The Marais Project

The Marais Project

‘AUSTRALIAN MONODY’ : NEW RECORDING FROM THE MARAIS PROJECT

 

               

Above:  The striking cover of the album ‘Australian Monody’ (Move MCD633) Cover artwork by Susie Bishop, cover design by Lydall Gerlach. Featured image : The Marais Project

A recording from The Marais Project -and there are now over six of them- always promises a bold juxtaposition of music from several eras, countries and styles. Local and guest musicians play Baroque and later works in their original form and also in innovative arrangement. There are vocal and instrumental tracks and often new compositions from Australian composers as well as from The Marais Project artists themselves.

Australian Monody (Move Records MCD 633) is in keeping with this pattern of recordings. Its themes are not for the faint-hearted.  The subtitle is ‘Reflections on light and darkness, love and loss’. The precise, plaintive instrumental and vocal colours associated with The Marais Project are well suited to this vibe.

We are treated across the tracks to the plaintive tone colour combinations in rotation from two viola da gambas (Artistic director Jenny Erikkson and Catherine Upex), nine-string guitar, nine-course lute and theorbo (Tommie Andersson), violin and soprano (Susie Bishop) and countertenor (Russell Harcourt).

The three interesting Antipodean monodies appearing  in the first half of the recording draw on our heartstrings and conscience. Gordon Kerry’s response to the massacre by an Australian gunman at a Christchurch mosque in 2019 was commissioned for Marais Project. Its penetrating Old Testament text is delivered with clarity and poise by soprano Susie Bishop, whose violin lines are heard in effective melancholy mix with viola da gambas and theorbo.

Above: Artistic Director and founder of The Marais Project, Jenny Eriksson

Following straight on from this meditation  are two  songs from Sydney’s early troubled colony. The Aboriginal Father and The Aboriginal Mother are a pair of songs from a time when cruelties and violence were commonplace. Composer Isaac Nathan attempted to blend cultures, concerns and musical contours. We hear them now in a new era, and a new light, accompanied by nine-string guitar, violin and viola da gamba.

Other noticeable pairings can be found on this CD. Two songs from Henry Purcell ltake us back to he Baroque.  Firstly, O dive custos Auriacae domus laments the death of British Monarch Queen Mary from smallpox . Here it features the blend of soprano and countertenor in a nicely balanced duet.

Early keyboard specialist Anthony Abouhamad joins the ensemble adding depth to the sentiments to both Purcell pieces on continuo organ. In the second Purcell song, we hear Harcourt’s fine counternor alone in the disc’s only church music inspired offering, Purcell’s homely An Evening Hymn. 

To open the recording is Alice Chance’s Precious Colours, a choral work commissioned by The Marais Project . This fusion composition based on the First Nations legend of the butterfly losing its wing colourings in the snow has beauitiful intensity and elegantly rendered directness in its new guise of two vocalists and early strings.

 

Above : countertenor Russell Harcourt

The successful vocal blend of accomplished countertenor Russell Harcourt and Marais Project regular Susie Bishop took the roles of mythical couple Pallah-Pallah and Ballah-Ballah in this tender borrowed tale.

Paired with this piece at the album’s conclusion is the  identical and equally successful vocal and instrumental ensemble for  Australian composer Carl Vine’s Love Me Sweet. This song, like that of Pallah-Pallah and Ballah-ballah, emphasises the fragility of attachment, of the shades of emotion at play when in a couple. This local work,in  new arrangement by Tommie Andersson, was originally destined for an Australian mini-series, ‘The Battlers’ on the Seven Network.

Preceeding Vine’s piece is John Dowland’s Now Oh Now I Needs Must Part (1597), a song of love soon to be lost .  Adding to the full ensemble strength of vocalists and early strings is Tommie Andersson’s 9-course lute and touching solo moment.

Above: Tommie Andersson played early guitar, l;ute and theorbo on this recording and also arranged colonial songs by Isaac Nathan and ‘Love Me Sweet’ by Carl Vine.

From within the ranks of The Marais Project, Susie Bishop impresses as a composer, vocalist and violinist in her comforting Lullaby for a Broken World is a gentle extended instrumental encasement of the text here, featuring viola da gamba and nine string guitar.

Immediately after this comes If, from a film about the suffering and hopes of the trapped Anne Frank during WW2. Michael Nyman’s music is nicely arranged by Jennifer Eriksson for countertenor and early instruments. This is a highlight and a great showcase for The Marais Project as well asthe versatility of Harcourt as performer. His skill in interpreting a eange of text and searching  tone impress here.

