For Yorkshire Festival 2016, two of the county's most renowned artists, composer Gavin Bryars and poet Blake Morrison joined forces to create a new work, The Stopping Train, for the train journey from Goole (Bryars' birthplace) to Hull (or vice versa).
“This journey has strong links to the area of East Yorkshire where I grew up, and this commission allows me to engage creatively with this environment for the first time. I have long admired Glenn Gould’s remarkable train journey-related The Idea of North as well as the obsessive train pieces by the Canadian Eldon Rathburn, who made the final realisation of Percy Grainger’s Train Music. This project with Blake gives me the chance to make my own train music at last.” Gavin Bryars
Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison is composed as a series of movements to be played as the stopping train leaves each station on the journey between Goole and Hull or vice versa. Scored for viola, cello, bass, electric guitar and spoken voice, the work was recently recorded at National Theatre, London by Gavin Bryars and Blake Morrison together with members of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble and produced by sound designer Mic Pool.
Exhibition and sound installation: From 26 July - 6 August, Junction, Goole's premiere arts venue, will also host an sexhibition of evocative images of the Goole to Hull route together with the commission audio. Experience the music and poetry of Bryars and Morrison, the artists' original manuscripts and well-worn pencil, and images by talented Yorkshire-based photographer Sara Teresa.
Fancy creating your own Sonic Journey to upload and share with others? Visit sonicjourneys.co.uk to find out how.
“There's something especially exciting about collaborating with Gavin for a project that's happening in the area where he grew up. The landscape passengers see out the train window is very different from the one I know from my childhood, in the Yorkshire Dales, but it's rich in history and has its own kind of beauty. I'm looking forward to the challenge of doing justice to it - and to offering poems and vignettes that can be heard along with Gavin's music.” Blake Morrison
For those that fancy creating and sharing their own Sonic Journey, Sound UK and Yorkshire Festival are inviting online submissions of music, or music and video, to journeys the public find personally inspiring at sonicjourneys.co.uk. Previous Your Sonic Journeys have included music to journeys in Kew Gardens in London, Bregenz in Austria, South Western Transylvania and more.
Gavin Bryars has continually shunned convention, treading his own distinctive and unique path. Starting as a jazz bassist and pioneer of free improvisation with Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley, he worked with John Cage in the late 60s. Early iconic pieces The Sinking of the Titanic and Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet achieved great popular success. Since this time Bryars has composed four operas, a large body of chamber music, several concertos and much vocal music. He has collaborated with international artists across the spectrum from Merce Cunningham and William Forsyth to Juan Munoz and Robert Wilson. The Gavin Bryars Ensemble and GB Records continue to document his work. Serene, graceful and achingly beautiful, his music is characterised by a sense of contemplation that is revealed through harmony of underlying depth.
Born in Skipton, Yorkshire, Blake Morrison is perhaps best known for his two highly acclaimed memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Things My Mother Never Told Me. He is also a poet, novelist, journalist, librettist and critic, and has adapted several plays for Barrie Rutter’s theatre company Northern Broadsides. He teaches Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, and lives in South London.
Sonic Journeys is a series of soundtracks to specific journeys. The series commissions artists to create new works in response to journeys that inspire them. These works are recorded and available for free download for a limited period, enabling listeners to experience the music travelling through the landscape that inspired it. Previous commissions include Adrian Utley from Portishead (2012, a walk through ancient trees at National Trust’s Croft Castle & Parkland), Mica Levi (2011, a walk at Barbican Centre), Shackleton & Vengeance Tenfold (2011, two train journeys in Devon), Will Gregory from Goldfrapp (2009, a walk in Malvern Hills for Big Chill festival). Streamed audio, and in some cases films, of each commission will be available at sonicjourneys.co.uk.
Yorkshire Festival 2016 is the UK’s newest international festival which runs from 16 June - 3 July, and promises world premieres and UK exclusives with spectacular outdoor performances as well as music, theatre, arts and dance, from theatres to clubs across the region.