Phoebe and her hot water bottles

This was a beloved story when I was young. It wasn’t just sweet it really touched on themes of identity when all the adults in her life kept giving her hot water bottles when really she wanted a puppy.

So when it came time to do a self directed piece for my Diploma of Performing Arts I knew I needed to reference it.

So for this piece we had to work to a time limit, we used tech for effect, and we needed music. I was stumped on the last. But I knew what I wanted to do with the space.

I wanted it filled with roses. Visual, scented, I wanted realistic ones, I had at least one book on gardening too.

I wanted to essentially be Phoebe but in my piece for me to have people keep giving me roses because that’s as much as they know about me. A mix of not knowing, and not wanting to know. And I really still needed music and I still needed a way to go from isn’t this lovely, she’s talking about her passion, to oh, this is actually bad.

At the time I was living about a 40min walk (maybe more, yes it was more, it was more than an hour) which gave me a lot of time to listen to the radio (yes) and play back lessons to practice singing. Nothing builds core strength and for a lifetime like speed walking and maintaining a smooth line in singing.

And one day I was listening to concert FM and it was some Early Music. It was 16thC French songs and dances and I settled in to listen. And you won’t believe the name of the album.

“Le Jardin De Melodies” by The King’s Noyse.

The garden of melodies.

Okay, so I keep listening and it’s Pavane and Galliarde “de la Battaille” and I’m loving it. Still doesn’t quite feel like what I need. It’s so close though. This mix of gentle and then passion. I could work with it. I’m just enjoying it anyway.

So we get to the “Almande / Saltarello” And hey this is nice. And then really quickly you feel like you’re slightly forward with the music. Then you get a bit of relief, then you fall forward again and… bang. Right into “Schiarazula Marazula”

I got goosepimples.

And the best part, is the music then starts to right itself. We’ve had this music that seemed so standard but felt wrong, to this music that startles with the instruments, but it feels like we’re coming back together.

So in my piece the Almande reflects external expectations, but it feels wrong, then the start of Schiarazula is my own recognition of how I’ve been part of the same expectations. As the music builds I started to look for anything but a rose, breaking them all up on stage. When the music pauses is the start of calmness and rebuilding, but by my own hand and imperfectly a rose that is now entirely my own. It’s about rebuilding and keeping what was good. The music builds faster again, but this time it feels like heading to new place.

PIAS represents the Harmonia Mundi label and they’ve created playlists of many albums including Le Jardin:


Also yes. If you’ve ever heard me sing anything at an SCA event it’s likely Helas Fautil. It took on a different meaning for me in 2016.

But my voice is classically trained and getting a vibrato let alone the ability to do trills was so very difficult that I’m not giving up the placement I use which also has protected my voice from wear.

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