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Duo - The Monks of Rievaulx & Byland.

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I have recently been working on some pieces of music for two performers [ on any instrumental variety].. and had this theme in mind for some time.

There's some wonderful scenery on our Island [ G.B} and have to say in my own region Yorkshire, many numerous heritage sites, round every corner; an old village, a green field, or a surprising piece of history.  And quite different to the better-known Dales country, there in the Wolds.  On my journeys out [ with great effort by way of a bicycle] I pass Byland Abbey [ near Coxwold Village, some 23 miles away from York, where there is a dip in the land, a sort of valley, with a huge range of hills behind.  Twisting roads, and on one corner the broad body of Byland Abbey is suddenly presented.  In a wonderful setting these days; and extensive large plot of monumental ruins.  Whilst, several miles beyond, set in an even deeper valley, by the River rye, of Rievaulx Abbey [ an incredible site surrounded by hills and trees and woods].

The Abbeys were founded by Cistercian order of monks.  The story goes that Byland abbey was set originally nearby and Rievaulx to the other side of woods , and that their bells clashed during the daily routine of bell ringing!!  This is a tale often recounted these days.  But it always amused me the thought of those bells ringing away and the discordant noise produced, perhaps, by the off tone, clash of notes.  So, that is how it arrived in my thoughts, to get that very grating Dischord into a tune [ deliberately] rather than by accident, or chance.  

The rest of the tale is in my music - they are really very short little vignettes of thought put down, as duos not duetters [ not a contest between voices] more a simple playing of parts [partnership] the narrative of the idea.  I found some lovely [ would not normally admit to that] very grating discordant notes and enjoyed using them [ intentionally]! Images are added to the audio track of my video that befit the wonderful scenery.  I set a really old style 3/2 minim type format for the music, mostly, to give a choral like feel; with a change to other formats, here and there.



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Very nice, I enjoyed that, Simon. All I've seen of Yorkshire is York itself and yes, the dales (went to the Swaledale concertina weekend five years ago), but I can imagine the places you show. It seems rare when you find an old religious structure in G.B. that survived both the Reformation in the 1500s and the Civil War a century later. I saw King's College Chapel in Cambridge this past Saturday (three days ago) for the first time in 55 years and was reminded of that.



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