Saturday, 28 November 2009

St Andrews Festival - The First Night

The St Andrews Festival begins tonight featuring three art installations which I have been one of the artists on.
Last year, myself and Ross Ashton were invited to create a piece for the Festival within the the University grounds. The St. Mary's Quad site was chosen and we created "Origin", a 13 minute son et lumiere which looked at the creation of Scotland, from its physical landscape and animal inhabitants through to the human contribution of a more modern day. The sound reflected this, starting with an effects based atmospheric soundscape which contained music archaelogy samples and animal sounds from animals once wild here but are now here no longer. It moved into a more contemporary feel via the songs of Robert Burns into modern bagpipe playing.

This year we have added to this with two companion works at St Andrews Cathedral:

"Via Caeli" which is a projection piece, created for the still standing wall behind the altar. It looks at the way to the heavens and includes both religious works and observational views of the heavens and starscapes moving over the altar wall.

"Via Maris" is a son et lumiere which touches on "the way of the sea" and the relationship between that and St. Andrews. It touches on legends including the dream of the Greek monk St Regulus and his journey to Scotland with St Andrew's bones to prevent the Roman emporer Constantine removing them from Greece. It draws parallels between Andrew's origin as a fisherman and the history of fishing of this area, as well as the arrival of Christianity and the importance of the Cathedral.

All these threads move together into one. The sound piece allowed me to draw on Ancient Greek music as a direct influence, including the use of a fragment dating from Greece in 1st Century A.D. This melody is a recurring theme, opening the piece and becoming associated with St Andrew (he was martyred in Patras, Greece) featuring in The Dream Of St Regulus and resurfacing once more in a folk arrangement with guitar, treble recorder and cello at the end.
Other highlights for me include the use of verses from the Carmina Gadelica to underscore the nature of Celtic Christianity in its early days as well as providing a context for the 19th century fishermen later on.

Click here for Via Caeli pictures on Flickr

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More links to follow.