EVER been run over by a truck and just at the moment when you felt what’s left of you being drawn towards a tunnel of bright light you heard the unmistakable serenade of Andre Rieu’s album And the Waltz Goes On playing in all its glory? Or maybe you’ve been dragged out to sea by a bad rip and, just as you were going under for what seemed like the last time, a blast of Mahler’s Symphony No 8 in E flat major brought a modicum of calm to your predicament? If you have survived one of these tragic situations or something equally horrific (a big call, I admit, in Rieu’s company) you may consider nipping down to the pub sometime with Melbourne artist Saskia Moore, who would be more than pleased to hear your tale of woe. Following extensive research Moore has discovered that people who suffer near-death experiences often hear classical music as a soundtrack to their last few minutes — or not — on earth. SD has nothing to offer in the way of experience to back up this research, other than a few near-unconscious experiences in which Iggy Pop and a bath full of home brew played a part, but it seems Moore is on to something here. To that end she and Melbourne-based ensemble Apartment House have collaborated on a new work, Dead Symphony, a composition and light show inspired by real near-death experiences. According to the blurb from Arts Centre Melbourne, where the Dead Symphony performances will take place in August, ‘‘sound is understood to be one of the last senses left before death’’ — I’m guessing along with sight, taste, smell and touch, depending on the circumstances, but I could be wrong. Anyway, Moore researched her work by talking to preeminent professors in the field of neardeathness and also interpreting the accounts of people who have gone through that experience. Moore has ascertained — and I’m quoting again here — that the sounds and music heard in such desperate circumstances are like little symphonies. If you would like to hear what she’s on about, the Playhouse Rehearsal Room from August 7 to 10 would be the place to be. SD had the great pleasure of being involved in the Art of Music Live concert that took place at Sydney Opera House last Monday, a charity event to raise funds for the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy organisation, which uses music to encourage development in the disabled and those with learning difficulties. The original Art of Music project was devised in 2006. Every two years Australian and Kiwi visual artists are asked to interpret a well-known song and the resulting artworks are auctioned off. This year it was decided to hold a concert, featuring some of the songs that have been reworked on canvas. It was a wonderful evening of one-off performances by acts such as Tim Finn, Ian Moss and Iva Davies, among others, all of them delivering free of charge for a worthy cause. Among the highlights were Sydney’s Josh Pyke, giving a delicate solo reading of the Church’s Under the Milky Way, Dave Mason’s emotional take on his band the Reels’
Quasimodo’s Dream and Prefab Heart, and Katie Noonan, accompanied by bass player extraordinaire Jonathan Zwartz (see album review above), doing an exquisite version of Cold Chisel’s Flame Trees. A Les Paul guitar given a custom design by Australian artist Michael Leunig fetched $6000 during the auction part of the evening. HAPPY birthday today to Men at Work’s Colin Hay, who turns 60.
Katie Noonan and Jonathan Zwartz