording is due out this month. The concerts at the yacht club and in Warburton will also include Osborne's Photo Album, a three movement work commissioned by Julian Burnside, QC, last year. ''Support like that keeps me going,'' he says. ''We operate on the smell of an oily rag model, which makes it viable to get by. We get private and corporate support but it remains a huge struggle.