ELISION Ensemble | Justine Cooper | John Rodgers

Introduction | Artist's statements | Song texts | Press | Performances | Trailer [20mb mpeg4 quicktime]

Early music band playing as Deborah Kayser sings and scans the musicians.           photo: Alex Craig

Ma che? Squallido e oscuro by Sigismondo D'INDIA
(c.1580 - before 19 April 1629) published in 1609 (Milano)

Even then? Squallid and obscure you appeal to me.
Beloved soul, if here you are afoot,
If you hear my complaints, pardon my audacious desires,
The exploitation and boldness;
From the pallid lips I wish to steal the cold kisses
Which I hotly desired.
I shall deprive death of a part of its spoils
By kissing the bloodless and pale lips.

Chi vuol ch'io m'inamori by Tarquinio MERULA (1595 - 1665) published in 1638 (Venetia)
If I am to thee enamoured
Then tell me, pray, of what?
Of lively flowers?
- But what is a flower?
Or of lovely eyes, burning with passion?
- But they so soon will be extinguished.
Death, alas, brings destruction
And time shatters all:
Today we laugh, tomorrow we cry. If golden hair
Is to capture my affections,
What, then, when that gold
Should turn to frosty silver?
And the lovely snow-white breast
Will soon lose it's whiteness.
Death also fills the heart
With terror.
Today we are light,
Tomorrow shadow. Should I prize treasures
When I see that I shall die?
And seek honours
That I shall soon leave behind?
Where should I place my hope
As the final hours approach?
Alas, how the deluded heart
Does feed on vanity;
Today we are born, tomorrow we die.

The sound is a hybrid of original composition, improvisation and music from the early Baroque. The impovisation includes the musicians dissecting their instruments during the live performance event, along with the improvisation of the bodies performed upon by the Ultrasound machine in the booth installation at the Art Gallery of NSW.

* Special thanks to Samantha Cohen for her assistance to John Rodgers in sourcing the early music used in TULP