Our residency concluded with this concert which was a great experience for us and an evidently fulfilling evening for the sizeable audience in the LexIcon studio. It really is a nice acoustic for chamber music; I was grateful for its resonance in the Dowland song In Darkness which is very soft and dark and intimate. Eamon used a little local amplification for his plucked instruments – which are intrinsicly quieter than the bowed ones – and Caroline used her small PA to amplify her voice too in the 3 songs she sang (items 6, 11 and 12). We had experimented with not using it but her style really requires it to put across the small inflections (my singing is less refined!) The full programme was
1. John Dowland (1563-1626) Lachrimae
2. ” Dowland’s Midnight
3. ” In Darkness Let Me Dwell
4. Johann Schop (c.1590-1667) Lachrimae Pavan
5. Erik Satie (1866-1925) Gymnopédies
6. Traditional 18th cent. Normandy Quand Je Menais mes Chevaux Boire
7. Nicola Matteis (fl.c.1670-after 1714) Diverse Bizzarie sopra la Vecchia Sarabanda o pur Ciaccona
8. Malachy Robinson (1970-) Barograf
9. Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) Petit Oiseau
10. Robert deVisée (c.1650-1733) Suite in d minor
11. Traditional 16th cent. Brittany Complainte de la Blanche Biche
12. encore: Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991) Les Petits Papiers
Eamon began the concert alone on the lute, and it was a good way to get the audience to tune in to its delicate charm. We ran the 3 Dowlands and the Schop (built on the Dowland Lachrymae) together which was a really intense start to the evening, lasting almost 20 minutes.
Satie was mesmeric, Quand Je Menais was very dramatic and Anita was flying in the Matteis. After the interval Barograf was really quite compelling and prompted several rewarding audience comments afterwards. Berlioz’ wee song was charming and naiive, deVisée was elegant in a Versailles kind of way, and the 16th-century Blanche Biche was earthy. A bit of French swing with Caroline was the only possible thing to conclude the kaleidoscopic programme.
It was an enormous privelege to have been supported in this residency, afforded the time and space to follow our noses in any direction that took our fancy. Eamon and I have been able to get to grips with some instruments that were awaiting our attention. We engaged with a load of repertoire that we would never have otherwise tackled. And lastly, we were required to present new work which was a sort of icing on the cake: permission to use our historical instruments to explore beyond their expected repertoire, beyond further-fetched repertoire and into our own imagination.
Enormous thanks to DunLaoghaire-Rathdown county council
- Malachy 26/6/16