Press Release date: August 2009
Navarra Quartet: Picturing Haydn
Navarra Quartet's CD Release and Illustrated Concert for Haydn Commemorative Year 2009
The Navarra Quartet pays homage to Joseph Haydn, inventor and master of the string quartet, with a specially created project to mark the commemoration of the composer's death 200 years ago. A collaborative endeavour built around Haydn's sublime Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross, Op 51 has resulted in nine specially commissioned paintings plus CD, short film and two ‘illustrated' concerts to mark the Haydn festivities this summer.
World-renowned Australian artist Jamie Boyd was asked by the Navarra Quartet to paint canvasses inspired by each musical movement and the paintings were then photographed to provide a projected backdrop for live concerts. The premiere public performance with pictures will be on 31 May (Haydn's actual ‘death day') at the Royal Northern College of Music as part of the Haydn The Innovator season (with projection), and again at the City of London Festival on 26 June (with original paintings). The pictures are also effectively a storyboard for the CD which is released on the Altara Music label in May/June 2009.
Jamie Boyd often painted to the sound of the Navarra Quartet rehearsing in the room next to his studio in his large family home in Hampstead, where the Quartet spends much time owing to the fact that its cellist, Nathaniel Boyd, is Jamie's son. Boyd deliberately painted in a different style for this commission as he was very conscious of how the pictures would be displayed on a projected backdrop and viewed from some distance. He used much broader strokes and less detail, but still the fearless use of vibrant colour for which he is celebrated. Colour is indeed the main interplay between the art and the music in the view of Navarra violinist Xander Van Vliet who has always wanted to bring together painters and musicians: "This whole project - the paintings, the recording process, the performances - has motivated everybody involved. Haydn is very inventive with colour in a smaller palette, while Jamie uses colour in a very broad and striking way. It all creates a very positive tension between the music, the art and the audience. "
Family and friendship have both played key roles in the development of this project, as voiced by the young musicians in a special film made by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust to show the whole project in the making, from its genesis through the recording process to a private concert earlier this year. This can be viewed on the BBT website - www.bbtrust.com - from 22 April and will form part of the CD package.
There is a special retrospective show of Jamie Boyd's work at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London this summer to mark the painter's 60th birthday.
The Navarra Quartet has financed this project with the support of its Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship which was awarded in 2007.
"His brilliance is not only reflected through his captivating use of colour, but also the symbolic representations of the themes of humanity and nature which his art so succinctly surveys" (Tim Watson-Munro)
Born in Melbourne, Jamie moved to London with his family as a young boy. At the age of 17 he began painting full-time in London and trained at the Slade School of Art. He held his first Australian exhibition in 1966 at the Bonython Galleries in Adelaide. Since then he has exhibited regularly in Australia in addition to showing his work in England, Italy, Germany and Holland. His work is represented in collections including Artbank, University of South Australia, University of Western Australia, Parliament House Art Collection and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. His artistic pedigree is unparalleled. The son of renowned artist Arthur Boyd and nephew of Mary Percival nee Nolan, his genetic endowment is unquestioned. Indeed, a perusal of the Boyd family tree bears testimony to the power of genetics as reflected through the involvement of his siblings Polly and Lucy as painters and an extended family dedication to art which can be traced back to the 19th century. Jamie's own children all paint too but have branched out professionally into the performing arts in the worlds of theatre and the concert hall.