Evergreen Ensemble continues their fascinating journey into the sound world of colonial Australia with this enchanting album of instrumental and vocal music drawn from the music collections of Sydney Living Museums and the State Library of New South Wales. Bringing together Australia and Scotland’s finest Early Music talent and iconic folk artists, Evergreen Ensemble weaves stories back through time, rediscovering the sounds of folk melodies performed on period instruments.
For their new album Curious Caledonians, ensemble director Shane Lestideau has invited four renowned guest musicians to bring their specialised knowledge of 19th-century performance styles to the recording. They have delved deep into the nation’s musical archives to discover treasures hidden in the personal music books and manuscripts lovingly bound together by their owners for safe-keeping. Much of this music bears the unmistakable flavour of Scotland: strathspeys and reels, haunting Gaelic airs and arrangements of favourite Scottish songs and tunes. It gives us the chance to ‘listen at the window’ of a Scottish-Australian house in the 19th century and consider what place these songs, piano duets and quadrilles may have had in their lives.
Curious Caledonians offers a rare insight into domestic and public music-making in Australia since 1788, honouring the extraordinary contributions of Scottish culture to Australian society. Part classical, part folk, part Scottish, part Australian, this album captures the musical – and emotional – landscape of the early Australian settlement.
Shane Lestideau violin
Ben Dollman violin & viola
Allegra Giagu mezzo-soprano
Claire Patti soprano & Celtic harp
Aaron McGregor violin
Daniel Yeadon cello
Neal Peres Da Costa 19th-century square piano
David McGuinness 19th-century square piano & harpsichord