Two works towards the end of Australian Monody offer us the lightness of instrumental music after some dark texts. This comes in the form of an original piece composed by Jennifer Eriksson, La Petite Tarantelle reflecting her Project’s celebration of the expressive gesture of the viol and Marin Marais’ accomplished music for it.

The Marin Marais work chosen for this recording preceeds Eriksson’s nicely characterised offering. It is Marais’ Suite in A minor (Book V).  Its sunny, bittersweet blend is delivered on viola da gamba and theorbo in swathes of experienced, exemplary dialogue, rounding out the recording’s keen humanity with fine, wordless music to make the spirit dance.

 

 

The Marais Project presents ‘if…’ – featuring countertenor Russell Harcourt

 

 

 

 

Fresh from a 5-month lockdown The Marais Project has one final performance booked for 2021. Titled ‘if…’ the concert also serves as an opportunity for the musicians to finalise preparations for their December 2021 recording session.

‘We were incredibly lucky to be awarded a Create NSW grant to help us complete a recording largely of Australian songs,’ Eriksson reflected. ‘We literally span two hundred years from the 1830s – with two songs by the Colonial composer, Nathan Isaac – through to works by Carl Vine, Gordon Kerry and Alice Chance. Susie Bishop and I have also written pieces and Tommie Andersson has been active in making some superb arrangements.’

The Marais Project with Russell Harcourt

Also on the program is a suite by Marin Marais, and two vocal works by Purcell – that will also feature on the new release. ‘We are so happy to have Russell Harcourt join us’, Eriksson enthused. ‘He is the first countertenor to work with The Marais Project and brings such energy and musicality to everything he does. And then there is his magnificent voice!’

The performance takes place at Henley Community Centre, close to Gladesville Bridge.

Artists: Russell Harcourt, countertenor; Susie Bishop, voice & violin; Tommie Andersson, lutes and guitar; Jenny Eriksson & Cathy Upex, viola da gamba

The Marais Project  performs  if… at the  Henley Community Centre,  Off Crown Street,  Henley  NSW   from   3pm Sunday 21st November 2021   |   Tickets $30/20   children and students $10 

Bookings:  https://events.humanitix.com/marais-project-if/tickets

Media: for more information, artist details, photos, review tickets, preview recordings, interviews & more, contact Philip Pogson m: 0412 459 156  e: philippogson@theleadingpartnership.com.au or Jenny Eriksson m: 0412 459 155 e: jennyeriksson212@gmail.com

BLENDING THE OLD AND THE NEW IN THE ART OF MONODY

For more than 30 years now I have been exploring the music of the French baroque, and particularly the music of that era written for the viola da gamba. This is not the kind of artistic passion that brings with it a huge audience, but it is my calling!

Although I trained in Europe, I live in Australia and I have always sought to engage with my country of origin and the music of our times, not just that written hundreds of years ago. I am part of the Historically Informed Performance (HIP) movement, but I also look beyond it. This is the case with my acoustic ensemble, The Marais Project, my electric viola da gamba band, Elysian Fields, and with my Music Viva in Schools group, Da Vinci’s Apprentice. The latter, for example, tours a musical theatre work for children composed by the Australian composer, Sally Greenaway,  and performed on historic instruments – cornetto, theorbo, and viola da gamba.

Continue reading BLENDING THE OLD AND THE NEW IN THE ART OF MONODY

IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO MAKE ART – JENNY ERIKSSON’S VIEW ON MAKING MUSIC

Jenny Eriksson & Tommie Andersson

We in the developed West live in a highly individualistic and competitive world. Everything from aged and disability care to scientific research and road building is put out to tender, often with a view to using competition to drive the cost down. Our cut-throat politics is even worse. Political culture and processes are often quite damaging and abusive to women and minorities, as recent examples demonstrate. In contrast, music making is, ideally, a collective and collaborative activity.      Continue reading IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO MAKE ART – JENNY ERIKSSON’S VIEW ON MAKING MUSIC

THE MARAIS PROJECT : THE ART OF MONODY @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY : THREE CDS TO GIVE AWAY

Old meets New when The Marais Project launches its 2021 season.

