Saturday 21 July 2018
Messum Wiltshire, Place Farm, Court Street, Tisbury, Salisbury SP3 6LW
In a production conceived by international theatre director Frederic Wake-Walker specifically for the space at Messums Wiltshire, the trust showcases work from 2014 – 16 and features the amalgamation of years 2017 (literature) and 2018 (music) in a new commission. The piece is created by composer Daniel Saleeb and writer Zoë Palmer, recent graduates of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and sung by acclaimed countertenor Iestyn Davies.
At the outset of this process in August 2017, we experienced Messums Wiltshire for the first time. We both felt the pull of prehistory and it fired our imaginations in different but complementary ways. Danny’s first impulse was a need to set up an ensemble that could somehow tug at history, and with Iestyn Davies (countertenor) already in place, it made sense that the theorbo and viola da gamba could do that and also provide a quality of sound that could give expression to something of what we had sensed in Wiltshire. Thus Liam Byrne (viola da gamba) and Jonas Nordberg (theorbo) joined the project. We thought about pictures, sonic postcards. Zoë’s response was to delve into archaeology, to explore stories from the landscape and re-imagine ways in which they resonate and move through time. Our postcards evolved into portraits of very different lives, in different epochs, grappling with remarkably similar dilemmas.
Danny has therefore been experiencing the products of Zoë’s imagination through the prism of this small ensemble, which has thrown together some of the repertoire for which these instruments are famous with the themes and imagery that Zoe explores. At this stage, still writing, Danny is exploring instrumental movements which will interplay with song settings of Zoe’s words.
Thanks to the Veronica Stewart Arts Trust, we have been able to collaborate on our first project together and plan to continue our partnership.