Chris van Tuinen and Gladys Chua will escape from a prison into the open air in four uniquely site specific concerts.

It’s an obvious (and probably fatuous) statement, but one of the best parts of being a musician is talking to other musicians about what they’ve been playing of late. What they’ve loved, been disappointed by, found challenging or surprised them. This generally leads onto a discussion which starts with “you know what I’d really love to play…?”

It was just such a conversation between the wonderful pianist Gladys Chua and myself that led to this project. She told me that there was a long list of repertoire that she had not yet had the chance to play – which is amazing considering how much music Gladys gets through – and would love to put some of it together for a concert. In point of fact, a series of four concerts that takes the passage of time as its compass. Each concert should be an hour long and follow one after the other in some sort of marathon musical event that would be unique for performers and audience alike.

Fremantle South Mole where the dawn concert will take place. Photo © Fremantle Festival

This is how A Single Day was born. The idea needed work and also a platform, but fortunately for us the Fremantle Festival was keen to give us both. We also needed to ring in some other musicians and find out whether they’d like to take part. Luck and our colleagues sense of adventure did the rest.

The last part of the puzzle is finding an audience. What follows is a brief description of the concerts and the links – temporal and musical – between them. I’d encourage you to look up the places and hints of repertoire, then check your diary, wind your alarm clock and come and take part in the journey through A Single Day.

Night
The first concert takes place around midnight, in the Fremantle Prison and is a complete performance of Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen. It’s mysterious and dark in there, the music is deeply reflective and shocking in equal measure, you’ll lose your sense of time in the darkest night.

Dawn
The next concert welcomes the dawn (which is at 4.51am on November 4!) and is led by the amazing percussionist Louise Devenish. Out at the tip of South Mole, under the open sky, the rising sun will be greeted by shimmering textures as the audience is surrounded by sound that responds to the growing light.

Day
Third is the full blaze of noon, in a golden courtyard at Notre Dame University. WASO’s principal trombonist Josh Davis directs an ensemble of brass players in music from the Americas and beyond. The brightness of sound will be reflected as the high sun turns the brass instruments into lights.

Dusk
And finally, we face the setting sun in a concert of piano, voices and violas. The audience is positioned in the new Maritime Museum so that they face the setting sun while music of Bridge, Vaughan Williams and Schumann express farewell and loss. The Bridge Lament for two violas and Schumann’s Dichterliebe form the heart of this concert, finishing in the darkness of a new night.


A Single Day takes place at locations around Freemantle on November 3 and 4.

Details and tickets