Fresh from a successful appearance on Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, and the release of their new recording, ‘Two’, The Marais Project launches its 2021 Season with a distinctive pairing of the Old World Europe and music from the Australian continent when it presents ‘The Art of Monody.’

Around 1600 Italian composers decided to break free from composing polyphony (music for many voices, often written for the Church) and started to write for a single voice with instrumental accompaniment,’ Marais Project Artistic Director, Jenny Eriksson commented. ‘This new style of music was called monody, ‘mono’ meaning one voice. It was the beginning of opera as we know it, but it was also the commencement of the kind of songcraft that developed during the baroque and classical eras and continues to this day.’

Jenny Eriksson, Susie Bishop & Tommie Andersson

The concert’s title also refers to a new work written for the group by Australian composer, Gordon Kerry, titled ‘Christchurch Monody.’ A setting of texts from the books of Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament, Christchurch Monody was, according to Kerry ‘A response to several recent appalling acts of violence.’ We were supposed to premiere this important piece in 2020 but our season was cancelled of course,’ Eriksson reflected.

 

Also on the program is a suite by Marin Marais, arias by the Italian master, Monteverdi as well as two songs by Isaac Nathan, the early 19th century father of Australian music – a quite special coupling. Tommie Andersson’s arrangement for gallichon (bass lute) of pieces from Handel’s ‘The Musical Clock’ also features as does Llew and Mara Kiek’s version of ‘The Streets of Forbes’. Commissioned by Eriksson several years ago, this folksong tells the story of the infamous Australian bushranger, Ben Hall.

This the kind of diverse, ‘not to be missed’ program for which The Marais Project has developed a national reputation!

Artists: Susie Bishop, voice & violin; Tommie Andersson, lutes; Jenny Eriksson & Cathy Upex, viola da gamba

The Marais Project performs ‘The Art of Monody’ at the MOSMAN ART GALLERY at 1 Art Gallery Way, Mosman, NSW  from 3pm Sunday 16th May 2021 | Tickets $40/30 children and students $20

Tickets – https://events.humanitix.com/marais-project-or-the-art-of-monody

PLUS! On 14th April 2021, the new Marais Project recording, ‘Two’ will be released on MOVE Records. | Available from MOVE Records, Buywell Music, iTunes, and streaming platforms including Apple Music and Spotify

Featured image : The Marais Project. Photo by Christopher Hayles.

Sydney Arts Guide has three CDs of the Marais Project’s new CD entitled ‘Two’. Email editor.sydneyartsguide@gmail.com  with THE MARAIS PROJECT TWO PROMOTION  in the subject heading and your postal address in the body of your email. Winners will be advised by email.

FINDING WAYS TO LEAD IN A CRISIS : THE ARTS SECTOR

What an extraordinary few weeks we’ve had!

Sally. Pic by Bill Crew

As individuals, organisations and as a society, how do we best move forward in world where so much has stopped or slowed almost to a standstill? I am particularly concerned for the arts community, its practitioners, technical experts and other professionals who have suddenly lost their livelihoods and reason for being. I am also concerned for our audiences, those who find nourishment, entertainment and enlightenment through the arts. My thoughts below are formulated not as some kind of universal panacea, but as principles to guide our everyday lives in the months to come.

Unprecedented times

Elysian Fields (Photo – Philip Pogson)

The times really are almost unprecedented. I suspect we have to go back to World War II (WWII) to find a parallel to the kind of national and international disruption, pain and suffering we are facing at the moment. Both my parents were born in 1931. Their early childhood years were thus at the tail end of the Great Depression. They entered their teens in the midst of a global war of awful violence and human misery. It was hard. There was rationing and the possibility of invasion. Brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers went off to war or were seconded to work in war industries. My dad is the youngest in his family and one of his brothers, my uncle, fought in the Pacific and survived. The point is, they came through as did the greater majority of Australians of that generation. We are their heirs. We will also come through and rebuild on the other side. Some reflections follow that I hope are encouraging.

Lead when and as we are able

Whatever our role and status, now is the time for us to exercise leadership in any way we are able. I don’t necessarily mean “Big L” Leadership: few of us will be called to be a Premier, Prime Minister or a CEO. I am referring to the leadership opportunities that come our way in everyday life. Over the next weeks and months we will need people right across our community who can acknowledge uncertainty but think clearly, respond with compassion and remain task focused. As a business advisor, company director and school Chair, I see teachers, business people, University staff, health experts, friends, artists and family acting this way already. On the flip side, these are stressful times. Our way of life has changed with a violent lurch and we are not sure where we are lurching to. For myself, I am working on being aware of, and not ignoring, my own anxiety and tiredness. I am also keeping up and expanding while I am able my exercise routines and making sure I have a list of things to do that I enjoy.

