In Arcady


Digital audio soundtracks | 26:32

Oil painting titled Bluebell Tree by F.C. Heathorn

Bluebell Tree by F.C. Heathorn | oil on canvas | 85 x 121 cm.
Image & painting copyright © F.C. Heathorn. Used with permission

Track listing:

  • Greylags [07:47]
  • Water Motion [06:35]
  • Stridulation [06:50]
  • Et in cinerem reverteris [05:20]

Exhibition notes

In August 2015, I composed four soundtracks to accompany F.C. Heathorn’s solo exhibition of oil paintings, In Arcady, at Yallops Gallery, Norwich. Each soundtrack was composed with sound recordings made in rural Norfolk. The accompanying sound work comprises three tracks:

‘Greylags’ is a sonic confluence of geese from Whitlingham Broad. ‘Water Motion’ reinterprets the ‘Prelude’ to Wagner’s Das Rheingold, except that the Rhine is a Norfolk Broad and the famous E-flat major chord is the sound of a pleasure cruiser. ‘Stridulation’ works the sound of a cricket and imagines the insect brushing its corrugated body like a harp. ‘Et in cinerem reverteris’ is a memento mori that invokes a tradition of writings that began with Virgil’s Eclogues on the presence of death in the context of natural beauty. This soundtrack carries us across the River Styx (the ford crossing at Glandford, Norfolk) to the sound of a tolling bell (a slowed-down version of the carillon of nearby St Martin’s Church). On the other side, we meet Death, the infamous ‘I’ of the inscription on the tomb in Poussin’s painting of 1637: I too am in Arcadia.


nicholasbrown · Et In Cinerem Reverteris