Thrilled to perform with the Gavin Bryars Ensemble at the Big Ears Festival. The performances included Jesus Blood (never failed me yet) and The Sinking of the Titanic.
More about the works here:
Bryars’ inspiration for the work came from a report that the wireless operator Harold Bride on the Titanic had witnessed the house band continue to perform as the ship sank. In April 1912, Bride had told the New York Times: “The band was still playing. I guess all of the band went down. They were playing “Autumn” then. I swam with all my might. I suppose I was 150 feet away when the Titanic on her nose, with her after-quartet sticking straight up in the air, began to settle – slowly….the way the band kept playing was a noble thing…..and the last I saw of the band, when I was floating out in the sea with my lifebelt on, it was still on deck playing “Autumn”. How they ever did it I cannot imagine. That, and the way Phillips (the senior wireless operator) kept sending after the Captain told him his life was his own, and to look out for himself, are two things that stand out in my mind over all the rest..”
Bryars imagined that the sound would continue to reverberate as it disappeared under the waves. Writing in 1993, Bryars said “the music goes through a number of different states, reflecting an implied slow descent to the ocean bed which give a range of echo and deflection phenomena, allied to considerable high frequency reduction”.