Erland Cooper: Carve The Runes Then Be Content With Silence CD


Ships on: September 20, 2024

Erland Cooper’s new album Carve the Runes Then Be Content With Silence will be released on the Autumn equinox, 20th September 2024, following its premiere live at The Barbican in London on 8th June. This first public reveal comes 3 years after the only master tape was planted deep in the soil of the Scottish Highlands and Islands of Orkney and all digital copies were deleted. It will be released exactly as it sounds from the earth. The recording is Cooper’s new three-movement work for solo violin and string ensemble. After digitisation, the composer will complete the score for live performance as a true collaboration with the natural world. The piece was written to mark the centenary of celebrated Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown, as 2021 marked 100 years since his birth.

Inspired by natural landscapes and ruminating on time, hope, community and patience, the sole recording of the work – on ¼ inch magnetic tape, with the digital files permanently deleted – was planted, to grow and be nurtured or “recomposed” by the earth, before being exhumed and released. A treasure hunt of clues was slowly revealed by the composer every equinox period for fans and his record label alike to search for it if they so wished. In 3 years, if not found, the composer would return to dig it up himself. In late 2022, the tape was found on a hunt by Victoria and Dan Rhodes. The album will now be digitised on the spring equinox in a special ceremony captured on film and released, exactly as it sounds from the earth, with nature having collaborated in the compositional process. The final score will then be completed and performed by live musicians at special concerts scheduled across the UK, Europe and America.

“Music can so often feel undervalued and for some, being unable to perform live has at times felt like being buried. When an idea forms there is often an urge to share it as quickly as it develops but like spotting a bird, I want to let this fly and land in its own place and time. The work is one part remembrance and one part celebration of a landmark time. The material on the tape may erode naturally, disintegrate and create drops of silence or the peaty soil may preserve it perfectly well. It may or may not get better with age. I may or may not fall out of favour with my composition which will not be finished until it is rescored for performance. Any alterations to the sound and music [when it comes out of the earth] will be reincorporated into the pages of a new score and live performance, as orchestral articulations and then, the work is complete.” — Erland Cooper