Monday, 21 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
The Lord said unto me: “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee. – Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
Haec dicit Dominus Deus : Egredietur virga de stripe lesse, et flos de radice eius ascendet; et requiescet super eum spiritus Domini; spiritus sapientiae et intellectus, spiritus consilii et fortitudinis, spiritus scientiae et timoris Domini et deliciae eius in timore Domini."
A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah.And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.
"Christe redemptor omnium, ex Patre Patris unice, solus ante principium natus ineffabiliter.
Sic praesens testatur dies, currens per anni circulum, quod solus a sede Patris mundi salus adveneris.
Hunc caelum, terra, hunc mare, hunc omne quod in eis est, auctorem adventus tui laudans exsultat cantico.
Gloria tibi Domine, qui natus es de Virgine, cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu in sempiterna saecula. Amen."
Christ, redeemer of the world, Only Begotten Son of the Father, born ineffably of Him before time began.
The present day, brought back by the yearly cycle, attests to this; from the throne of the Father thou alone didst come down to save the world.
The heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is contained therein join together in a joyous canticle of praise for this day which marks thy coming.
Glory to thee, O Lord, who wast born of a Virgin, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
As the theme is the Twelve Days of Christmas and I am recreating aspects of a monastic cloister, I have chosen texts which speak specifically about the day itself, the First Day of Christmas, as well as other facets of the piece. I decided to start with the introit Dominus Dixit as the image of nations plotting in vain feel appropriate for a Peace Garden. Then, to follow that with the well known prophetic section of the text from Isaiah, a single voice reading in the darkness. The final chant, Christe Redemptor Omnium, is a timeless hymn sung by all that has a clear focus on the First Day itself. This is then followed by a church bell, ringing five times (five gold rings) which signifies the end of the cycle before it returns to the start and begins all over again, as it does every year.
All chant recordings for this piece are by the Abbaye de Solesmes, who have given their permission for them to be used for this piece in this context and I am truly grateful to them for their generosity in helping this piece come to life for the people of Gateshead.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
The arts event focussed on exploring the heritage of that local area and the commissions awarded reflected this in different forms, with the installations being placed in the village of Newton-Under-Roseberry.
It was a very ambitious event, not least because rather than be city focussed, it deliberately took art into a rural area. As well as that, the large peak that forms Roseberry Topping (a modern day corruption of its original name of Odin's Burg) was dramatically lit with large moving lights of various shapes, sizes and positions.
"Contours" was placed well off the main road in a field, where people could stand within the surround sound field in almost complete darkness with the only visual stimulus being the sweeping lights on the hill before them. Out of that darkness, voices, music, poetry could be heard in flashes, opening out the landscape and bringing life to the mystical end of the sound of a culture now hard to grasp.
The music was mostly music from that period and included improvisations on the lyre by myself as well as a rendition of a medieval piece of Danish music on the bone flute. Indeed, I enjoyed this project very much as I played all the instruments that were used.
My performers were all of Scandinavian, Icelandic or English background. They provided their own response to the translations of the Poetic Edda and Beowulf that we used. Moreover, much of Edda was heard in Old Norse and Beowulf was heard in Old English. Flavours of English, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish ran throughout as the languages of those descendants.
It was fascinating to work on and a privilege to work with so many enthusiastic people who really wanted to give voice to that landscape and fuse it with the present day. We all acknowledged the shared heritage that exists on both sides of the North Sea.
To thank these people I need to mention them by name so I will be posting a full credits list for "Contours" in the very near future as well as a link to a stereo version online so that those of you that missed it can hear a little of it.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
The piece also included the work of Robert Ziegler, John Del Nero and Sebastian Frost in creating the non-narrative soundtrack.
Durham gave the Festival an exceptionally warm welcome and the scale of response to the piece was certainly in keeping to the scale of "Crown Of Light" itself.
Particular highlights for me was the opportunity to work with the extraordinary artwork contained within the Lindisfarne Gospels. From a sound point of view, amongst the music chosen for the soundtrack was a short extract from "Viderunt Omnes" a Christmas chant by the medieval church composer Perotin. I have been an enthusiast of early music for a long time and always welcome the opportunity to explore it for projects so it was a delight to hear Perotin feature briefly on the sound side of this artwork.
Review in the Observer
Report in Live Design Online