Elder Perspectives presented a fresh and unique offering from the Zephyr Quartet and Jane Sheldon with Música Anonymous. No less animated by the chill outside, the audience poured into Elder Hall with an excited hum of anticipation.
Música Anonymous offered a juxtaposition of traditional and modern folk music from around the world – including new compositions by Andrew Ford, Quentin Grant, and Reza Vali. ARIA nominee Jane Sheldon accompanied the Quartet, lending another element to the music with her ethereal penetrating soprano.
Zephyr is not your conventional black-tie quartet. They are a true a musical collective, praising modernity and individuality. Violinists Belinda Gehlert and Emily Tulloch discreetly swapped places for several songs, suggesting a partnership rather than the traditional first and second chair hierarchy.
Some of the modern arrangements found these talented musicians making sounds akin to a hive of bees experiencing the Doppler Effect. The more traditional (and actually anonymous) offerings were perhaps easier to enjoy, while their modern counterparts tried to discover something new and edgy within folk music.
The detailed program and narrations from the artists themselves ensured the audience was educated about each piece. For example, before embarking on Tales of the Supernatural by Andrew Ford, Sheldon urged the audience to listen for the “natural rhythms of speech” throughout his music.
Audience favourites included the Mexican Veracruz Dance and Peregrina, and a series of Irish folk songs arranged by Quentin Grant. These last held the perfect combination of traditional and modern that the Quartet chased throughout the performance.
Elder Hall was the perfect venue, promoting an intimate atmosphere between artists and audience. The performance would have been overwhelmed by a larger or more formal venue. It was a delightful and enlightening way to spend a crisp winter evening.
Soprano – Jane Sheldon
Violin – Belinda Gehlert
Violin – Emily Tulloch
Viola – Jason Thomas
Cello – Hilary Kleinig
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford.