We’re off to Aldeburgh for a week in July, where we will work with composer Orlando Gough to re-invent his marvellous The World Encompassed. In particular, we want to add a spoken narrative, drawn from the near-contemporary accounts, in order to make it clearer to the audience where the journey has got to. We also want to integrate old & new music more.
This will be a fabulous opportunity to spend a week working on one of the most interesting, exciting and imaginative programmes that we’ve had in years.
Drake took four viol players with him when he left Plymouth in 1577 in The Pelican; we even know their names: Simon Wood, Thomas Meckes, Richard Clarke & “George a Musician”. They played hymns for Drake to sing during his hour-long daily devotions; they also played music for some of the native peoples that they came across on their epic journey. And they, in turn, heard the music of these cultures; probably the first time, in many instances, that a western musician had encountered such music. Orlando Gough has imagined what this music might be, and thinks of it played on viols as the way these musicians might have told others about it upon returning: “What did it sound like?” asks a curious friend. ‘Well, it went something like this’ says Simon Wood and his band, and they try and reproduce, on their viols, the sounds they had heard on the other side of the world.