The Forest of Ornaments

The Forest of Ornaments (2009) – 12′
for traditional Irish flautist and pre-recorded sound collage or stand alone sound collage

Stand alone version premièred in February 2011 at
the Pepper Cannister Church, Dublin.

Live version premièred by Harry Bradley in
August 2011 at the Masters of Tradition Festival, Bantry.
Excerpt from Studio recording performed by Harry Bradley

Programme Note

You’re about to enter a strange forgotten forest on
the outskirts of Belfast City.


Inside the forest you’ll encounter many different
flutey creatures, some native to the forest for centuries, other’s more recent
imports from foreign lands.


As you begin your journey through the forest you’re
greeted first by Japanese shakuhachis.


They call out to you in long mournful tones which
create a sense of eerie unease, so you progress with caution through the woods


Soon some quirky fifes and f flutes start sliding up
and down the trees, your pace quickens as you move to avoid the cuts of their
sharp, rolling tongues.


The further in the deeper the forest gets and you’re
soon surrounded by several strange flutey creatures cranning out a cacophony of
ornamented calls.


Suddenly the rarely seen Slovakian fujara wails a high
pitched scream which penetrates through the din. Another fujara answers it and
causes the orgy of sound to subside.


As you move on past the thickest depths of the forest
you’re soon greeted by friendlier flutey creatures. The familiar native wooden
flutes.


They greet you with the traditional foxhunting call
which echoes all around you.


As you edge closer to the other side of the forest the
wooden flutes sing out different airs lamenting your departure. They’re sad to
see you go and they seem to leave you with a sorrowful whimper.


But just as you reach the last tree in this forest of
ornaments they all leap out and surprise you with a joyous, laughing farewell.