In our turbulent times, musicians are finding imaginative ways to reach their audiences to create a space into which listeners can escape and be restored.
With this in mind, I seek out counter-tenor, harpist and composer David Yardley, to ask about his long love affair with medieval song and his musical journey, leading away from and back to Canberra.
I'm curious to know if there is a personal quest at the heart of Yardley's latest musical venture, The Lost Codex of Avalon.
"At the heart - it is about building a bridge between evocative music inspired by real medieval sound over to the realm of modern fantasy literature, gaming and film worlds," he says.
"I always think of what I'm doing as similar to the approach taken by J.R.R. Tolkien - building and creating upon a foundation of historical knowledge to weave a story reaching modern audiences.
"I'm trying to do the same in music.
"And yes, there's absolutely a personal quest involved! Medieval music and magical worlds have brought me joy, inspiration and imaginative stimulation and I am so passionate about sharing that with others.
"I decided to pull out all the stops for The Lost Codex of Avalon, bringing in absolutely top musicians to make the realisation of the music as enthralling as it can be.''
Asked how his musical career has developed since leaving Canberra, Yardley says his career has taken him along roads he'd never expected.
"I'd never have dreamt that I would have the chance to sing as a soloist several times in Carnegie Hall, or the Lincoln Center, or perform to a class of students at the Juilliard School.
I always think of what I'm doing as similar to the approach taken by J.R.R. Tolkien - building and creating upon a foundation of historical knowledge to weave a story reaching modern audiences. I'm trying to do the same in music.Composer David Yardley
"I'd never have dreamt that a medieval group I founded in New York would be headhunted to perform as part of professional concert series in historic churches on Manhattan.
"Or that choirs with whom I had no pre-existing connection would seek out and perform my compositions."
Yardley's online concert is a direct response to the restrictions that are needed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he describes the power of technology in what has become a volatile and unpredictable world. "I very recently invested in some decent recording equipment, built a quality website in New York, and took a course on recording software too, which is coming in extremely handy at the moment," he says.
"It's still new territory for us but, as the saying goes, creativity loves constraints. It's actually quite energising to engage with how to make an online concert work technically, and even more, with how to give people as much of the feeling of live performance as possible."
I ask why he thought it was important to embrace new ways of experiencing music in the midst of the pandemic.
He responds that online concerts provide a particularly critical source of joy, hope and stimulation now.
"We all know that the measures being taken at the moment are needed - that doesn't change the fact that isolation is a challenge," he says.
"Part of the reason it's a challenge is that our world suddenly shrinks into our immediate environment.
"The arts keep us engaged with big ideas, with joy, with community and with the world beyond our isolated environments. Compared with medieval people experiencing isolation in, say, a plague environment, we have a distinct advantage in the information age.
"Even though certain kinds of artistic expression are limited at the moment, others are not, and they have grown much more important in a time like this."
Listeners who log into the concert will be transported to a musical realm that offers consolation and a place for restoration through the pure beauty of his enduring compositions.
- The Lost Codex of Avalon. Composed by David Yardley. Performed by Yardley and Luminescence Chamber Singers.
- A concert preview with Yardley's commentary is one YouTube. The album is expected to be launched in December 2020. Pre-order the album at davidyardleymusic.com and receive a private link to the full concert.