Local composer and researcher Julian Brooks attended the New Voices networking days at Heritage Quay in autumn 2017. As part of the days, the composers explored part of the British Music Collection and Julian was excited by the score for Trevor Wishart and Mick Banks’ ambitious site specific music composition “Landscape”, which was first staged in 1970.
This chance encounter with the score led to a recreation of the spectacular all day event around Hebden Bridge featuring fireworks, choirs on hillsides, flags, balloons, bells, improvising kids, cyclists playing their bikes and cones of black ice cream served from Royds ice cream vans playing Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.
Julian worked with Leeds-born Trevor himself, who is regarded, amongst many accolades, as the UK father of community music in this country. The event was supported by UK contemporary music charity Sound and Music, Arts Council England and Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.
Landscape is a series of somewhat surreal music-theatre situations which have been scored for pre-specified activities, outdoor locations, times and durations spanning twelve hours over one day.
Julian made use of Mick and Trevor’s guidance to incorporate workshops and performances from musicians, artists, local schools, community groups and small business introducing audiences to contemporary music that will appeal to new and experienced audiences alike.
Dr Julian Brooks said “I couldn’t believe it when I came across this amazing score in the archives of the BMC and I realised I had something very special and genuinely ground-breaking that needed to be performed. It brings out all that’s best about Hebden Bridge. Trevor Wishart is one of the most important composers of contemporary music in this country, his work is still hugely influential and this second-ever staging of Landscape will make audiences think, have fun and be entertained.”
Arts Festival Artistic Director Helen Meller said “For years people have been saying we should recreate Landscape as they remembered how spectacular it was from the first time round and then Julian came forward with the score and the skills to do it. It is a genuinely one off piece that is perfect for our festival as it is ambitious, challenging and playful. It’s been a real joy to see Trevor and Julian’s vision come together pulling in all sort of local people to take part, and I am looking to eating some locally made black ice cream from Royd’s Ice Cream as I watch the whole piece unfurl.”