Music in this stillness
Early and Contemporary Music associated with The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries
NSW Art Gallery Main foyer
Art After Hours
Wednesdays 11, 18, 25 April, 2 & 9 May
Music in this stillness is a series of 5 concerts inspired by The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. Late medieval and early Renaissance music by Guillaume de Machaut, Guillaume Du Fay and Gilles Binchois features, along with premieres of new Australian compositions by Moya Henderson, Alice Chance, Bree van Reyk, Victoria Pham, Amanda Cole and Brooke Green.
Performers include: Bree van Reyk, organetto; Josie Ryan and Amy Moore, sopranos; Elizabeth Rumsey, viola d’arco; Brooke Green, vielle, treble viol; Fiona Ziegler, Catherine Upex and Alice Chance, viols.
The contemporary compositions incorporate the little-known medieval instrument, the organetto or portative organ which is depicted in the tapestry representing the sense of hearing. With only 20 keys, this tiny instrument produces an enchanting sound. Made in the 1980s by Ronald Sharp, builder of the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, it has been generously loaned by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences for this project.
Moya Henderson: The hem of her dress, a fanfare for solo organetto. One of Australia’s most eminent composers, Moya is perhaps best known for her 1997 opera, Lindy, about the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain in 1980.
Alice Chance: Ça va bien, a happy blues for soprano, organetto, treble and bass viols. Here, the composer depicts The Lady as self-sufficient and quite content, luxuriating in her paradise garden.
Victoria Pham: A Aurore, for soprano, organetto, viola d’arco and bass viol. Dedicated to George Sand whose words “shaped with colour and woven with threads of The Lady and The Unicorn’s burgundy and amber” inspired the music for this work.
Brooke Green: Le Miroir et La Licorne (The Mirror and The Unicorn) for soprano, organetto, and vielle: a palindrome that incorporates the enigmatic phrase that appears in the last tapestry, Mon seul desir (here translated as My sole desire).
Amanda Cole: Portative Organ Solo with electronics: Theme and Variations on a Bell Ringing Pattern.
Curated by Jason Catlett, with performances led by Music Director Brooke Green, this project is made possible by an anonymous donation to the Art Gallery Foundation in memory of Steven Alward, a patron of both the visual arts and new music.