NOTHING BUT A RAUCOUS INSTRUMENT
A chamber opera directed by Travis Ash
with music by Lachlan Hughes.
Design by Ivan Cheng.
Performed by Danita Weatherstone, Travis Ash, Camilo Lascano Tribin, Ivan Cheng, Marcus Whale, Miles Horler & Lachlan Hughes.
While probably unknown to even the average musician of today, Carlo Gesualdo was a true musical revolutionary. What is unusual about his influence is that it arguably began almost three centuries after his death. Dying thirty-seven years before the birth of J.S. Bach, Gesualdo wrote music with a chromatic language not heard again until the mature works of Richard Wagner.
Separate to his highly unusual harmonic vocabulary, Gesualdo became somewhat of a cult figure among twenieth-century artists and composers, entrancing figures such as Igor Stravinsky, Werner Herzog, Salvatore Sciarrino, Peter Warlock, Alfred Schnittke, Louis Andriesson and Brett Dean to name a few.
The music of ‘Nothing but a Raucous Instrument’ makes reference not only to the music of Carlo Gesualdo, but also to the wealth of cultural mythology surrounding the figure. In this way I have become something of a bricoleur.
The work is framed by two arrangements of madrigals from Gesualdo’s sixth book of madrigals, here played by an ensemble with diverse cultural associations. Within lies a suite of miniatures expounding varying sides of the so-called ‘Gesualdo myth’.