Avoid blame and finger pointing

Beyond a certain point, spending our energies pointing out what others are doing wrong, where they are acting inconsistently or not meeting our expectations is not productive. Leaving aside those in the health sector whose working lives have by their very nature changed in a moment, we should keep in mind that our Premier, senior ministers, business and community leaders and Prime Minister will be working extraordinarily long hours under exceptional pressure. These people are human and thus imperfect – just like us. They also have families and loved ones they will be hardly seeing and no doubt worrying about – just like us. Now is not the time to fight arguments on social media and relentlessly criticise others, particularly those with “Big L” leadership roles. Now is the time for our community to seek unity and goodwill and ensure that the majority of our citizens, including the poor and needy, come through this as best they can.

Look to and plan for the future

All Auras Touch

As I noted, WWII came to an end as did WWI and the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919. Humankind is resilient and creative. We can choose to be our best in a crisis or choose the opposite.

The arts have a crucial role to play in our society, even when governments and others in authority do not recognise, or seek to minimise, our contribution. We must plan now to come through this, and out the other side, stronger and more resilient if and as we are able. Some will struggle. Some are struggling now. It should not be a matter of survival of the fittest, but of seeking to bring as many people and organisations through as possible. That should be our pledge to each other and to society at large.

Philip Pogson FAICD, Director, The Leading Partnership

Joint Managing Director The Marais Project, Elysian Fields and Da Vinci’s Apprentice

ARTISTS AS LEADERS : CELEBRATING THE ROLE OF HEROIC ANTIHEROES

“Art proves it value by still mattering to people who have been deprived of every other freedom.” – Clive James

Leadership’s unlikely candidates

In 1995 painter Arthur Boyd was named Australian of the Year for his “extraordinary contribution to Australian art and his great generosity to the Australian nation.” Particularly admired in the UK and Australia, Boyd is so celebrated that one of his tapestries is on display in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra. In 1993 he gifted to the nation several thousand artworks from his personal collection. He also donated to the Australian people his property, Bundanon, on the Shoalhaven River near Nowra, several hours south of Sydney. Bundanon is managed by Bundanon Trust as a not for profit artists’ retreat complete with accommodation, galleries and concert venues. Those who visit cannot but be inspired by the scenery, the artworks on display and the generosity of the artist in signing away something that must have been precious to him and is family.            Continue reading ARTISTS AS LEADERS : CELEBRATING THE ROLE OF HEROIC ANTIHEROES

PRELUDE IN TEA : MARAIS PROJECT : TIME AND SEASONS

A very exciting and quite intriguing concert formed the latest of the Prelude in Tea series, The Marais Project and Elysian Fields in TIMES AND SEASONS .

The first half celebrated the twenty years since The Marais Project was founded and also heralded the release of a new CD on Marin Marais’ 363rd birthday on May 31. (1656-1728) From humble beginnings in 2000, The Marais Project has become a national leader in the creative presentation of music for the viola da gamba. Led by Jennifer Eriksson, while specialising in the French baroque period, the ensemble’s repertoire has expanded to include new Australian works and sophisticated arrangements of folk music as documented in 6 CDs, several of which were launched at The Independent Theatre .For this performance the Marais Project consisted of Belinda Montgomery ( soprano), Leif Henrikson ,( viol) Tommie Anderson ( lute/theorbo),  Jennifer Eriksson ( viol), Catherine Upex( cello) and Susie Bishop ( soprano, violin) . Continue reading PRELUDE IN TEA : MARAIS PROJECT : TIME AND SEASONS

ON TURNING 363 : REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MARIN MARAIS

On May 31, 2019, the great viola da gambist and composer, Marin Marais turns 363. From the point of view of Sydney, Australia, where I live and work, what are we to make of him and his legacy?

This year, May 31 takes on special importance for The Marais Project as on this day we release our 20th Anniversary CD, The Garden Party. This recording is, in part, a celebration of the great man and the role he has played in our lives. The disc includes an Australian-first recording of a Marais suite arranged for viol and piano accordion as well as an original composition of mine, The Garden Party, inspired by Feste Champêtre from Marin Marais’ Suitte d’un Goût Étranger.

