LLOYD Rees’s 1980 painting Fire Haze at Gerringong has taken on an even greater, eerie significance for composer Wendy Hiscocks.
The Wollongong-born, London-based musician is a long-time Rees devotee and will play, among other pieces, a composition inspired by that work at this weekend’s Lloyd Rees Festival in Gerringong.
The festival runs for four days starting tomorrow. It has been planned to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the renowned artist’s death, to honour his association with the area and celebrate the Gerringong landscape Rees loved.
In Australia for the Festival and just back in the Illawarra, Hiscocks met festival organisers in Robertson on Thursday, October 17, the worst day of the recent Southern Highland and Blue Mountain fires.
After their morning meeting, Hiscocks and her husband took a drive to Burrawang. While a good distance from the worst of the Highlands’ fires, the blaze created a smoke haze that resonated for the musician, especially in light of Rees’s work.
‘‘It was uncanny,’’ Hiscocks said.
‘‘As we were driving there was smoke and the scarlet red sun and I thought – ‘I remember this from when I was a kid’.
‘‘The composition has that red sun appearing dramatically and other bits in the piece depict the winds.’’
The piece will premiere at the Gerringong Town Hall on Sunday for the Rees Festival’s Gala Concert.
Hiscocks moved to London in 1988.
She has received commissions, premieres and broadcasts from distinguished soloists, ensembles, choirs and festivals from around the world.
The Berrima Singers will perform a choral piece by Hiscocks called Grace, which was inspired by Rees’s painting of Chartres Cathedral called Ascension 1.
‘‘It is just a phenomenal painting that one – it’s stunning,’’ Hiscocks said.
‘‘It was like it was a film set for me. I could enter the painting and connect with this very sacred world.’’