Waves breaking on rocks. Woman’s VO reading early description of the "Orcades".
Sea. Peter Maxwell Davies’s VO talking about the natural sounds of the Orkneys – seabirds, wind – which he can explore in parallel with exploring new musical experiences. Cello and clarinet and other instruments playing Ave Maris Stella (1975). Seascapes, flowers, countryside, standing stones, ruined croft, fishing boat, etc. Davies’s VO talking about the "rightness of atmosphere and … the rightness of the sound". Seabirds, waves, etc. George Mackay Brown’s "The word ‘sea’ is small and easily uttered…" read over. Fishermen, farmers, cattle auction; Robert Rendall’s Orkney Crofter read over. Peat digging, harbour scenes, sea, landscapes; music and readings continue over.
Standing stones, a burial mound, the Old Man of Hoy, Skara Brae, etc.; O Magnum Mysterium (1960) and description of the Orkneys, "Beyond the savage bulk of Cape Wrath…", by Brown, heard over. Sea, churchyard, seafront, nets, a wreck, etc.; voices reminiscing about toys, families, life years ago, traditional songs over. Ruined crofts, abandoned farm machinery; Brown’s Dead Fires (1971) over. Musicians of the Orkney Strathspey and Reel Society. Landscape; reeds and water; standing stones, sail boats, oil rig. Brown’s Fisherman’s Bride (1971) and extract from Magnus (1973), followed by xylophone solo from The Martyrdom of Saint Magnus (1976). Seabirds on ploughed field; Edwin Muir’s Horses (1925) and man’s reminiscences over. Renaissance Scottish Dances (1973).Cliffs, hills, carvings, burial mounds, etc. The story of Orkney’s conversion to Christianity in 995 CE from the Orkneyinga Saga. "The twenty brothers of Eynhallow have made a figure of Our Lady. From red stone they carved her and set her on a headland…" The Martyrdom of Saint Magnus and the story of Earl Magnus over.Part of performance of The Martyrdom of Saint Magnus in St. Magnus Cathedral, intercut with details of Cathedral carvings, churchyard, standing stones, cliffs, landscapes, etc. and music continuing over. Landscapes, cliffs, the sea; Muir’s One Foot in Eden (1956) over. The Martyrdom of Saint Magnus performance; continues over closing shots of landscape and sea. Credits.
Musicians: The Fires of London - Sebastian Bell,
Leslie Shrigley Jones,
Directed by Peter Maxwell Davies
The Orkney Strathspey and Reel Society;
Soloist Mary Thomas (Blind Mary);
Monks Ian Comboy,
Brian Rayner Cook,
Extracts from the music of Peter Maxwell Davies were
Ave Maris Stella,
O Magnum Mysterium,
Scottish Renaissance Dances,
The Martyrdom of Saint Magnus;
Poetry and Prose by George Mackay Brown,
Reading Voices Claire Isbister,
George Mackay Brown,
Grateful Appreciations Norman Mitchell,
The musicians and singers from Kirkwall Grammar School,
The organisers, performers and participants of the St Magnus Festival, June 1977,
Andrew Alsop (Logan Airways).
Cameraman Chris O’Dell;
Assistant Cameraman Rodger Reid;
Sound John Page;
Assistant Sound Chris Renty;
Dubbing Mixer Peter Rann;
Assistant Editor Charles Ware;
Editor Charles Rees;
Executive Producer Rodney Wilson;
Producer Penny Clark;
Directed by Barrie Gavin.
A Film by Platypus.
Arts Council of Great Britain © 1978.