The Preludes by Debussy have been described as his ‘quest for visions as yet unrecorded in music’. It really is the case that Debussy’s music touches the deepest levels of our psyche and enriches our experience of life because of his ability to create landscapes in music.
We’re obsessed with taking this idea further. To create music that recreates particular landscapes – not just in terms of their physical typography – but also in terms of their genus loci – or spirit of place.
Driving across Salisbury Plain yesterday looking south towards the Vale of Wardour as the Sun was setting (on the A303 just after passing by Stonehenge), the vast landscape opened up – allowing you to see for miles – the church spire at Hindon in the foreground – with the hills of Cranborne Chase (often known as the secret valley) on the far horizon – like a vision of a new land – full of promise and beauty.
A special moment.
In the studio we wanted to recreate the emotion felt when looking across this vast landscape. Maddy scored the landscape immediately;
The strings and woodwind cascade down through the valley – like the view stretching into the distance / like the sun starting to set.
The mood then starts to change – the strings start to become more intimate as they focus in on particular valleys, hills and landmarks – what comes next now the vista has been created?
A high range piano that picks out Church Spires? Bowed Crotales like soaring birds silhouetted against the an azure blue sky? A cello motif that gently winds through the vale towards the sea?
Deep rich bass and percussion as the sun sinks back to Earth?
Debussy would have been inspired by last night’s view. We added the water as it was recorded in the Vale – a river running south towards the sea.