This album celebrates and explores aspects of a northern landscape. Natural forces, and the activities of the people who live and work in these inspiring yet often challenging environments, provide rich opportunities for musical interpretation.
Here is some information about the tracks:
Appleby Horse Fair*
For a few days every year Appleby, a sleepy market town in Cumbria, undergoes a radical transformation. It becomes a vibrant and edgy place with a clashing and coming together of disparate cultures. The music attempts to capture the pulsing energy and extravagance of this unique event. Thanks to Dave Scarth for a great bass line. (Scroll to the bottom of this article to hear this track)
From Rock and Water*
The idea for ‘From Rock and Water’ came to me as I walked across the moors near my home looking at the shape of the rocks and the vast distances of the moorland landscape. Barbara Hepworth never returned to Yorkshire and loved the Cornish sea but I wanted to suggest the profound influence on her sculpture of her early landscape experience, which she herself acknowledged, and its merging with her response to the rugged Cornish coastline.
Another piece inspired by a poem which compares the shelter of a sheepfold to that of a harbour. Outside the wind is breathing hard, trying to get in, it gnaws the stone. The music contrasts the dark elemental forces outside the fold with the safety within.
A Boulder Lies Submerged and Weathered Limestone Walls
Both tracks describe two folds rebuilt by Andy Goldsworthy as part of his Drove Foldsproject in Casterton, Cumbria. Each fold contains a large boulder from the surrounding fells. Every stone or rock implies and contains movement generated by the earth’s natural forces or as a result of agriculture, quarrying, mining or prehistorical activity. It contains, is a container of history. Inside the fold, the stone continues to encounter natural forces; runnels of water carve the surface, lichen appears. Goldsworthy sees the stone as ‘growing with the landscape … growing into something else’.
is a freestanding arch sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy – a landmark that orientates north. He says ‘North will be part of its nature – possibly something that catches the north wind, or a work that casts a shadow or a window to the north …’. The arch is in the form of a supported stone circle, through which we observe the changing landscape of land and sky.
The music evokes the shifting mist across a Hebridean landscape
The mist recedes, lets in the sky
clean lines trace shallow curves,
the lift and flow of low green hills;
white crofts overlook the waterline
The Latin confirmare: ‘con’ = ‘together’ and ‘firmare’ = ‘to strengthen’. This track attempts to show how bringing musical ideas together from various sources can be used to support one another, strength from fusion.
Postscript for Dave Gregory
This track was actually written some time before the others. It had been lying dormant until I could find the right setting for the melody and its extemporisations. This final version has an interesting counter melody; the bassline, full of nuance and subtlety, composed by Dave Scarth.
Dave Gregory (1951-2016) was a good friend and a superb craftsman who made all the instruments we hear on this recording.
Tracks marked * are a musical response to poems by Mary Ashworth
Important! We are planning a limited edition CD release in the near future. To register your interest, contact me via this link