Arts / An Elizabethan musical ‘love affair’

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RECORDER virtuoso Robyn Mellor is one of the genuine stayers on the Canberra music scene.

Part of Polifemy. Photo by Peter Hislop
She’s the director of the women’s eight-voice vocal group Polifemy, as well as the recorder ensemble, Walking the Dog, and is staging a performance that will focus on the madrigals of Thomas Morley, billed for this occasion as “the Andrew Lloyd Webber of Elizabethan England”.

The members of the English Madrigal School of the late 15th & early 16th centuries, she tells us,” cultivated a refined and passionate garden of love”, with Morley, in his roles as publisher, entrepreneur and composer extraordinaire at the centre.

Walking the Dog
Mellor has arranged some of Morley’s songs into a kind of musical love affair, ranging through “The Thrill of the Chase”, “Say Deere, will you not have me”, “Cease Mine Eyes, Now Must I Die” and “Love Learns by Laughing, Joy, Joy Doth So Arise”.

In this period also, the recorder consort came into its own, with dance music as well as popular songs. So Mel and Walking the Dog plan to demonstrate the complex polyphony of Anthony Holbourne, John Dowland (“tears-a-flow”) and William Brade’s dance tunes.

Polifemy and Walking the Dog, Canberra Centre for Christianity and Culture, King’s Avenue/Blackall Street, Barton, 5pm, Saturday, May 27. Bookings to a or tickets at the door.


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Helen Musa
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