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Walcot Chapel – Fanny Burney, RIP

Walcot_ChapelOne of the most imaginative reconstructions of a Bath sound came from local artist Nick St. George, who took a historical research perspective to the sound he heard, and came up with this fascinating piece out of a recording of Walcot Chapel and churchyard, as he explains:

“Though it proved impossible to ascertain the facts 100%, it would appear that the novelist and playwright Fanny Burney was initially buried in the graveyard of Walcot Chapel, before being moved either to St Swithin’s just across the road or to Haycombe Cemetery. The stories are contradictory. But it seems safe to say that there is a Walcot link with FB, so I took her as the inspiration.”

“She’s a very interesting woman –  her witty writings are Jane Austenesque, but she predated Austen by about 20 years. The three female readings are from FB’s journals/diaries, I read the text from her monument in St Swithin’s (which clearly states she’s buried there!). One blogger commented on the number of children who seemed to have been buried at Walcot – hence the musical box.”

“After I found the old clip of Fidelio, I realised it too made sense in terms of her husband who was a refugee from the French Revolution. The play on which the opera is based is said to have been inspired by the Revolution.”

“The music (apart from the last snatch of song: “Not With Me” by Ratsouk) is by Beethoven & Mozart who were contemporary with her. All the new material is in the public domain from such sources as Wikipedia, freesound and Looperman – some is in its original state, some has been manipulated.”
“The original field recording runs throughout and has been heavily treated. The slamming door at the start punctuates the whole piece. I leave the meaning of its symbolism up to you!”
City version:

Memory version:

Installation mix (best listened to on headphones):