I’ve been invited to participate in a “Nature and Music Festival” in mid-February in Wheeling WV, sponsored by the Oglebay Institute and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. I will be giving a talk entitled “The Music of Nature: Soundscape Recordings as Art Forms.” I’m also hoping to collaborate with the Orchestra, or select musicians, to do a mix or two of music with the sounds of nature.
One idea is to pair up with a flutist who would perform Claude Debussy’s Syrinx, which I believe was inspired by nature. The piece was originally called “Flûte de Pan”—a sad and evocative tune that Pan (the god of forests and fields) plays on his pipe just before his death. My choice for the background is Thrush Hollow, featured in an earlier post. This springtime soundscape from North Carolina features a bubbling brook and the songs of two distant Wood Thrushes. I think it mixes very well with the flute solo:
An experimental mix of Claude Debussy’s SYRINX and a soundscape recording from the mountains of North Carolina. Mixed by Lang Elliott.
I know that some folks are not excited about mixing nature with music, especially classical music. But this mix seems to work pretty well. And when one considers that it was inspired by Pan of the forests and fields, it seems like a no-brainer to combine the two. I can readily imagine Pan playing his pipes next to a bubbling brook, with wild birds whistling silvery songs in the background.
Note: I snatched the flute piece from a CD. If I actually produce and sell this mix as part of a music+nature title, I’ll have to find a talented flautist to play the piece.