Friday 4 October 2019
19:30 £15/£8 under 16
Kevin flanagan's Pedders way project
This is a composition funded by the PRS Foundation that is based on The Peddars Way, which is a First Century Roman Road that was pushed through the heartland of Iceni territory, probably as a means of military domination, shortly after Boudicca's failed rebellion of around 60 AD.
Kevin Flanagan has long been inspired by landscape artists such as Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy, and has always wanted to explore ways of engaging musically with the landscape in some way other than just a somewhat subjective 'impression' of something; a " ...this is how this makes me feel..." sort-of-thing. Wouldn't it be more interesting to actually use something concrete (yet abstract), such as the coordinates of each church, as a starting point? These can generate melodic and rhythmic material that is strangely lyrical. Maybe crunch the numbers of a particular church's unique sonic profile? This could yield something to use as a start of an improvisation and accompaniment. So this is a project which seeks to link communities with contemporary music which has direct correlation to their locality and history.
The history of the road also forms the basis of the sung text, which is taken from the Annals of Tacitus (Book XIV, chapter XXXV), containing the only contemporary account of Boudicca's (Tacitus's spelling) rebellion. Kevin has set Boudicca's speech to her tribesman, just before she led them in battle against the Romans ("Boudicca curru filias prae se vehens,..."). This is combined with some lyric borrowings from Plainchant, namely the Dies Irae and an Ave Regina. After all, she was the queen, but about to lead her tribal host into what was almost complete annihilation at the hands of the Roman Legions.
This is the first of a new series of projects, where where Kevin is looking at exploring ways of rooting musical structure in the landscape (the unintentional) in more concrete fashion than just subjective impressions, and combining structures derived from the landscape, recorded sound, to inform instrumental chamber groups and controlled improvisation.
The piece began from five days spent walking and camping along the Peddars Way.