Artists capture the sounds of civil war at the site of the Battle of Naseby

Sounds include soldiers and horses charging and muskets firing

Friday, 20th May 2022, 2:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 1:06 pm

A new performance work exploring the sounds, music and atmosphere of the English Civil War is coming to All Saint’s Church in Naseby this June.

Panegyric has been created by artists Dan Scott and Tom Adams, who have worked with civil war re-enactors, musicians and local school children to create a dreamlike audio-visual performance, featuring songs and animation, with many of the sounds recorded on the site where the fighting took place.

The artists were partnered with volunteers from Naseby 1645, which works to preserve and enhance sites related to what was a defining battle of the English civil war, through a programme called Meeting Point, which presents artwork in unexpected places and forges relationships between artists and heritage organisations.

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Still from Panegyric

Artist Dan Scott explained: “It wouldn’t have been possible to make this work without the input of all the people we met along the way.

“Everyone, including the school children, was very aware of Naseby’s importance in the civil war and it was amazing to be able to film this and capture sounds on the very ground that the civil war soldiers would have walked on.”

The piece, which includes visuals created by animator and film maker Paul Barritt, takes the audience on a journey beginning at sunrise and finishing at the end of a day in battle. The piece also explore the relevance and resonance of the battle to contemporary life in the United Kingdom.

Sounds that can be heard in the piece include soldiers and horses charging and muskets firing – which was all recreated by members of the Sealed Knot, the UK’s oldest re-enactment society. The voices of children from Naseby Church of England Primary School and Farndon Fields Primary School in Market Harborough can be heard, along with drum rhythms and music that the pupils worked with the artists to create.

Dan Scott and Tom Adams

Words from the 17th century poem A dialogue between old England and new England by Anne Bradstreet can also be made out, along with music played on snare drums, pipes and a lezard – an ancient woodwind instrument, as well as more contemporary sounds played on analogue synthesisers and electric bass guitars.

The work is named after panegyrics - speeches or verse in praise of something, like the ones often written at the time of the civil war, in praise of either Charles I or Oliver Cromwell.

“As well as capturing the dirt, heat and chaos of battle, and its moments of quiet, we wanted to think about the reasons why people go to war and the fact that sometimes, what you love can lead to conflict – something which is of course very relevant to us all today,” added Tom Adams.

Panegyric will be performed on Saturday June 11, 2022, 6pm at All Saints' Church, Church Street, Naseby NN6 6DA. Free tickets are available at https://bit.ly/panegyricNaseby.

The project is part of Meeting Point, a programme led by contemporary art specialists Arts&Heritage (www.artsandheritage.org.uk). Meeting Point presents artworks in unexpected places and supports small and medium scale museums to commission artists, forging new relationships between the contemporary arts and heritage sectors.

For this round of the programme, leading artists have been partnered with six museums to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections.