Sunday 15 January 2017

Composing Saint Julian of Norwich Music Score

For a couple of weeks now I have been avoiding writing the music for 'St. Julian of Norwich: Revelations'.  I decided on Friday that I would at least set up the project so that I could start when I felt ready.  I knew it would be quite an undertaking as this production is different to many of our others; it is largely written by St. Julian herself.

Setting up the project, I was inspired by the amazing scenery of cobwebs that we filmed earlier this year.  This coupled with misty scenery and the footage of St. Julian at Bedham Missionary Church I felt a wave of interest.

Having recently purchased the new Medieval Vocal Codex I remembered that it came with some new soundscapes that were quite eerie so I loaded up one and it set the whole mood that I had looked for.  I had avoided beginning this score because I knew exactly what I wanted but did not know if I could achieve it without a great deal of effort.  As it was, I found what I was looking for right away. 

Vocal Codex Sound Samples

Poised, almost standing to leave and continue later, I found I had written a very mysterious opening theme with 'Deep Dream', 'Voices in the Wind', Strings and Cello.  It was both atmospheric, moving and slightly uneasy.  What I subconsciously wanted to get across was the seriousness of the content of this production - it is largely the Passion of Our Lord - but not as in 'horror' but as in moving.  I found that with no planning, but seemingly being guided, I was drawn and very moved by the emotion of St. Julian's words. 


Julian speaks of Our Lord's bitter Passion and I found myself gripped by the dialogue and spontaneously playing and improvising emotional strings, flowing very easily as I listened and felt moved.  Culminating in 'Love' I found the Love of Our Lord spilling out through the entire narration, despite the very serious nature of the footage, beautiful Spanish statues of Our Lord's Passion, it was Love  overall, so serious and extreme, that came across and I had not really grasped this until now - the lengths Our Lord would go and did go out of Love
I stopped writing to go out to work and then set about writing some more in the evening when I got back and before long I had completed the score!  I think the fastest scores I have written are St. Nicholas of Owen and St. Wilfrid: Apostle of Sussex but this one may have become a record! 

I think what it was was that I pretty much ignored the click counter, bar lines and tempo and just wrote and wrote, taking time to linger on the soundscapes which in themselves create tremendous atmosphere.  There was no time consuming process of editing and quantising individual tunes.  Using layer upon layer of different sounds I was able to move in and out of different moods. 

This production was fantastic in the sense that, because of the weight of the content there are lots of breaks.  In these breaks I found myself very inspired to write moving and emotional themes, bringing the cello to the forefront and using the new Vocal Codex Celtia female voice calling out over the immense visual beauty.  The result was very ancient English, Tenor Viola da Gamba and Celtia phrases in ancient English, with rich cello and layers of atmosphere.


 My sister pointed out that the style and voices brought the atmosphere of Our Lord's culture in Israel combining Israel with England and making Jesus and the revelations of St. Julian of Norwich accessible to the whole world.  This was not intentional but adds another dimension to the film. 

I have always experimented with fusions of sounds and style but I was quite bold with this score.  I used a mix of subtle dissonance as a reminder of the seriousness of the entire theme and went from minor to major and back to minor and created some very interesting moods.  There are some very moving moments which give insight into Our Lord's personal love for each one of us and the profoundness of the Holy Trinity.  I cannot fault the soundscapes from the Vocal Codex, one I used had a lot of subtle wind which went perfectly with the dialogue and again was not intentional but just worked out so well.  I feel this whole piece and the whole film is about atmosphere, a very profound atmosphere indeed.

I spent the weekend tweaking the score and mixing it down and am very pleased with this production.  I think it might be the best score I have written but I was just so inspired by both the visuals and the content of this production.  Very atmospheric, very profound, moving, mysterious and contemplative.  'St Julian of Norwich: Revelations' will be available soon.

Monday 2 January 2017

Calm Your Spirit With Music: Volume 4 - NEW MUSIC CD

The Christmas break has seen a lot of backing up for Mary's Dowry Productions, checking old hard drives and making everything organised.  I decided it was about time our 'Well Known Saints: Volume 1' DVD was renewed.
Well Known Saints: Volume 1 DVD
This was one of our very first DVDs and was not in widescreen.  Also the narration was recorded using older equipment.  It has needed revamping for a while now as the rest of the series was done much later. 

I took a break from 'Holy Spirit of Serenity' as well as 'Valleys' and over Christmas, here and there, the DVD was re-edited into widescreen and the narrations re-recorded.  I am currently tweaking the individual music scores, the main thing that has put me off approaching this task because they are so old that all the instruments point to the wrong places.  I am almost there with it and they are lovely little films, very useful and really summarize a saints' story in a straightforward way.  Although they are short, there is so much packed into them, they are uplifting, informative and all include prayers or quotes at the end of each one.  I hope to finish this task over the following week.

Having completed 'Saint Bernadette of Lourdes' music score before Christmas, I was taking a break and sorting out external hard drives.  I realised that my new music computer is getting quite full and that I should really move some old music scores off. 
Since I want to make many of the scores available on CD, I thought it pointless to move St. Joan of Arc and St. Bernadette of Lourdes folders off of the computer, only to have to put them back on in order to make the music soundtracks.  In need of space, I decided to get cracking right away on Saint Joan.
Calm Your Spirit With Music: Vol 4 CD
Hence, 'Calm Your Spirit With Music: Volume 4' is now complete - the full music soundtrack for our St. Joan of Arc DVD. 
The music is a bit different, very contemplative and mystical with visions and battle, betrayal and trust in God.  I really enjoyed editing it onto CD and listening to it all again.
The CD is available now worldwide from and
To LISTEN to samples from this new album visit our You Tube Channel here!