Nadja-Léona - Yes, we are mysterious, powerful...

Who are you?
I am the soul in limbo.

Nadja-Léona, an activated installation performed at the Alliance Française of Melbourne. Dance with video, sound, text, architecture.

Nadja-Léona: concept and direction by Jude Walton with Finnish based performer Gesa Piper, dancers/choreographers: Michaela Pegum, Jo White, Hillary Goldsmith and Arabella Frahn-Starkie, composer/pianist Kym Dillon and artist Eliza Dyball.

Below, a few photos and thoughts after viewing the performance:
- by Catherine Schieve

After witnessing this wonderful, luminous work by Jude Walton and collaborators, I am left thinking about many aspects of dance performance that are intimately connected to the performance of ritual and worship. Here are a few jottings: The eloquence of the body in space; the ability of the body to create sacred space and to hold space; the mystery of objects and props, primal forms such as the egg; how text does and does not share meaning with gesture; how (even now!) the female form is rare as the “primary mover” in performance and worship; the beauty and humour of costume and mask; distance created by masking and ritual gestures creates space for meaning and imagination… and how architecture is enlivened by movement; how time perception is changed by witnessing human movement; and the very tangible presences of light and sound.

NOTE: These photos are only from the third, and final movement of the work. The first two movements were completely different, and occupied their own spaces; the first took place as a projection upon a dancer’s bare back. The second movement was in an underground crypt-like space and had a strong component of projected video, live music, and the texture of stone and light.

With thanks and appreciation to Jude Walton and company

Enjoy the Silence



Last night, at Olafur Arnalds’ concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre, the Icelandic musician introduced the song Nyepi from his latest record Re:member. The song is named after a Hindu tradition he encountered whilst in Bali, Indonesia. (The same tradition is known as Ugadi in India.) Nyepi is a Day of Silence, when usually busy roads and beaches are empty, houses are quiet—and the internet is switched off—lights are kept low, and people are encouraged to spend their time in reflection and fasting in preparation for the new year.

Here is the song, performed in Berlin…

Lag fyrir Ömmu

Interestingly, the concert was full of silences, most notably at the very end, when the song Arnalds played as an encore, Lag fyrir Ömmu, from his Living Room Songs, subsided into a long time when nothing happened. The song, he explained, was written for his grandmother, just after her death. At the end of his performance of the song last night, the however-many-hundreds of people in the concert hall sat totally still, absolutely silent, for three/four/five/more? minutes. It was unusual, strange, rich…

Unlike in this video, filmed when he played the song at London’s Royal Albert Hall, in Melbourne the audience fell into silence…

The great silence / The sermon of stillness

Many liturgies invite experience of silence. For example, here’s the note from the Church of England’s Morning and Evening Prayer:

But in the age of personal computers, and the possibility of orders—or sequences for screen— being put together locally, notes like this, and rubrics that enact them, are easily lost. And even where present in books where books are still used, they are widely ignored. To great loss.

Here are two lovely examples. First, from the (Anglican) Church of Ireland’s Book of Common Prayer of 2004. After communion, “the great silence”:

Then, from the Uniting Church in Australia’s Uniting in Worship 2 of 2005, Service of the Lord’s Day 3, with its “Sermon of Stillness”. After the reading of scripture:

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 4.48.35 pm.png

(Note the suggested length of time—”at least five minutes”—and encouragement of posture “conducive to meditation.” And note above the sermon of stillness itself, a “bluebric” (right-hand side historical or source note to accompany the red choreographical rubrics) commending the kissing of the Bible—a practice approved by Zwingli, a Protestant Reformer often cited for his bare ceremonial sense!)

We need artists to remind of the beauty of these practices which religions prize.

A review of Arnalds’ concert at the Sydney Opera House last week:

INORI = Adoration

My soul wakes up with a contented smile:

Ian Parsons writes from Berlin where he just witnessed an astounding performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s INORI (Concert Philharmonie, Berlin, 18 September 2018). He writes - ecstatically:

“INORI — The word is Japanese. It is kind of a cross between adoration, prayer, and invocation. But Stockhausen mainly translated it simply as adoration…”

“My soul wakes up with a contented smile after last night's glorious performance of Stockhausen's INORI at the Berlin Philharmonie - there are so many pictures about it, like this one of Diego Vásquez and Winnie Huang captured in just one of over seventy minutes of towering moments, the image below photographed by Gisela Schwarz. 'Adoration' is what the name means… So this extraordinary INORI journey comes its end with tonight’s overwhelmingly powerful performance and the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra. Dionysus arising from De Profundis, reaching upwards and outwards; Apollo on high. God and gods celebrated in universal adoration through music and gesture. Thank you all so much, Diego and Winnie, and also to Emmanuelle Grach and Jamil Attar and to Kathinka Pasveer and Alain Louafi for making these magnificent performances possible and for allowing me to come along for the ride. You have worked so long and so hard and so lovingly. And so creatively. So musically. Thank you.”

Photo (above) by Gisela Schwarz

Photo (above) by Gisela Schwarz

Series of four photos (below) from Musikfest Berlin:
Das war das Finale des diesjährigen Festivals mit Karlheinz Stockhausens "INORI", präsentiert vom Orchester der Lucerne Festival Academy und Peter Eötvös, den Tänzermimen Winnie Huang und Diego Vásquez unter der Klangregie von Paul Jeukendrup! Wir danken allen Beteiligten für ein tolles, bereicherndes Festival, verschnaufen kurz und planen im Anschluss voller Vorfreude das Musikfest 2019!

Above 4 photos thanks to Musikfest Berlin /

Ian Parsons is an Australian musicologist, specialising in the music of Karlheinz
Stockhausen. - thank you!