From the comfort of hindsight, however, we are easily given to idealized notions of life prior to the 21st century whirl of cars, planes, computers and mobile phones. The hard reality of life in past epochs cannot be avoided. In 1800, 50 years after Marais death, the average life expectancy of a French citizen was a miserly 30 years.  A typical Western European of the time weighed in at a petite 110 to 130 pounds and stood only 5 feet 5 inches tall.  Continue reading ON TURNING 363 : REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MARIN MARAIS

SUPERB LISTENING: ELYSIAN FIELDS’ DEBUT CD

The release of WHAT SHOULD I SAY, by Elysian Fields, Australia’s only electric viola da gamba band, heralds the creation of a new and unique musical voice.

Elysian Fields is the brainchild of viola da gambist, Jenny Eriksson, and leading jazz musicians, Matt Keegan, saxophones, and Matt McMahon, piano.

The album takes its name from the central piece, a remarkable new song cycle by pianist and band member, Matt McMahon,
which sets four poems by Thomas Wyatt – courtier and lyric 16th century poet at the court of King Henry VIII – reputed lover of Queen Anne Boleyn, to music. Also featured is ‘Elysium’, an epic work by Matt Keegan and an original chart by bassist, Siebe Pogson. Continue reading SUPERB LISTENING: ELYSIAN FIELDS’ DEBUT CD

THE MARAIS PROJECT : A BASS AFFAIR @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

Above: Soprano Josie Ryan and Tommie Andersson – lutes, baroque guitar and theorbo.                     Featured image : Jennifer Eriksson, viola da gamba and Tim Blomfield, bass violin.

Any concert event from The Marais Project is joyous as well as being a richly educational and diverse entertainment. ‘A Bass Affair’ at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music celebrated this tradition and historically informed performance goals. Gambist Jennifer Eriksson once more assembled early music performers of high calibre and nicely contrasted music from the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries.

The music was presented for us using a wealth of timbres from the combination of guest Tim Blomfield’s bass violin, Jennifer Eriksson’s viola da gamba, Josie Ryan’s soprano voice, and from Tommie Andersson playing no less than two lutes, baroque guitar and theorbo.

An exciting part of this concert was the first time collaboration at a Marais Project concert of Eriksson’s viola da gamba and Blomfield’s bass violin. The two instruments blended keenly and helped highlight the character and communicative strengths of each other’s musical identity so popular in French musical history. Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT : A BASS AFFAIR @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

THE MARAIS PROJECT PRESENTS ‘A BASS AFFAIR’

Music for bass viol and bass violin

Jenny Eriksson

Most early music fans are aware that the viola da gamba is also known as the bass viol. It is less well known, perhaps, that there is also such an instrument as the bass violin, also known as the ‘basse de violon’. The bass viol and bass violin were mainstays in French baroque music and featured in the Court orchestra of King Louis XIV. For this concert The Marais Project welcomes Tim Blomfield, one of Australia’s finest bass violinists and co-founder of Sydney’s long standing and highly respected early music ensemble, Salut! Baroque.  The Sunday afternoon program will feature a cantata by Montéclair, music by Marais – with the bass violin providing the continuo – and other works that show off the complementary and contrasting aspects of the two instruments. Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT PRESENTS ‘A BASS AFFAIR’

THE MARAIS PROJECT: A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE

Above: (left to right) Susie Bishop, Tommie Andersson and Jennifer Eriksson perform a bracket of Swedish Music. Photo credit : Geoff Sirmai. Featured image : (left to right) concert ensemble members Emily-Rose Šárkova, Susie Bishop, Jennifer Eriksson, Steve Elphick and Shaun Ng. Photo credit Philip Pogson.

In her programme notes, founder and director of The Marais Project, Jennifer Eriksson commented that it is ‘hard to know how to add anything to the mix’ of Christmas concerts. During the final ‘Prelude in Tea’ chamber music concert at The Independent Theatre in North Sydney, such concern was shown to be totally unwarranted. Not only was a highly international programme presented capturing the history, essence and celebratory nature of Christmas, but key goals of any Marais Project concert were also satisfied. Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT: A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE

MY HEART SO GRIEVES: PART OF ‘PRELUDE IN TEA’

This image: Elysian Fields – featuring electric viola da gamba
Banner image: Viola da gambist Jenny Eriksson

