Becky West, Regional Producer - North, looks ahead to the premiere of Reflections on Wordsworth - a new film created by Cumbria Calling young composers and Laura Bowler as part of our Encountering Wordsworth project with Manchester Camerata.
It’s been a long wait to premiere the evocative new piece Reflections on Wordsworth written by Cumbria Calling young composers and Laura Bowler. The April 2020 culmination performance was inevitably cancelled and we rounded off the creative process with a short film celebrating Wordsworth’s 250th birthday and the project.
In April 2021 we were finally able to have a recording session with Manchester Camerata on a beautiful spring day at Ambleside Parish Church, with a set designed by Dan Fox. One of our young composers joined the professional team and at the invitation of conductor Rob Guy, Alissa expertly introduced the creative context and ideas of the piece to the musicians and alongside Laura Bowler, continued to shape the recording through the day.
We are delighted that our partners at Wordsworth Grasmere are premiering the film as part of their event celebrating their current exhibition Still Glides the Stream: Wordsworth’s Journey down the River Duddon.
Back in autumn 2019 our young composers and primary schools had a fascinating inspiration day at Wordsworth Grasmere, exploring Wordsworth’s poetry and the environment around Dove Cottage and going on a sound walk with artist Dan Fox. They collected a range of sounds from around Grasmere and the river, including the rather tuneful rhythmical drip of Grasmere’s water fountain.
The sense of place, landscape and nature, along with the words of Wordsworth inspired our young composers and participants to think about where they live and what it means to them, writing their own responses.
“Thine crystal clear waters give me joy. The coolness thou gives me puts happiness in my heart”
“Your little brook makes me feel free”
“How you swallow the stones and wind”
“I like the way you shimmer on the rocks and ripple along”
“Wild rushing water, white with foam. Steadied by rocks that carve the way home.”Lines from poetry written by participants
Dan Fox and the Cumbria Music Hub team used the collected sounds to work with a group of students with PMLD at Sandgate School. Using a soundbeam, they observed responses, and used these to programme the soundbeam to feature within the final piece.
Over a series of workshops and residential, the young composers created a wealth of musical ideas, exploring the character of words from the Duddon sonnets and ways to represent these musically with composer Laura Bowler.
Together, they have created an evocative multi-movement piece that will transport you to the landscape of the Lake District. So grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy Reflections on Wordsworth:
Reflections of Wordsworth will be screened across Cumbria in summer 2021, with a schools broadcast through Connect:Resound in late September.
It is currently showing at the new Wordsworth Grasmere Museum in their special re-opening exhibition Still Glides the Stream, exploring the Duddon Sonnets.