Music by Haworth Hodgkinson

High Moss HM 026 (10:48) • Released 11 September 2021

Music composed, performed and recorded by Haworth Hodgkinson in 2011

Cover by Haworth Hodgkinson

Album © Haworth Hodgkinson 2021

Links: Haworth Hodgkinson

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Impact (2011)

What happened on Tuesday 11 September 2001 has become part of history. Most of us can remember exactly where we were when we first heard the news. In my case it was an office in Dyce, near Aberdeen Airport, watching computer screens in disbelief as the reports came in and the video footage of the planes being flown into the towers was played and replayed. It was not something that I felt able to respond to at the time in words or music. What could I, with no direct connection to the events, say that might be of any value?

In 2011 I was invited to create some music to accompany the reading of ten new poems written by Scottish writers to mark the tenth anniversary. Still I felt unqualified and unsure if I could create anything relevant and appropriate, but I used wind and percussion instruments to create a sombre framework for the readings, and some liked what I did, others didn't. I was pleased with the general response. The late John Mackie wrote a thoughtful review, and people asked if there were plans to record the poems and the music. There weren't – it was an occasional project that had served its purpose.

As I contemplated the poems and worked on the music, though, I found myself compelled to respond in a different way, much more private and personal. In parallel with the wind and percussion music for the public event I made an electronic piece using sampled strings, which only a handful of people have heard until now. It has never appeared on my previous albums because it didn't sit easily alongside anything else. Now in September 2021, on the twentieth anniversary of the attacks and the tenth anniversary of my composition, I have decided to release it alone as an 11-minute single.

In this piece, which I eventually called Impact, I was trying to imagine the moments immediately before the point of impact from the point of view of the people on one of the planes. How much did the passengers understand about what was happening? What were the hijackers thinking? How had they become so brainwashed as to be able to do what they were doing? Did they even for a moment have any doubts, or did they completely believe in the validity of their actions? I tried to express these disturbing thoughts through music that reflects the way we seem to experience catastrophe in a slow-motion time warp. My piece reflects on the few seconds of impact, drawn out to last nearly 11 minutes.

Notes © Haworth Hodgkinson 2021

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