Early music specialists, The Marais Project, and electric viola da gamba ensemble, Elysian Fields, both led by the versatile Jenny Eriksson, return to The Independent Theatre on January 28, 2018 in a once off program titled, “My heart so grieves”Continue reading MY HEART SO GRIEVES: PART OF ‘PRELUDE IN TEA’

CD REVIEW : THE MARAIS PROJECT – ‘SPINNING FORTH’

Above: Paul Cutlan, composer of the recording’s title track, Spinning Forth. Featured image : Jenny Eriksson, viola da gambist and founder of The Marais Project

‘Spinning Forth’ (Move Records, MCD564) is the latest recording from The Marais Project. Founder of this project, Jenny Eriksson, has once again guaranteed that as well as providing a beautiful listening experience this is a CD which is rich in contrast.

It contains successful and striking juxtapositions of style, mood,
instrumentation, and blends different compositional homelands or time periods. From the project that is working its way through the oeuvre of gambist Marin Marais, we are here treated to new Australian music, able to access Swedish music and hear the viola da gamba explore music from colonial Australia in arrangement for early music instruments.

The work by Marais featured on this CD is a stunningly solemn arrangement for the penultimate track. Jennifer Eriksson’s nicely balanced arrangement for two viols da gamba and theorbo of the Tombeau pour Marais le Cadet (from Pièces de violes, Book V, 1725).  In the renamed Tombeau for John Dowland, first performed at a concert in 2013 for the 450th anniversary of Dowlands birth, Eriksson is ably joined by Catherine Upex on the second viola da gamba and Tommie Andersson on theorbo. The arrangement gives a full and even sound, celebrating the expressive skills of both Marais and the group of Sydney-based early musicians. Continue reading CD REVIEW : THE MARAIS PROJECT – ‘SPINNING FORTH’

MARAIS MEETS MUFFAT @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE NORTH SYDNEY

Above : Jennifer Eriksson from The Marais Project performs with guest violinist Stephen Freeman and The Muffat Collective’s cellist Anita Gluyas.  Featured image : members of The Muffat Collective
This was a joyous collaboration of two passionate and committed local early music ensembles. It took us back to a time where monarchs and patrons craved the French musical style which was de rigeuer internationally.

In this concert the Marais Project’s Jennifer Eriksson and The Muffat Collective (Matthew Greco and Rafael Font-Viera -violins, Anita Gluyas-period cello /bass viol, Anthony Hamad-harpsichord and guest violin Stephen Freeman) combined their performance experience and specialist training to supply a beautiful and exciting stream of instrumental music from the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The six accomplished musicians explored the work of five composers through short works, excerpts from dramatic formats of the day or dance-inspired concert suites.           

And dance this programme definitely did. The joyous and comfortable blending of talent presenting contrasting  pieces of music worked  very well.  Joyous performances resulted and were received enthusiastically.
Continue reading MARAIS MEETS MUFFAT @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE NORTH SYDNEY

THE MARAIS PROJECT STARTS OFF THE YEAR FOR THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

Over the years Sydney Arts Guide has keenly followed the progress of this eclectic group. Next Sunday, The Marais Project begins its 2017 season with the concert IT TAKES TWO : A VIOL SPECTACULAR, the first of three very diverse events in its 18th year of fine, distinctive  musicianship.

Since its founding by Jennifer Eriksson in 2000, The Marais Project has released 5 CDs, three of which have been selected as “CD of the Week” on ABC Classic FM.  A 6th CD will appear in 2017.  The group regularly features in national and local studio broadcasts and radio interviews.  They have performed across Eastern Australia and as guest artists in New Zealand.

In an Australian first, IT TAKES TWO will see Erikkson perform  on both the acoustic and electric viola da gambas. Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT STARTS OFF THE YEAR FOR THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

THE FRENCH FLUTE – A MARAIS PROJECT CONCERT @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

Recently returned from giving concerts in her grandfather’s home country of Sweden, Marais Project Director, Jenny Eriksson, is busily preparing for the group’s final 2016 concert, THE FRENCH FLUTE.

The event is built around two highly talented guest artists: Mikaela Oberg, baroque flute, and soprano, Anna Sandstrom.  

