TS Eliot writes of the midpoint of the English winter being "suspended in time, between pole and tropic". It's a bitter-cold solstice night in the village of Little Gidding at the end of a year. The season's wheel is hard put to turn, but there is the age-old promise of the new to come.
For us, tight with an antipodean cold, the mid-year winter solstice signals incremental movement from darkness towards light, from coats and scarf and hot-water bottle to sunscreen, barbecues and the beach. How intangible and improbable this can seem, not least, sitting in a cold rehearsal hall! But, however cold the day and dark the night, the start of a rehearsal period is full-blooded and warm-hearted and joyous!
Simon McBurney, actor and Artistic Director of theatre company Complicité, reminds us that "the word rehearsal literally means 'to rake over'. The word 'herce', from which 'rehearsal' derives, in its origin means a 'harrow'. Harrowing. To break up the soil, to prepare the ground in order to plant the new growth."
And we are the soil. We rake, and are raked, by new sounds, by repetitions, laughter, and heart-stopping moments of light and shade. We are moved. Transported to places new. It is a time of new growth.
And with what music! We are torn from our moorings by the sweet, wild, scintillating, rambunctious music of Ugis Praulins' Missa Rigensis, and shake warm hands across the centuries with the delicious motets of Palestrina and Victoria, and over the sea with our Australian premiere of Eriks Esenvalds' gorgeous Salutation.
On July 29th we are delighted to return with this bundle of joy to the beautiful intimacy of St Peter's Eastern Hill, a return that has given us the heartfelt opportunity to acknowledge and draw attention to the work of the Church and the Lazarus Centre in providing support for the homeless in Melbourne, not least by providing breakfast 365 days a year. It is with joy that we welcome volunteers and friends associated with this work to the concert as our guests.