The Marais Project performs Two, live, online, on the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall platform, followed by the release of an exquisite recording in April on the Move label.
One of Australia’s most colourful early music ensembles, The Marais Project conceived Two as the centrepiece of its 2020 concert series. Not wanting to abandon the concept when concerts were cancelled, artistic director Jenny Eriksson took the group into the studio to record the project then make a high quality 50-minute film for broadcast.
Two brings together the nationally renowned talents of Marais Project founding members Jennifer Eriksson, viola da gamba, and Tommie Andersson on gallichon, theorbo and baroque guitar. In an usual performance practise, each plays alternate brackets of solos before a joint performance of a splendid Marin Marais suite for viola da gamba and continuo. Guest artist Susie Bishop (voice and violin) joins them for a gorgeous finale.
The performers wanted to create the feel of a live performance in the way the music flows and the performers interact – both on video and in the resulting recording.
“The theorbo and the baroque guitar have a wonderful solo repertoire spanning hundreds of years,” Jenny Eriksson says. “Tommie also made several gallichon arrangements for this recording including a truly lovely Mozart Adagio originally composed for the glass harmonica.” Tommie dedicates his recording this piece to the memory of recently deceased Swedish soprano, Eva Nässén.
The viola da gamba is also endowed with a rich treasure of solo works. For the first time in her career, Eriksson has performed and now recorded some of her favourite solo pieces, including the world premiere of a work written for her by Australian composer, Paul Cutlan. “Paul and I have known each other for many years and I deeply respect his musicianship. Sarabande is an arrangement of a movement of a popular suite he wrote for viola da gamba and harpsichord. It is a privilege to bring this music to life for the first time.”
Pride of place in both film and recording goes to that giant of the viola da gamba, Marin Marais. “We have explored so many of his suites over the years and there is always a sense of achievement in committing another of the great man’s works to record,” says Eriksson. “Tommie and I know each other and the music so well. The joy of playing Marais just flows from us!’