photo: Emma Luker
Some things in life change and some things stay the same. The music on EPILOGUE, written between 2013-2019, comments on both sides of this dichotomy. The pieces respond to social, cultural, and political ideas of past and present times and their influences are wide-ranging: the power of music to connect all people regardless of language and cultural background; the poetry of fellow South Australian, Syd Harrex; notorious female figures; a song sung before white settlement in Australia; feelings of trepidation and joy, fragile peace, and time standing still; an observation that our departed loved ones are sleeping close by; and an attempt to seek simple beauty. These pieces and their stories have been a part of our lives for many years and we are thrilled to share this music. We hope it speaks to you. — Zephyr Quartet
Great White Bird by Hilary Kleinig
Great White Bird imagines the time in Australia before European settlement. It makes reference to ‘Susie’s Ship Song’ – a song sung by Susie, a Wirangu woman from Yardea on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia – which tells the story of a great white bird that came over the seas and was tethered to the bay so that it couldn’t get away. It is believed that the song was created in response to the tall ships of Mathew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin sailing into and anchoring in Denial Bay.
Great White Bird honours and pays tribute to Australia’s first people, their stories and their land.
Femme Fatale by Belinda Gehlert
I Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn was Henry the VIII’s second wife who was found guilty of high treason, adultery and witchcraft was subsequently beheaded. She was a significant figure in history for being the reason Henry VIII annulled his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and declared the English church's independence from Rome.
II Hedda Gabler
Inspired by State Theatre Company of South Australia’s production of the Henrik Ibsen play, I was struck by the beauty and tragedy of a female figure who is so devoid of passion for life that she plays with the fate of others to seek joy.
In Nordic tradition, a Huldra is an amorous forest spirit who lures men into her lair, rewarding those who satisfy her and killing those who don’t.
Cockatoos by Hilary Kleinig
The immense numbers and cacophonous, relentless sounds of cockatoos are such a uniquely Australian sight and sound! In writing Cockatoos I was inspired by the images in a poem by Syd Harrex to create structures and sounds in the music that echoed the sentiments within the poem, such as ‘flock in blade formation’, ‘scissor sun lagoons’, ‘scattered like mange in the fur of grass’, ‘shattered by a sea of brilliant flaws’, ‘eat with and ecstasy’, and ‘the moral writes the score’. I also wanted to celebrate their raucous jubilation and their ancient and ongoing presence in Australia.
Exquisite Peace by Hilary Kleinig
Exquisite Peace tries to capture in sound the essence of a moment of gratitude and stillness where I feel that everything is ok in my life, so perfect at this particular time: the rare, fragile beauty of this crystalline space, knowing that at any second reality, and all that it demands, might come crashing back through and the bittersweet knowledge that I never know when it will happen again.
Blindfold Gift by Emily Tulloch
Blindfold Gift takes two themes written for a children’s theatre piece exploring birthdays, and especially the trepidation around social anxieties of birthday parties. The opening section tiptoes around this anxiety, with the feeling that perhaps something exciting lies hidden beneath the uncertainty, and then gives way to something more openly joyous.
Our Lovely Star by Emily Tulloch
“Our lovely star” is a short phrase, taken from a Hermann Hesse short story, which neatly and tenderly describes a planet or homeland. In a time of global struggle and pain, I consciously explored positive thoughts on the beauty to be found in life in this small-scale work.
Mulysa by Jason Thomas
This piece was inspired by a Christmas spent working in Australia's offshore processing centre in Nauru. Irrespective of their country of origin, all the asylum seekers came together to sing, dance, and play instruments, highlighting the transcendent power of music. The joy and hope witnessed in that moment was an incredible juxtaposition to the despair witnessed only moments earlier.
Time's Timeless by Jason Thomas
Time's Timeless is a response to the poetry of Syd Harrex. Its creation centres on mindful observation of the sounds of the Australian outback. It becomes apparent that even the quietest moments in nature present delicate melodies.
Epilogue by Belinda Gehlert
Inspired by a stanza of poetry in "An Epitaph of Words' Tears" by Iraqi poet, Yahia Al-Samawy about the death of his mother.
The layering of harmonies in this piece are inspired by the idea of dirt and soil being layered like sheets and blankets upon the departed while the sounds of bells tolling in the distance mark the leaving of a loved one.
The living sleep above the earth
And the dead beneath it…
So the difference between them
Is only the placement of the bed,
And the kinds of pillows and covers.
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