Two thousand turbulent years after the great classical period in the arts of Ancient Greece the early composers of music during the 17th century, or what we know as the Baroque style age in Europe, were busy embracing the philosophies and principles of the ancients. The new ‘music of friends’ reflected the notion that man and nature were once more back in harmony with each other and happy.
The ‘Baroque’ phase would forever change the atmosphere of the music world, helping those seeking to make a modern world. Music during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became a joyous celebration of life with proportion, harmony and clarity were admired and unity in diversity was central to humanities existence. It’s still much the same today, only the way the notes have been arranged has changed.
Sydney musician and teacher Jenny Eriksson and her musician colleagues through The Marais Project at Sydney champion diversity in joyous music. Their ‘Lady Sings the Viol’, a CD released in May 2013 became national CD of the week across the ABC in May 2013.
It is rare for an independently released classical music CD to catch both the public and critical imagination. However Jenny Eriksson’s “Lady Sings the Viol” has done just that. It was, as one critic reflected, ‘a compilation of astonishing grace, beauty and sentiment’.
Jenny has always been willing to push boundaries in music and she has invited former Opera Australia principal soprano, now an independent Director, Christine Douglas, to produce their hit CD ‘The Lady Sings the Viol’ launch in the form of a Cabaret to be held at The Independent, a superb music centre venue at North Sydney on Saturday evening August 24th at 7:30 pm.
All five singers who perform on the CD – Belinda Montgomery, Mara Kiek, Narelle Evans, Nicole Thomson and Megan Cronin will appear, as will some thirteen of Sydney’s top instrumentalists, ensuring that all in all it will be a night to remember!
With different combinations of viols, violin, lutes, guitars, harp and percussion accompanying each song, their Cabaret concert-goers are in for a great treat.
The show will be compered by baritone David Hidden and with dulcet tones ABC Classic FM’s Christopher Lawrence will launch the CD officially.
Jenny has also commissioned youthful Australia composer Alice Chance to complete a new arrangement of a well known classic song for the finale.
“Today I had the absolute pleasure of hearing your version of “La Vie en Rose” on ABC Classic FM. It made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, honestly and no disrespect to the great Edith Piaf, but that rendition is the most beautiful I have ever heard” commented one listener on The Marais Project’s facebook site.’
For me it was hard to believe that I will actually be in Sydney at the time – wouldn’t miss this concert for the world ! Join Me
Jennifer originally formed The Marais Project in 2000 to perform the complete 600 works of Marin Marais, the famed 17th century French master of the viol, which is about 80% complete.
She continually works with ‘muso’s and singers from a non-early music background to keep fresh’, although she suspects that ‘Marais and the French baroque repertoire will continue to make up the core of what we do’.
Jenny Eriksson explains; the concept behind “Lady Sings the Viol” was to create a CD of “covers” of popular tunes.
Five very different singers, individually and collectively performing songs from 1300 to the present day including music by French singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963), John Paul Jones (b1946 -), who was Led Zeppelin’s bassist, the renowned Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) and the Australian contemporary composer Elena Kats-Chernin (b1957 -).
Belinda Montgomery (pictured) graduated in 1997 from Sydney University and completed further studies with Emma Kirkby and Evelyn Tubb in England. She has since established a freelance career in Sydney, where she is particularly active as an early music specialist appearing with various ensembles, most notably the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Salut! Baroque, Concertato, The Marais Project and The Sydney Consort.
She has also appeared with contemporary music specialists and her solo engagements have included working with The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir), Sydney Chamber Choir and Synergy Percussion.
In March, 2003, she gave the world premiere performance of contemporary composer Andrew Ford’s new song cycle, Learning to Howl, which later won the APRA award for Best Composition in 2004 as well as the Paul Lowin prize for Song Cycle.
As both a soloist and chorus member Belinda has performed extensively with Cantillation, Australia’s leading professional chorus, directed by Antony Walker, appearing on many of their ABC recordings. She has recorded music for radio broadcast and has appeared on many CDs for the labels Tall Poppies, Walsingham and Celestial Harmonies.
Mara Kiek is an Australian authority on the Bulgarian vocal technique for song and folk music and her career has ranged from folk to rock and includes her own multi-Aria award winning international music ensemble Mara. She’s heavily involved in the world of choral projects for children and adults and has recorded over 30 CD’s including the motion picture soundtracks for such as “Babe – Pig in the City”, Passion and ‘The Navigator
Narelle Evans (pictured) is a soprano who has secured lead roles in musicals and opera including Les Miserables (Cossette), The Pirates of Penzance (Mabel), The Secret Garden (Rose) and Dido and Aneas (Dido).
She has been guest artist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and was twice nominated for an ACE award for her one-woman theatre show she has been performing throughout NSW and QLD for the last 5 years.
Narelle is currently teaching voice at St Andrews Cathedral School Sydney and when she was vocal coach to the Stella Maris College choir travelling throughout Europe they received third place at the 31st International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna. Alongside her extensive music theatre, cabaret and other performances Narelle tours with Musica Viva in their schools ensemble, Sounds Baroque.
Nicole Thomson performed full-time with The Song Company, a world-renowned a cappella vocal sextet for 11 years, before embarking on a free-lance career. Head of Vocal studies at Central Queensland University, Nicole regularly works with Sydney based musicians and travels and performs soprano and cello programs and is heavily involved in school education.
Megan Cronin has been involved with many Choirs in Canberra where she studied at the Canberra School of Music. Megan has sung with some of Australia’s finest choirs, and is a founding member of the Early Music – Celtic ensemble Pastance. She has appeared at Australia’s largest folk festivals, including Woodford, Port Fairy and The National and like her colleagues is heavily involved in school music education.
On the Lady Sings the Viol CD are stylish arrangements of “She was beautiful”, originally made famous by English jazz singer Cleo Laine (b1927 -), the big band swing number “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, performed with such great success by the great American band leader Glen Miller (1904-1944) ” although in this version the three singers emulating the backing group The Andrew Sisters are accompanied by two viols, theorbo and percussion.
“A world first I imagine!” said Jenny.
There is also a gorgeous version of the “Cavatina” from the movie “The Deer Hunter” and two great Piaf songs, Padam Padam and Piaf’s signature tune, Le Vie en rose.
This became the rage post war, its lyrics appealing to those who had survived such difficult times
In an interview recently Jenny noted that the song works beautifully with viols and with musician Tommie Andersson’s original 1830’s classical guitar.
She said ‘putting Elena Kats-Chernin’s “Revolving Doors” between them makes sense as they share the same ‘Cabaret mood’.
The audience getting ‘in the mood’ will ensure that this bespoke Cabaret concert will be a special experience and undoubtedly a success.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2013
Marais Project Concert 2, 2013 – Lady Sings the Viol Cabaret
Saturday 24th August 7:30 pm
The Independent Music Centre
269 Miller Street, North Sydney
Megan Cronin – voice
Jennifer Eriksson, Catherine Upex, Shaun Ng and Imogen Granwal – viols
Tommie Andersson – lutes and guitars
Alex Cronin – double harp
Llew Kiek – gittern
Jess Ciampi – percussion
Reminder Residents & Visitors
Sydney Saturday August 24, 2013
With warm thanks to Jenny and her colleagues, The Culture Concept Circle has three 3 x Double Passes to GIVEAWAY for this special ‘Cabaret’ plus three (3) CD’s.