As Baroque ensemble Latitude 37 (Donald Nicholson, Laura Vaughan and Julia Fredersdorff) approaches their 10th Anniversary Concert, they reflect on a decade of fabulous programs, explorations, tours and music making with some of their favourite early music specialists.
Back in 2008, as we stood together more or less naked for our Bill Henson-esque first photoshoot with our long-time photographer Albert Comper, we couldn’t have imagined that we’d be here looking back on so many memorable projects.
We studied together at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, we worked together overseas, and when serendipity brought us all back to the Antipodes, our trio was an obvious next chapter for us — because of our true love of the same sort of Baroque repertoire, a love of performing, and a shared attitude to interpretation.
We all like to keep things fresh and leave room for spontaneity in performance. In addition to that, we possess an innate ability to communicate musically with each other in a free and natural way. This musical chemistry has existed since the beginning. That is not to say that we don’t have our fair share of “discussions” (OK, sometimes out and out arguments!) in rehearsal, but at the end of the day we respect each other and come to a solution organically. When we walk on stage to perform, we can be sure of three things: we can completely rely on each other musically, we all enjoy each other’s playing and we adore the music that we are able to create together. It really is a special thing and more unusual and rare than you might think.
Since 2008 we’ve released three albums with ABC Classics, two of which were nominated for ARIA awards. We have also recorded the Telemann Paris Quartets for the Move label (scheduled for release in 2019). We have toured New Zealand twice for Chamber Music New Zealand, performed in festivals and venues all over Australia including two Musica Viva coffee concerts, given sell-out recitals for Hobart Baroque and Brisbane Baroque, presented a unique concert of Ottoman music at MONA in Hobart, and a specially curated live recital for ABC Classic FM in Sydney. Countless concerts have been recorded and broadcast nationally by ABC Classic FM and 3MBS. In March 2018, we had the honour of working with the talented dancers of the New Zealand Dance Company as part of the Auckland and New Zealand Festivals. We have also had the honour of a close association with Melbourne Recital Centre, performing concert series there every year since its opening in 2009. Ongoing support from such a special venue has helped us so much along the way.
Through these diverse performance opportunities, we have discovered an expansive range of repertoire together. Although we call the music of the 17th century our musical heart, and have a long list of favourite composers from Castello to Couperin, we have also had the rare opportunity and privilege to explore more unusual genres, ranging from medieval estampies and Eastern European ancient folk melodies, to Classical Turkish music and cutting edge contemporary compositions.
We enjoy working as a trio alone, but we have also been fortunate to collaborate with a range of guest artists over the years, including Lucinda Moon (Baroque violin), Simon Martyn-Ellis and Nick Pollock (theorbo), Simon Rickard (bassoon and rackett) Greta Bradman (soprano), Fiona Campbell (alto), Siobhan Stagg (soprano), Nick Dinopoulos (baritone), David Greco (baritone), members of the Nefes Ensemble, and members of Alwan, plus the fabulous Neal Peres da Costa (keyboards), Genevieve Lacey (recorders) and so many others.
To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we have put together a special concert program of some of our very favourite music. When planning and putting together programs, we generally look for a central unifying theme. For this one, it is simply a playlist of our all-time favourites, whether they have some special creative meaning for us, or that they are just undeniably drop-dead gorgeous. To take one example, we have chosen Rameau’s La Cupis for example as we simply love it: it’s a beautiful piece that works well for our instruments, constantly challenges us, and never gets old in performance. Uccellini’s Sonata Op.4 No.2 is a perfect little jewel of a piece, and we so enjoyed Donald’s Toccata and Ciaconna Pyramida based on progressions from a well-known pop song, we just had to play them again! Erlebach’s Sarabanda in e minor is simple, yet touchingly charming. We also loved the spaciousness and quirky effectiveness of playing Satie’s third Gnossienne on our baroque instruments and have been waiting to pull this one out of our hats again. It is a diverse hour of music, but tied together by a passion that we have for all the pieces.
At the beginning of August, we are continuing to commemorate our 10th year with a special recording titled X, to be released exclusively on vinyl and including many of the same quintessential Latitude 37 tracks as we’ll be playing in the Salon. Keep an eye on the Latitude 37 website for more details and a chance to get one of these beautiful limited edition albums, due for release at the end of this year.
Latitude 37 performs their 10th Anniversary concert in the Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre on Tuesday 24 July at 6pm. Click here to discover more.