It was a rainy morning just after lockdown and, in a first get-together since lockdown restrictions eased, New Note’s musicians met in a woodland in Hove to create a unique composition to accompany an online exhibition of some of Brighton Museum’s best-loved artworks.
Inspired by some of the rich images of landscapes that appear in the exhibition, the orchestra took to the woods for the day and the result is a very ethereal arrangement with the calming chime of hand bells taking centre stage. The musicians also used the natural environment around them to enhance the music, using sticks and gently knocking on tree trunks for added percussion.
According to Helen Grundy, Creative Programme Director at the Royal Pavilion and Museums: “It’s a very relaxing piece, slightly meditative in its quality and just transports you to the woods. You can hear birdsong and picture yourself there on a sunny day with the light trickling through and the clouds scurrying overhead.”
“But it doesn’t make you feel alone,” she continues. “It makes you feel like you’re in the woods with friends.”
New Note’s guitarist Roger echoes Helen’s sentiments: “It’s very subtle, some bells and guitar, a little percussion. Nothing erratic, just very chilled. It was beautiful that day listening to the trees, with a bit of light rain.”
New Note’s association with Brighton Museum dates back to last year when the orchestra was invited to take part in a special day to celebrate music and its connection with wellbeing. When COVID-19 hit, staff at the museum decided that an immediate priority was to try and find ways to support some of the local community groups they knew and approached New Note to see if there was any interest in working together.
“We were blown away by the positivity of the response,” says Helen. “The orchestra was still out there being creative and imaginative, despite lockdown, and was very responsive about collaborating to create a new piece of music.”
You can view the exhibition online and listen to Into The Woods here.