“It is very special to perform with Mikaela”, Eriksson commented, “I have literally known her since she was a child.  In fact, lutenist Tommie Andersson and I used to play in a group with her father, Howard, who was also a fabulous baroque flute and recorder player who for many years taught at Sydney Conservatorium.”         Continue reading THE FRENCH FLUTE – A MARAIS PROJECT CONCERT @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

THE MARAIS PROJECT 2016 CONCERT 1 : MASTER AND PUPIL @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE

 

Ericksson

The tension between master and student is a complex and fascinating one as the upcoming generation learns from, and sometimes pits themselves against, the established leaders of their field.

The famous French novel and film Tous les matins de monde (All the mornings of the world) which starred the legendary actor Gérard Depardieu and featured virtuoso viola da gambist Jordi Savall on the sound track, is an acutely sensitive, fictional exploration of the relationship between two great artists: Marin Marais, after whom The Marais Project is named, and his distinguished mentor, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe.  The latter was a composer, teacher and innovator without peer, while the former became known as perhaps the greatest viola da gambist of all time.  Adding spice to the mix was a “love triangle” between Sainte-Colombe’s two musician daughters and the ambitious Marais.  
Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT 2016 CONCERT 1 : MASTER AND PUPIL @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE

THE MARAIS PROJECT PRESENTS MARAIS AND THE OPERATIC MUSE @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

Inset pic- Soprano Belinda Montgomery sang works by Monteclair and Marais. Featured pic- Composer Marin Marais 1656-1728
Inset pic- Soprano Belinda Montgomery sang works by Monteclair and Marais. Featured pic- Composer Marin Marais 1656-1728

The Marais Project, Sydney-based collective of musicians and musicologists, has had an aim for the past sixteen years to perform in concert the entire oeuvre of Marin Marais.

Currently over eighty percent successful in the achievement of this goal, the group presented operatic music by Marais for the first time in its concert MARAIS AND THE OPERATIC MUSE.

Just as many composers’ creative talents and tools of their trade are expanded through opera, so too the dramatic focus and immense charm of Marais’ music was heightened on exposure to his opera Sémélé (1709). The nature of Marais’ musical language achieved greater clarity. Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT PRESENTS MARAIS AND THE OPERATIC MUSE @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

The Marais Project Presents MARAIS AND THE OPERATIC MUSE @ Sydney Conservatorium

2015 Marais Poster Concert 2

Classical music lovers have the opportunity to partake in an afternoon of fine French baroque music with The Marais Project’s upcoming concert succinctly titled, “Marais and the operatic muse”

The Marais Project turns their attention to Marais’ long-neglected operas which were much acclaimed at the Court of Louis XIV.  On the menu will be excerpts from Marais’ best known opera, Sémélé and a cantata by another favourite composer, Michel Pignolet de Montéclair.  

Regular Marais Project soprano and French music specialist, Belinda Montgomery, will be joined by up and coming baritone Alexander Knight for an afternoon of the kind of musical rarities The Marais Project is renowned for.

Date and time – 3.00 pm Sunday 16th August

Venue – Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium, Macquarie St, Sydney. Continue reading The Marais Project Presents MARAIS AND THE OPERATIC MUSE @ Sydney Conservatorium

The Marais Project launches their new CD Smörgåsbord! at the Independent Theatre

Marais Project-insetFounded in 2000, The Marais Project recently turned 15, and each year presents Early Music with a number of highly regarded concerts making it Australia’s longest continuously running “viola da gamba” ensemble.

The Marais Project have performed more than 80% of Marin Marais’ works for solo, two and three viola da gambas and other fine works for the viola family. Additionally they have commissioned some twenty works by Australian composers and arranged new music for the ensemble. As well they have pioneered the use of the electric viola da gamba.      Continue reading The Marais Project launches their new CD Smörgåsbord! at the Independent Theatre

The Marais Project CD -Smörgåsbord!

Tommie Andersson- Arranger, theorbist, period guitarist

For the past fifteen years the Marais Project has augmented their continuing exploration of the 600 works composed by Marin Marais with concerts and recordings of considerable diversity and innovation.

The Project’s fifth CD, SMÖRGÅSBORD! is no exception. Recently released on the Move Records label, it shares aspects of the Swedish musical tradition from pastoral hymn tune through folksong and Baroque instrumental music to 21st century composition.

A stellar cast of a male vocalist and period instrumentalists bring to life a work from Marin Marais’ oeuvre as well as the variety of Swedish music. Fine arrangements by Tommie Andersson in the Baroque guise make up an impressive thirteen of the twenty-four tracks. Continue reading The Marais Project CD -Smörgåsbord!