THE GOOD BOOK, a film by Slung Low, is out now – watch it here.
Beneath it all, Heather Fenoughty’s score and Matt Angove’s sound design generate a constant rumble of unease.Catherine Love – 30 Apr, 2020
A Younger Theatre
Heather Fenoughty’s score is a wonderfully stylish feature of this film adding a theatrical but also other-worldly element of tension.Mirren Wilson – 30 Apr, 2020
Brett Chapman’s direction and Heather Fenoughty’s music combine to evoke an oppressive and intimate atmosphere…Fergus Morgan – 30 Apr, 2020
To coincide with the film, I’m releasing my favourite track from the score as a single.
To play on your favourite streaming or download platform – for example Spotify, iTunes, etc. – click here.
Written by James Phillips, directed by Brett Chapman, produced by Slung Low and Leeds People’s Theatre, it features a cast of over a hundred including professional actors and community members. It tells the story of a young woman, Avalon, caught between religious factions in a war-torn not-to-distant future, ten years after a violent revolution*.
She tries desperately not to take sides, but as tensions rise she must accept her fate to save a precious artefact (a book of poetry) from a library under threat of destruction.
The first time I read the script, I knew the final scene would need something special. As is always the case with James’ work, he left a lovely, decent chunk of glorious dialogue-free high drama in the final moments of this story.
I felt it needed something something with an ancient resonance, something familiar but not cliche. After some digging, I settled on adapting Hildegard’s von Bingen ’Spiritus Sanctus Vivificans’. It has religious overtones – right for the film’s religious themes – but the lyrics have a really personal, almost mystical sense of spirituality.
The song was performed beautifully and recorded by Caroline Clarke in her home studio (we worked remotely – the Covid-19 crisis was just starting to take hold of the UK, with lockdown imminent only a few weeks later). I used the first few notes of this piece as a motif to subtly underline the significance of the mysterious book whenever mentioned, as if it was calling to her, willing her on to save it.
In those final scenes we hear this full piece, edited and arranged to fit a more modern setting of synths, sweeping strings and solo violin.
After the film ends, and we move to the credits, I doubled, tripled and quadrupled Caroline’s vocals, transposing them so that she harmonises herself. Though it’s not in the script, I’m suggesting Avalon has shared the words of hope within the book to others, who have similarly passed it on, those extra voices now working in harmony to spread that same message.
Hope you enjoy the film and the music.
*the same revolution played out in Camelot: The Shining City, at Sheffield Crucible (2016). That was an epic, site-specific, headphone, promenade play.