Symphony in No Need of an Orchestra

Michael Kieran Harvey’s Catalogue des Errances Bibliques in partnership with the Australian National Academy of Music

In partnership with composer and pianist Michael Kieran Harvey, the RMIT University Sonic Arts Collection and SIAL Sound Studios, ANAM presented the world premiere of Michael Kieran Harvey’s Catalogue des Errances Bibliques.

A spatial recording was also created in ambisonic and multi-channel formats to accompany the score, acquired by the RMIT Sonic Arts Collection.

A collaboration with Michael Kieran-Harvey, staff and students of the Australian National Academy (ANAM) at South Melbourne Town Hall.

Scored for a barrage of ANAM keyboards and percussion, this work whimsically reinterprets each of the 25 chapters of The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy as a homage to its punctilious author, C Dennis McKinsey. Just like McKinsey’s encyclopedia, Harvey’s Catalogue des Errances Bibliques leaves no stone unturned. From the Bible’s chaotic composition to other Holy Books and life after Biblical Errancy, the upcoming performance on 25 May is designed to sweep the audience across the entire history of the Bible.

Think The Book of Mormon, and imagine what will happen if this musical comedy were to cross paths with Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux, a work that’s far more faithful and affectionate; and you will be left to wonder how Harvey maintains a light-hearted approach to the most grandiose of all subjects, simultaneously while capturing the energy of the genre, and somehow doing it all without having an actual orchestra present to help him out in his task.

The performance was further accompanied by narrator Arjun von Caemmerer, whose work is described as “a poetry that uses language like plasticine” (Collective Effort Press); “when language is contorted, the mind goes into a spin until the enforced concentration resolves itself into what is called ‘meaning’,” and as a yogi and a general medical practitioner, he’s well-equipped to guide the listener through such gyroscopic motion.

Harvey and Caemmerer are aided further by immersive sound by Lawrence Harvey (RMIT SIAL). (Text adapted from ANAM website)


More information about this event can be found here.

25th of May, 2019

Australian National Academy of Music, South Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne

Gallery images: Alistair McLean & Lawrence Harvey