The Marais Project 2017 – It Takes Two: A Viol Spectacular

Marais Project
Jenny Eriksson, courtesy The Marais Project

Jenny Eriksson, courtesy The Marais Project

To start their season in 2017, the Sydney based group The Marais Project will present their founder and leader Jennifer Erikkson playing both acoustic and electric viola da gambas.

They are to be paired for a stellar concert, providing Sydneysiders with the perfect Sunday summer afternoon outing that of joyous music, accompanied by a delicious high tea on January 29, 2017.

For this concert, which is part of The Independent Theatre, North Sydney’s “Prelude in T” series, they will join forces with the toe tapping Elysian Fields, Jennifer Eriksson’s second group of players.

Jenny, Cathy, Belinda, Tommie

Core Members The Marais Project, Jenny Eriksson with Cathy Upex, Belinda Montgomery and Tommie Andersson

Marais Project musicians are soprano Belinda Montgomery, with Tommie Andersson on Lute and Theorbo and their leader Jennifer Eriksson on a ‘Baroque’ viola da gamba.

They have been performing the entire works of French composer and viol player Marin Marais (1656 – 1728) since 2000 to great acclaim.

Jenny & Ruby Gamba

Jenny Eriksson with her electric Viola da Gamba

They will expand this experience or their concert It Takes Two with Australia’s leading jazz musicians; Elysian Fields – with Matt Keegan on saxophone, Matt McMahon on piano, Siebe Pogson on bass, Finn Ryan playing percussion and Jenny on electric da gamba, all presenting contemporary works.

For me the program of music is everything when I am choosing a concert to attend and Jennifer Eriksson and her colleagues always get the balance right.

This concert will be no exception and it will take its attendees joyously from early period music to the present day.

Ben Hall

Instrument maker, musician, artist and architect John (Ben) Hall (1935-2017)

It will be informally dedicated to musical instrument maker, artist and architect John (Ben) Hall (1935-2017) who made Jenny Eriksson’s first viola da gamba.

John Dowland MatureEnglish composer and all round musical wizard John Dowland (1563-1626), was indeed a poet of early music. His troubled life is reflected in the melancholy of many of his works, although he was always described as being cheerful at court, so much so that in 1612 he was appointed one of the ‘musicians of the lutes’ to King James 1 of England (James VI of Scotland, 1566-1625).

Dowland broadened the experience of music in his time as a joyous experience, composing many enchanting melodies often in dance form.

Lute and MusicThey are chromatic fantasies that today many jazz and avant-garde musicians are inspired by including singer, songwriter Sting who once described Dowland as ‘the first alienated singer-songwriter”.

His Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home was a ballad referring to a battle that took place in the Low Countries including The Netherlands, Belgium and the low lying delta of the Rhine, coastal regions bounded by the North Sea or English Channel.

The fifteenth day of July, with glist’ning speare and shield,
A famous fight in Flanders was foughten in the field:
The most couragious officers were the English captains three,
But the bravest in the Battel was brave Lord Willoughby.

Marin-MaraisFrench court musician Marin Marais (1756-1728) wrote five books of Pièces de viole (1686–1725), composing, beautiful music presented with such an abundance of joy that you couldn’t help but smile.

The final works on the first half include his pieces Quel sguardo sdegnosetto – that disdainful glance, Si dolce é il tormento – so sweet is the moment and Maledetto sia l’aspetto – Cursed be the appearance, which all reflect that Italian composer and musician Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) pursued his passionate ideas and ideals with both seriousness and perseverance.

He was an extraordinary individual and an exceptional musician, one who revived the spirit of antique tragedy and created a form of musical drama both classical and modern at the same time. The richness of his invention is renowned.

The second half will features works commissioned by Jenny Eriksson and starts with the ballad Three Rivers by Steve Hunter; arranged by Matt McMahon a versatile jazz pianist, composer and arranger who has toured widely both nationally and internationally and teaches at Sydney Conservatorium.

Jenny ErikssonIt will end with “Elysium”, the first Australian piece for electric viola da gamba and singer in a contemporary mode.

It honours the ‘Elysian Fields, which in Greek mythology was originally the paradise to which heroes ascended.

It was the place for perfect happiness and delight, a place for the blessed dead, who were recognised as having a righteous life.

Everyone is sure to leave feeling entirely happy following an inspiring and interesting Sunday afternoon enjoying fabulous music and an elegant repast beforehand, to put you in the mood.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017

Marais ProjectIt Takes Two: A Viol Spectacular

Sunday January 29, 2017 at 3:30 pm


Price includes Afternoon Tea

VENUE: Independent Theatre
269 Miller Street
North Sydney


  • John Dowland (1563 1626)A shepherd in a shade ~ My Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home ~ Sorrow stay ~ My Lord Chamberlaine, his Galiard ~ It was a time when silly bees 
  • Anon.J’avois crû
  • AnonUne jeune fillette
  • Marin Marais (1756 – 1728) Saillie du Café (perfection of coffee) Sarabande – from suite in C major book III
  • John Paul Jones (1946 – )So ell encina
  • Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643)Quel sguardo sdegnosetto ~ Si dolce è il tormento ~ Maledetto sia l’aspetto


  • Three Rivers by Steve Hunter; arranged by Matt McMahon
  • Two ballads for the electric viola da gamba
    • At Carna by Matt McMahon
    • For Thomas Wyatt by Matt McMahon
  • Dark Dreaming by Siebe Pogson
  • Rescue by Siebe Pogson
  • Elysian Fields– arranged-composed by Jenny Eriksson based on “Le Badinage” by Marin Marais
  • Elysium (movements 2 and 3) by Matt Keegan


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