With soaring vocals that evoke PJ Harvey and intoxicating, sprawling soundscapes that can be compared to Sufjan Stevens, Rachael Dease is a musical force to be reckoned with.
‘Hymns for End Times’ is an epic Perth Festival concert event revealing an intensely personal series of musical vignettes that will resonate powerfully in the dramatic setting of His Majesty’s Theatre.
This special event celebrates one of Western Australia’s most distinctive talents and the release of her first solo album of the same name. Originally written during the Australian bushfires as lullabies when Dease was nursing a newborn and facing man-made disaster and helplessness, ‘Hymns for End Times’ is both a powerful protest against an apocalyptic future and a poetic lullaby to help soothe our fears.
With the support of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and accompanied by the vocal ensemble Voyces, Dease’s spellbinding voice and magnetic stage presence will take you through intimate lullabies to orchestral heights in the captivating one-off music event.
Dease wrote ‘Hymns for End Times’ on the banks of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) as the 2020 composer in residence at Dalkeith’s historic Gallop House through the Bundanon Trust and National Trust of Australia.
“Looking out from this house during lockdown was startling. The river became a lake – a mirror, perfectly still. No people, no sounds, no boats. The perfect vista for stories to emerge”, Dease said. “I was dealing with fear and anxiety by dreaming up cinematography, and I was processing hope and love by writing the score.”
A prolific artist working across multiple disciplines, Dease’s often haunting compositions and sound designs include The Last Great Hunt’s ‘It’s Dark Outside’, WA Youth Theatre Company’s ‘Rest’, Barking Gecko Theatre’s ‘Ghost in My Suitcase’ and the STRUT Dance-Maxine Doyle dance-theatre work ‘Sunset’ with Tura New Music. For the 2021 Festival, she also is creating original scores for Barking Gecko’s HOUSE and WAYTCo’s BESIDE.
Her creative practice also comprises art music (the multi-award-winning song ‘City of Shadows’), sound installations (including a commission for Dark Mofo’s ‘Winterfeast’ and Perth Festival’s ‘Museum of Water’), and a stint as front person for alternative rock band Schvendes.
‘Hymns for End Times’ is a personal, unapologetic amalgamation of her talents. While Dease’s songs and voice have been compared to Nick Cave, Chelsea Wolfe, PJ Harvey, and Agnes Obel, ‘Hymns for End Times’ is a part-song, part symphony with shades of Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Henri Gorecki.
Perth Festival Artistic Director Iain Grandage said ‘Hymns for End Times’ was an intensely beautiful collection of music and it was a thrill to be able to represent an independent artist of such immense quality with a large-scale Festival presentation. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together the musical forces of WASO and Voyces to celebrate Rachael’s absolute tenderness, heart, and sense of theatricality as an artist”, he said. “It will be a stunning night in the theatre at His Majesty’s.”
‘Hymns for End Times’ is supported by Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, the WA Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and the Minderoo Foundation.
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre/ Karboordup/ Perth CBD
When: 18 February, 8 pm
More info: Perth Festival