The Marais Project is joined by international countertenor, Russell Harcourt, in a brilliant collection of largely Australian songs and instrumental works exploring light and darkness, love and loss.
The repertoire for Australian Monody spans from the greats of past eras - Henry Purcell, John Dowland, Marin Marais and colonial composer, Isaac Nathan – to works by living composers Carl Vine, Gordon Kerry, Alice Chance, and Michael Nyman.
Marais Project singer, Susie Bishop, also contributes an original song, as does ensemble leader, viola da gambist Jenny Eriksson, who composed a new final movement to a suite by Marin Marais, the group’s namesake.
The original inspiration for the album came from renowned Australian composer, Gordon Kerry. He contacted Eriksson to say he had financial support from the late Marena Manzoufas to write a piece for The Marais Project which he titled ‘Christchurch Monody,’ referring to the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand. The ensemble already had two songs by colonial composer, Isaac Nathan, in their repertoire, including ‘The Aboriginal Mother.’ This remarkable song, a setting of a poem by Eliza Dunlop, explores the infamous 1838 Myall Creek Massacre of up to 30 First Nations’ people from the Wirraayaraay clan. Gradually the idea formed for a whole album of Australian songs, plus a sprinkling from overseas – all sung by Australians.
If you love interesting, out of the way music and relaxed, concert settings you will love The Marais Project! Jennifer Eriksson originally founded the group in 2000 to perform the complete works of Marin Marais an 18th century genius of my instrument, the viola da gamba. Over the years our repertoire has greatly expanded and now includes a huge range of wonderful vocal and instrumental music for the viola da gamba from the 1300s to the present day. They also commission and arrange new music for the ensemble.
“The Marais Project’s latest album Australian Monody on the Move Records label is an eclectic mix of music which is drawn together by several underlying themes. spanning the music of composers like John Dowland from the mid-16th century, to the present, represented by Carl Vine, Gordon Kerry and Michael Nyman. The album is titled after the early 17th century term “monody” which was used to describe vocal works written for a single voice. Perhaps the tracks of most interest are the three pieces influenced by Australian Indigenous themes. The opening piece, Alice Chance’s Precious Colours tells the vivid story of the rainbow winger butterfly inspired by the story of Gamilaroi Dreaming. It is gently sung by Harcourt and Bishop in imitative style with the two gambas, theorbo and violin.”Read full review
— Shamistha de Soysa, SoundsLikeSydney
“The pieces on this album have been meticulously curated to explore universal themes from multiple perspectives. The unity of purpose imbued in the performances is a delight.”Read full review
— Mandy Stefanakis, Music Trust e-zine Loud Mouth
- Precious Colours Alice Chance
- Lullaby for a Broken World Susie Bishop
- If Michael Nyman
- Christchurch Monody Gordon Kerry
- The Aboriginal Father Isaac Nathan
- The Aboriginal Mother Isaac Nathan
- O dive custos Auriacae domus (Elegy on the death of Queen Mary Henry Purcell
- An Evening Hymn Henry Purcell
- Prélude le Soligni
- Allemande la Facile
- La Petite Tarantelle Jennifer Eriksson
- Now O Now I Needs Must Part John Dowland
- Love Me Sweet Carl Vine
Suite in A minor for viola da gamba and continuo, Book V Marin Marais
- Russell Harcourt · countertenor · tracks 1, 3, 7, 8 and 14
- Susie Bishop · violin · tracks 1—7, 14 and 15
- Jennifer Eriksson · viola da gamba · all except track 6
- Catherine Upex · viola da gamba · tracks 1, 4, 14 and 15
- Tommie Andersson · guitar · all except track 13
- Anthony Abouhamad · organ · tracks 7 and 8
Alice is an Australian composer, conductor, arranger, and lyricist. Her works are performed in concert halls (Sydney Opera House, The Kennedy Centre, City Recital Hall Angel Place) and cathedrals (St Mary's Cathedral Sydney, Stanford Memorial Church California, Trinity Church Wall St New York City).
Susie Bishop is a versatile multi-instrumentalist and vocalist.
Gordon Kerry's music ranges from the symphonic through chamber music to choral music and opera. He is frequently commissioned by Australian orchestras, chamber ensembles, festivals and soloists, as well as ensembles in the USA and Europe.
Henry Purcell was an English organist and Baroque composer of secular and sacred music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music.
Marin Marais (1656-1728) was a French composer and viol player. He studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully, often conducting his operas, and with master of the bass viol Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe for six months. In 1676 he was hired as a musician to the royal court of Versailles and was moderately successful there, being appointed in 1679 as ordinaire de la chambre du roy pour la viole, a title he kept until 1725.
Jenny Eriksson completed her initial musical studies at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music studying music education and cello with Barbara Woolley. She subsequently studied the viola da gamba with Jaap ter Linden at the Rotterdam Conservatorium for three years where she completed post-graduate studies in baroque music.
Carl Vine first came to prominence in Australia as a composer of music for dance, with over 20 dance scores to his credit. His catalogue now includes six symphonies, six concertos, music for film, television and theatre, electronic music and numerous chamber works.
Where to buy
Move CDs can be ordered through music retailers across Australia including Readings.