Since I last wrote it has been great to see some of the social restrictions lifted on meeting together in New South Wales and elsewhere. Tonight we are celebrating by having my son and a musical colleague over for dinner – the first house guests we have had for weeks. I am really looking forward to it.

The role of artists in our society and how to best support artists during the pandemic

Jordi Savall

There are many, many people from a range of industry sectors who are suffering due to the pandemic so I do not want to make a special case for artists during this crisis. However, it is interesting to observe how little is known in government circles about the economics and employment patterns of the arts. I am choosing to say that government policy-makers don’t know much about our sector rather than they don’t care! Many of us, for example, do not have a casual, permanent or even a part time job. We work on a series of back to back engagements or contracts. This is the case in theatre, film, many areas of music and of course in painting, sculpture and installations. Because we do not have ongoing employment many of us are not considered “attached” to an employer as required by the Federal Government JobKeeper program. It is like we do not exist. It is great to see that organisations such as the ABC, State Governments and other organisations are stepping up to support artists and arts organisations but the amount of money on offer is small given the economic size and impact of the arts sector. We should do better than this as a nation!

My day to day activity

As I reported last time, I am in a good pattern. I exercise and practice each day and also try to support my parents, parents in law and others in my groups and ensembles. What am I practicing? A lovely suite in A major by Marais (of course!), some solo viol pieces – including two by Australian composers – and I am keeping up the electric viola da gamba as well. I am also about to start arranging some new music for Elysian Fields, my electric viola da gamba ensemble. We have been finalising the post production of “Fika”, Elysian Field’s new CD of music from an inspired by Scandinavia. I love choosing art work and photos and listening to the final mixes. Fika is coming together really well.

Playlist of the week – Scandinavian jazz

The Gota Canal, Sweden

This week’s Playlist is a little different. It is called “Scandinavian Jazz – cool musings from the Far North”. The tracks reflect some of my favourite songs from the Scandinavian jazz musicians I love: EST, Jan Gunnar Hoff, Jan Gabarek, Mats Norrefalk and Ketil Bjørnstad. There are also a couple of songs from The Marais Project!

Artists to enrich your life

This week I would like to give a shout out to gambist and baryton player, Maddalena del Gobbo. I just love her CD “Maddalena and the Prince” which features music from the court of Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. The good prince was, of course, the patron of Joseph Haydn. The recording features three Trios for Baryton by Haydn and a late sonata for viola da gamba by Hammer, a composer I have not come across before. The playing and sound quality are superb.

By the way, the baryton is like a viola da gamba but it has sympathetic strings under the fingerboard that vibrate while you play. It creates a gorgeous sound and Haydn loved it!

Keep well.

Jenny Eriksson

Founder and Artistic Director The Marais Project, Elysian Fields and Da Vinci’s Apprentice, May 4, 2020