A big crowd gathered last Sunday afternoon for the performance of Elysian Fields, an off-shoot from the Marais Project created by Artistic Director Jenny Eriksson, composer / pianist Matt McMahon and Sax-specialist Matt Keegan. Being a part of the infamous “A Prelude in Tea” series at The Independent Theatre drew many regular sweet tooth subscribers to the large cake buffet but, there were plenty of new faces attending as well.
The stage featured a unique mix of classic contemporary band instruments (drums, bass, sax and keys) mixed with violin and Eriksson’s stunning electric viola da gamba. The ensemble took a relaxed meander through a diverse program from re-arranged folk songs, jazz and new works. The starring piece was a World Premier written especially for the group “I dreamed I moved among the Elysian Fields” based on a poem of the same name by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Edna St Vincent Millay. The composer Gordon Kerry is much in demand in the classical music world and was there to read the poem before his composition began. The piece flowed in a dream like creation expertly interpreted by singer Suzie Bishop and was very well received. Continue reading ELYSIAN FIELDS : A SINGULAR PATH→
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→
To say the least, an electric viola da gamba is an uncommon instrument. Consequently, I had little preconception of what Thursday’s CD launch would entail. The simple answer is that it is all about exceptionally creative and innovative music and extraordinarily skilful performers that display their considerable talents with complex and intriguing compositions.
Jenny Eriksson’s electric viola da gamba is at the heart of Elysian Fields and she is joined by the impressive contributors: pianist Matt McMahon, saxophonist Matt Keegan, vocalist and violinist Susie Bishop, bass guitarist Siebe Pogson and Dave Goodman on drums. Their diverse backgrounds might seem at odds but it is fascinating how the classical, baroque, jazz and folk sensibilities can complement each other when the compositions, arrangements and skills of the musicians are all of such a high standard. The delicate interplay of styles and the impeccable harmonies are some of the features that make this unlikely mixture very entertaining and enriching. Continue reading ELYSIAN FIELDS CD LAUNCH @ THE FOUNDRY→
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→
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