Sheldon And Seraphim Join Forces For Ford Premiere



The Seraphim Trio joins forces with soprano Jane Sheldon for its March tour of which features Andrew Ford’s remarkable work Last Words.

Sheldon says “The program features a half-hour song cycle I commissioned from Andrew Ford last year. I was utterly thrilled when Andy sent me the score. It’s a very special piece and it’s been a treat to work on it with Seraphim.”

Last Words uses texts from many different sources­ like Goethe, Berg and Emily Dickinson, some of which are final utterances, final poems (Emily Brontë, Dorothy Porter) and letters to loved ones including a letter written by Major Sullivan Ballou to his beloved wife from the battlefields of the American Civil War. As well, Virginia Woolf’s haunting and beautiful farewell letter to her husband– a painful and poignant final declaration of love.  All are non-fiction except Tim Winton’s Fish from Cloudstreet.

“Given the subject matter, a lesser composer would run the risk of sentimentality.  Instead, Andrew has produced a beautiful and intensely powerful work that we are very proud to premiere” says the trio which comprises pianist Anna Goldsworthy, violinist Helen Ayres and cellist Timothy Nankervis.

Whilst Andrew writes:  “Last Words is probably best thought of as a cycle of songs and monologues, strung together to form a single structure.”

The basic conceit – that of using the final poems, letters and diary entries of mostly quite famous people, together with a few deathbed utterances – was always going to yield a meditation on mortality and grief, but I felt, early on, that aesthetically this was not enough. No one wants to listen to over half and hour of slow, sad music. What the piece needed was some relief, perhaps some defiance, ideally something that would allow me to write some fast music. Defiance proved easy enough to find….But in order to write fast music, I had to turn to fiction…”  

Along with Last Words, the trio will perform Beethoven’s very first published opus, the Piano Trio in G, Op 1 No 2 and Brahms’ first piano trio, the Piano Trio in B, Op 8 No 1 which he revised later in life.  

Tickets: $15-$40. Click here to book.

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