Whispering Walls 2010 (orch 2013 - remastered 2015) by Richard Nye published on 2013/01/12 12:06:37 +0000 Originally written for violin, harp and marimba - performed at Salisbury Arts Centre (UK) 2010 New version April 2015 In 1943 the village of Tyneham, on the Dorset coast, said goodbye to its inhabitants as the army took over in preparation for action in Europe. Despite assurances that village life would return to the coastal community, Tyneham was to become a ghost village. After WWII the government decided to leave Tyneham in the hands of the military and slowly, over seven decades, the village has crumbled. Two buildings have been preserved, the church – St. Mary's, and the village school. Other structures became unsafe and had to be reduced in size. The army decided to secure what was left of the structure and the village is now open to the public at weekends, though all but two buildings are without roofs. It is an astonishingly tranquil place. There is no feeling of loss as such until you reach the Rectory. This once grand house is now a shell surrounded by a garden and it stands away from the rest of the village, somehow lost and alone. The title Whispering Walls comes from the technique I used to create the little themes that make up the composition. When writing Cave Paintings (for alto sax and piano) in 2001 I used a crayon on manuscript paper that had been placed over the walls of small caves on the the Isles of Scilly. Little protrusions in the rock created 'notes' on the stave when the crayon was rubbed over the paper – these marks I then translated into note-rows. I decided to try the same approach with Tyneham. One dry spring day I went around the village with manuscript paper and a crayon. The results were quite remarkable. I was not sure whether the stone of the houses would create a strong enough rubbing, but I was mistaken. I was able to take imprints from almost every house I visited (much to the bemusement of anyone who saw me), most coming from the fireplaces (a centre of warmth in the house and where many would have gathered) on the ground floor. I decided to use the first seven identifiable 'notes' as a row. One note for every decade the village had been abandoned. These little themes would then be used in the creation of one whole piece rather than lots of separate 'house' pieces. I decided not to be too strict with the rows as this, I felt, would have been too restricting. However, several complete rows are in place in the piece. I wanted to use these small musical themes as snatches of conversation heard, whispered or shouted words, happy and childish banter, lonely or reflective comments meant for no one. I wanted to create a work that reflected the village as it is now combined with how I imagined it would have been before 1943 though I have never met anyone who lived there. http://www.tynehamopc.org.uk/ is a good site if you would like to find out more about the village.