Music from Ancient Landscapes

Instrumental compositions by Martin Gregory

The landscape of Celtic Britain has long excited artists, poets and musicians and these places of legend inspired this collection of music. I feel the enduring spiritual potency of prehistoric stone circles like Stonehenge and Avebury as I walk amongst the mysterious megaliths. Their original purpose is lost, but I recognize in their structure and alignments the builders’ understanding of the land, the stars and of their place in the cosmos. Mysterious stone lined burial chambers in northern Europe are decorated deep inside with abstract, sinuous patterns. Sitting within, the cool air, the smell of earth and stone, the chamber's shape and texture whisper sounds in my mind.

Surrounded by the romantic ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Palace at Wells, I am moved to imagine the pomp of its more sumptuous days. Nearby Wells Cathedral is an expression in carved stone of the philosophy of the Middle Ages, its sacred geometry echoing the mathematical foundations of music itself.

Since the first prehistoric wanderers marked sacred sites, tales and legends have been told and embellished by Roman, Celtic and Christian historians, bards and minstrels. Like those storytellers, I respond creatively by composing music, not to explain or describe, but to celebrate these precincts of mystery, memory and power. My inspiration comes from the stories, the buildings, the undulations of the land, and the impressions I have had during many journeys to ancient landscapes and sacred places in Britain and France, places whose names make up the list of songs in this collection.

Bishop’s Palace contains music originally written for Mystical Britain multimedia presentations by artist photographer Cindy Pavlinac. Selections also appear in Jo Carson’s film soundtrack Dancing With Gaia