Lud’s Church

Check out the video of the premier of Richard Whalley’s Lud’s Church from the North of England project at Manchester University at the end of March. There are ten virtual and one live 19-division trumpet.

Richard writes: ‘Lud’s Church is a surprisingly deep chasm, hidden in the woodland of the Peak District in Staffordshire, England. It is dark, foreboding and damp, even in summer: an excellent hiding place – hence being associated with many stories and histories, including Robin Hood; and also Gawain and the Green Knight. Notably it is where a group of Christian reformers, followers of John Wycliffe, hid to escape persecution in the 15th century. It is thought that they sung psalms whilst hiding there, and it is speculated that their nickname, the ‘Lollards’ (or mutterers) refers to their style of delivery of such psalms – and this is how the chasm got its name.

Lud’s Church was the last place I visited for a hike before the first Covid-19 lockdown (in early 2020) made travel to such places impossible for a period. It was composed in a spirit of yearning for the freedom of exploration. Such exploration extends to the tuning system used here: 19 equal divisions of the octave, which results in a mix of familiarity and weirdness that seemed ideal for attempting to capture something of the essence of this magical place. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to write for Stephen Altoft’s 19 tone equal temperament trumpet, which prompted this musical exploration.’