For me, the project Whispers in the Woods is an excellent opportunity to explore how music composition and poetry can sit alongside each other creatively and how this can be presented in new ways. Rather than giving a pre-concert talk, I hope to take the audience on a preconcert poetry walk to share some of the history and places that have inspired the string quartet.
The Bailies of Bannachie have worked closely with Forestry Commission Scotland and archaeologist and anthropologists from the University of Aberdeen to explore the hill’s crofting history. I have been fortunate to follow their work for several years now and the wooded slopes have gradually transformed into a place in which people lived and made a living. My poem Pottery and Claypipe was originally inspired by some of the findings at one of the archaeological digs at Bennachie last summer.
Bennachie not only has a very rich social history, it has also inspired several folk tales. As part of surround-sound, Forestry Commission Scotland will also premiere the opera The Maiden Stone composed by Joe Stollery and with a libretto Catriona Yule which will be performed on the hill on 5 and 6 September. It is exciting to present my work next to this opera as it reveals the rich repertoire of stories related to the hill and different ways in which music and words can reinforce each other. Thus far I have made good progress with the composition of the string quartet and will soon start looking for ways in which the storyline of the string quartet can be presented through poetry and may well end up using dramatic monologue to do so.
Copyright words and image Petra Vergunst