Waltham Tower

The story is told in three fragments

Sound

This fragment provides a sense of spatiality and atmosphere; both supporting and being-supported-by the written fragment. Advised listening instructions : close the door, wear headphones, lie on your bed, press play and close your eyes for 7 minutes.


Text

Download the text – This is the textual account of Waltham Tower; an acoustic instrument of biblical scale, a stone monolith built upon the last monastery to survive the Reformation, in 1540. Thomas Tallis was the monastery’s organist at the time. Believing himself divinely inspired, Tallis began construction of an unfathomably tall building with an unearthly purpose. The isolated community tasked with the build would sing relentlessly, and as generations passed by, their singing would represent their unity, subsequent division and ultimate fate as Waltham Tower neared completion.

130101_waltham-text-thumbnail

Score

Download the score – This is the music score as if sung by the people living in the Tower, perhaps scribed by Pietro Aron V after the events of the written fragment. This arrangement looks at Thomas Tallis’s Third Tune for Archbishop Parker, because of its simplicity, Tallis’s own interests in writing music with semitones and because it was composed, conveniently, at a very interesting time for choirs, instruments, temperaments and tuning – a rich backdrop for the story.

130101_waltham-score