The Wallace Collection joined Dalmellington Band, led by guest conductor Martyn Brabbins, for a special concert which formed part of the 2017 Cumnock Tryst. The concert featured the world premiere of As Above, So Below – a new work commissioned by The Wallace Collection from New Cumnock composer, Jay Capperauld.
The commission was made possible by support from the PRS Foundation’s Beyond Borders scheme, (a co-commissioning and touring programme run in partnership with Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon).
As Above So Below
This contemporary composition combines brass band with a concertante role for brass quintet, together with appearances of hand-bells and chanted words within the scoring. Its inspiration is complex, being derived from a combination of influences and concepts, but the outcome is incredibly effective in its endeavours to explore the meaning and provide musical context to those influences.
Enjoy the creative sounds Jay has created through As Above, So Below with this full audio recording of the world premiere, provided visually with a backdrop of photographs from the rehearsal and performance of the piece:
Programme notes for As Above, So Below read:
Based on the Hermetic maxim “As Above, So Below”, the phrase comes from the cryptic text of The Emerald Tablet, which was purportedly written by a mysterious character who is thought of as an amalgamation of Greek and Egyptian Gods, Hermes Trismegistus. The text first appears in Arabic between the 6th and 8th Centuries and is intended to outline the primitive and hidden sources that constitute the basis of all matter in the universe. The phrase “As Above, So Below” implies an essential “oneness” of all matter and a correlation between the physical elements and supernatural entities that make up our surroundings. The philosophies expressed within The Emerald Tablet have become a founding principle of Alchemy, Occultism, Witchcraft, Theosophy and various other ancient gnostic systems of belief, and this work attempts to explore these forms of so-called “secret knowledge” in a ritualistic trance-like Adagio steeped in the esoteric.
The Brass Band is placed at the centre of the stage while the solo Brass Quintet are spread antiphonally around the concert hall and are placed above both the Brass Band and the audience in an attempt to create a direct dialogue between the Above and the Below. Therefore, the piece endeavours to explore the meaning behind the text of The Emerald Tablet as well as the phrase ‘As Above, So Below’ in a music context while giving particular attention to the ‘SOLVE’ (Latin for ‘Separate’ which correlates to the Above) and ‘COAGLUA’ (Latin for ‘Join Together’ which relates to the Below) that is depicted in the image of the Baphomet by the French occultist author, Eliphas Levi, which is a visual representation of the phrase ‘As Above, So Below’.
Jay Capperauld (born 1989) graduated Masters in Composition with Distinction from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2014. He has written for various artists and ensembles including; BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, RSNO Alchemy Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, Red Note Ensemble, Workers Union Ensemble, Tritium Trio, Berkeley Ensemble, Pure Brass, Alison Teale of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2012, Laura van der Heijden; and has had his works conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, Ilan Volkov, Sir James MacMillan, Peter Wiegold, Garry Walker and Pierre-André Valade.
Jay won the Craig Armstrong Prize 2014 and took part in the inaugural Composers’ Hub scheme 2015/2016 as composer with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Jay Capperauld talks in the following video about the importance of the Cumnock Tryst and his delight that his music is an integral part of the 2017 event:
The full set of score and parts for As Above, So Below has now been published (The Music Company (UK) Ltd) and is available to purchase through The Wallace Collection online shop.