DOI link for IMAGINARY LANDSCAPES
IMAGINARY LANDSCAPES book
The title is not original. It was first used by the painter Paul Klee and recently it has been employed by the English composer Harrison Birtwistle to describe a number of his works. Among these is an orchestral piece, ‘Silbury Air’, whose character encapsulates many of the issues that have been considered here. This composition takes its name from Silbury Hill, one of the greatest monuments in prehistoric Europe, but it is not an evocation in the English pastoral tradition. In an interview the composer has said that he was attracted by the difficulty of coming to terms with its hidden structure; he was interested in the distinctive form of this monument (Hall 1984, 107-10). There is a concealed structure within the music too. Birtwistle expressed his conception in this way: ‘I’m intrigued by games, where you can watch, not knowing the rules, but can see there is definite order nonetheless’ (Guardian, 3 September 1992). That provides an analogy for how that piece of music works, and it is also our experience in contemplating prehistoric rock art.