MSCTY x Coventry COVENTRY CATHEDRAL w/ NEON + MORE
MSCTY x Coventry Cathedral
The Sunrise is Born From the Ruins!
Coventry Cathedral: An Icon For Peace
In the 1990s, a national poll saw Coventry Cathedral elected as the nation’s favourite 20th Century building.
However, the place we call ‘Coventry Cathedral’ is in fact two buildings that lie at the very heart of the city of Coventry.
The Ruins of the ‘old Cathedral’ are the remains of a medieval parish church, consecrated to be the Cathedral of the new Diocese of Coventry in 1918. In a little over 20 years, this building would be destroyed by enemy air attack in the Second World War. Rather than sweeping away the ruins or rebuilding a replica of the former church, inspired by the message of Christ for reconciliation, the then leaders of the Cathedral Community took the courageous step to build a new Cathedral and preserve the remains of the old Cathedral as a moving reminder of the folly and waste of war. From that point, Coventry Cathedral became the inspiration for a ministry of peace and reconciliation that has reached out across the entire world.
The ‘new’ Cathedral was itself an inspiration to many fine artists of the post-war era. The architect, Sir Basil Spence, commissioned work from Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Ralph Beyer, John Hutton, Jacob Epstein, Elisabeth Frink and others – most still to reach the peak of their artistic careers. In the ‘old Cathedral’ it is still possible to see [uniquely] at eye-level, sections of outstanding, hand painted glass by John Thornton [circa 1450]. Thornton, born in Coventry, was recognised as a master glass painter of his time and went on to paint the windows of York Minster. Coventry Cathedral is fortunate to have a very fine collection of his glass which is being conserved with a view to future public display and can be viewed by special arrangement in the meantime.
Today the ruins of the old Cathedral are preserved as a memorial and sacred space for the City.
Although physically attached to the new Cathedral, this Chapel is not consecrated as Anglican/Church of England space, but is on a 999 year lease to an ecumenical Joint Council. In the Chapel of Unity Christians of any and all denominations may gather to worship and receive the sacraments.
MSCTY SUNRISE x COVENTRY CATHEDRAL
FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT!
To mark the finale of Plumbline Festival and Coventry Cathedral's Centenary, we collaborated with the leading design practice NEON to bring the ruins to life as new audio-visual re-interpretation, which ran through the turn of 2018-2019.
The work, Sunrise, creates a full sensory experience of darkness to light, via NEON's waves of colour and the MSCTY-produced electronic soundscape "Sunrise Sonata" [created by Andrew Spackman + Anna Palmer.]
ARTIST: ANDREW SPACKMAN + ANNA PALMER TRACK: SUNRISE SONATA LOCATION: COVENTRY CATHEDRAL
[Andrew Spackman + Anna Palmer]
Sunrise Artist Notes
A Collective Consciousness of Space Through Sound
"This commission was both exciting and daunting in equal measure. The Coventry Cathedral site, and its relationship to the night of the 14th November 1940, when over 400 bombs were dropped on Coventry, play a significant role in the collective consciousness of the city.
The piece entitled ‘Sunrise’ is a symbol of a new beginning, and it was important for us as musicians to respond to this by taking listeners on a ‘reflective’ yet ultimately optimistic journey.
Anna Palmer and I worked closely alongside Neon and Producer and Nick Luscombe [MSCTY] to realise this project, and from early on in the process we all felt it important to have a conceptual sonic approach that would interact with the light installation in the Cathedral ruins. Our idea was to have an ‘inverse crescendo’. As the Sunrise goes from darkness to light, the music goes from loud and chaotic to quiet and simple. The piece moves through 3 movements which match the emotional states we experience as we awake to a sunrise:
Movement 1: Disorientation, Movement 2: Rhythm, Movement 3: Simplicity.
The electronic soundscape and back-bone to the piece was created using amplified human ‘earth hum’ that was processed and manipulated to create textures.
Early on in the project sound recordings were made of local communities sharing their perceptions of ‘sunrise’. These voice recordings were electronically manipulated and are peppered throughout the piece.
Anna’s vocals & lyrics evoke notions of time passing [external], the human mechanisms of waking [body] and the interplay between consciousness and dream states [mind].
In Movement 1, we wanted to represent a highly disorientated sonic space, and we wanted to place the listener in a position of hyper-sensitivity [especially as this part of the music was to take place in a visually disorientating dark space.] In Movement 2 we used parts of midi data from Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata", processed so as to produce a rhythmic track that encouraged movement yet has unstable timing – often pulling in and out of quantization. For Movement 3 we used cymbals and bowing to produce a slow, lumbering move towards full sunlight, and the vocals transition from half-sleep song-speak to a clear, succinct repeated line, which closes the piece."
– Andrew Spackman
SUNRISE ON FILM: EXPERIENCE
Watch the Sunrise Experience by NEON.
MSCTY x Coventry Cathedral [Experience video by NEON]
SUNRISE ON FILM: DOCUMENTARY
Watch the Sunrise Documentary by NEON.
MSCTY x Coventry Cathedral [Documentary video by NEON]
Nick Luscombe + James Greer
MSCTY + NEON
Coventry Cathedral, Coventry: UK City of Culture 2021
MSCTY Explores new ways to experience the world through sound and space.