Listen to some extracts of The Horncall! Written for a community music and arts project in Peterculter, the song cycle consists of five movements for soprano, alto and bass, accompanied by flute and cello:
The Last Salute
Together We Make Paper
The extracts from the sound files beneath are produced in the music composition programme Sibelius.
The song, Culter Burn, presents the history of the paper mill.
Culter Burn, down the hill meandering
Twisting and turning, from Loch Skene to the Dee
Pow’ring mills, sawing wood, grinding meal
Paper in Culter since Bartholomew.
Papermaker from England, with his wife and two sons
Leased the mill, the croft and the land
Rags from the market, collected on Fridays
Washed in the burn, paper in town to be sold
During one of the memory-sharing workshops with former mill employeees last autumn we explored the sound world of the mill. One thing that came forward in this workshop was how the horncall shaped the life of the mill staff and Culter as a whole.
The horncall sounds both far and wide
To waken folk to call then to work,
The hoot it blows day in day out
To announce the early morning.
For many years the Culter folk
Need not a watch, far less a clock
The horn it marked each space of time
And kept the day in line.
This February Friday morn’
Came the last salute of the horn
To say farewell to Culter folk
Black Friday eight-one
Now all is gone the silence irks
Those that answered the call of the work
The mill is now an empty shell
Silence rules the day.
Copyright text and music Petra Vergunst