Storm Gerrit

Storm Gerrit

Music by Haworth Hodgkinson

High Moss HM 029 (70:25) • Released 31 December 2023

All music composed, performed and recorded by Haworth Hodgkinson in 2023

Cover from a photograph by Haworth Hodgkinson

Album © Haworth Hodgkinson 2023

Links: Haworth Hodgkinson

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Storm Gerrit (2023)

Storm Gerrit was the name given by the UK Met Office to a weather system that brought high winds and rain across most of the UK and surrounding countries in late December 2023. Where I am in the North-East of Scotland, the effects were felt most strongly on the afternoon of 27 December, and I made a recording of the sound of the wind for two hours from about 1.15pm to 3.15pm. This recording became source material for what you hear on this album.

The howling and whistling of the wind, together with some rather sinister knocking, can be heard continuously throughout the music, and I have done very little processing to change these sounds. Over the top of this is laid a musical process played out by a rather austere-sounding synthesizer voice. At the beginning we hear an open fifth, and it is as perfect a fifth as it can be because I am using just intonation throughout. Gradually the mode expands by the addition of further pitches until sixteen different notes are in play, two octaves of a Phrygian scale plus a bass note an octave lower. Then the pitches are reduced again in more or less the reverse of the order they were added, but much more quickly. At the end, only the open fifth remains, and we have come full circle.

I made two versions of the piece, firstly an hour-long version that was completed on 27 December, the day of the storm, then a shorter 12-minute version on 29 December, by which time the storm had moved on to Shetland. I placed the shorter version first on the album, and called them Storm Gerrit I and Storm Gerrit II. I leave it to the listener to choose the short or long version, or to listen to the whole album so that the short version acts as a preview of what is going to happen much more slowly in the long version.

I also leave the listener to make their own interpretation of the relationship between the storm and the synthesizer. For me, the sound of the Phrygian mode in just intonation lends an archaic feel, and I was thinking about how through the ages we have always been at the mercy of the weather. All we can do is to sit it out, waiting for the storm to pass.

Notes © Haworth Hodgkinson 2023

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