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Sonic Journey

A collaboration from composer Gavin Bryars and poet Blake Morrison.

Music,Poetry / Spoken Word / Creative Writing Event

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 to be experienced on the stopping train journey from Goole(Bryars’ birthplace) to Hull (or vice versa).

The piece, called The Stopping Train, is designed specifically for this journey following the sequence of stations between Goole and Hull. From 16 June you can download the free audio to your personal device and take the stopping train in either direction to experience the music moving through the landscape that inspired it. Or just listen wherever you choose.

Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison is composed as a series of movements 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, Morrison's poetry refers to the personal history of Bryars in the area as well as to topographical and historical material. The work was recently recorded at National Theatre, London by Gavin Bryars (bass) and Blake Morrison (spoken voice) together with members of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble with sound design by Mic Pool.

Throughout the day on 21 June20 headphones, provided by global audio specialist Sennheiser, will be installed in aNorthern train carriage for listeners to experience the piece aboard the Goole to Hull / Hull to Goole stopping service.

From 26 July - 6 August, Junction, Goole's premiere arts venue, will also host a sound installation and exhibitionof evocative images of the Goole to Hull route. 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.

"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

June
16

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July

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Across Yorkshire


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“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

“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, Yorkshire Festival and Sound UK are inviting online submissions of music, or music and video, to journeys the public find personally inspiring from 30 April onwards 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.

About the artists:
Gavin Bryars has continually shunned convention, creating 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.

About Sonic Journeys:
Sonic Journeys is a series of compositions to be experienced on various journeys, such as a walk or train journey. The works are recorded for free download from this website for a limited period of time enabling listeners to experience the works travelling through the landscapes that inspired them. 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 from 30 April onwards.

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