Heard this and thought of you

Heard this and thought of you takes two familiar, apparently simple instruments – recorder and accordion, played by Genevieve Lacey and James Crabb – and conjures a world from them. The world emanates from their music, spanning six centuries, and as many countries and styles. From 16th-century Spanish busking tunes to contemporary Australian jazz and classical works written for the performers, via Scottish folk music and Bach, these humble instruments carry many connotations. Together, they make a beautifully hybrid creature, whose musical possibilities are vast.

Actor Katherine Tonkin joins the two players on stage. Known for her work both in experimental and main stage contexts, she brings a suite of exquisite letters from some of our best-known literary figures. Commissioned for this work, each letter is its own universe – a lament for a lost child, a wry note to a 14-year old self, a dark remembrance of a former lover. The breadth of styles matches the diversity of sounds, with texts from Chloe Hooper, Luke Davies, Helen Garner, John Clarke, Jana Wendt, Michael Leunig, Robert Dessaix, Scott Rankin. Each has written a letter to someone real or imagined, in response to the music, and the idea, ‘heard this, and thought of you …’.

With its ability to cut straight to our hearts, the music triggered rich emotional responses from the writers. The performance continues this game of associations, layering text and music, creating a dreamscape where sound begets memory, evokes music, evolves into theatre.

Directed by Andy Packer, best known for his work in Slingsby, and with a rich history of working closely with musicians, and in collaboration with writer-director-dramaturg Daniel Schlusser, this performance integrates sound, text, and image into a fully realised piece of theatre.

Heard this and thought of you was released by ABC Classics in 2015, and immediately named CD of the month by Limelight magazine. It was also selected as a ‘Critics Choice’ album for 2015 in Gramophone Magazine, a prestigious accolade. In 2017, ABC Radio National released a series based on our letters and music.

With thanks to UKARIA, Australia Council, Musica Viva, Speak Percussion, Adelaide Festival, ABC Classics and ABC Radio National.