Check out 'Symphony of The Wild' at The Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival - (Stand HC55)
Updated: Dec 14, 2022
Accomplished composer, songwriter and music producer, Jon Shave, is more typically used to collaborations with big name pop artists like Little Mix, Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora, Nicki Minaj, Rhianna, and Britney Spears, to name a few.
But for his latest project, he’s teamed up with us to compose a piece of new music inspired by the sights and sounds of a southwest London nature reserve, for the not-for-profit organisation’s feature community garden at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, which this year has the theme: ‘From feasts to forests’
“If music be the food of love, play on”, is the opening line to Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night - It’s also the inspiration behind The Community Brain’s feature garden.
Titled 'Symphony of the Wild', the display, is a visual and audio feast inspired by the natural sights and sounds of the Tolworth Court Farm Fields nature reserve, a stone’s throw from the organisation’s base at Tolworth Station. It uses native meadow plants combined with a music soundscape and old repurposed musical instruments to celebrate the role nature, wildlife and wilderness play in our health, wellbeing and stimulating creativity (see
Visitors to the garden will hear a soundscape of four original musical compositions, each by a different composer – including Jon’s track. In 2015, as one third of the trio songwriter/music producer trio The Invisible Men, Jon was nominated for a Grammy Award. He has also collaborated with many well-known artists and his work has featured in the soundtracks to movies and TV shows, including Netflix’s Black Mirror, feature films The King’s Man and Book Smart and the score for the forthcoming movie The Loneliest Boy in The World.
“Spending time in the nature reserve for this project reminded me of all the music inherent in nature; that music exists everywhere, not just on our devices,” explains Jon. “It was a joy to take inspiration from the natural surroundings and find melodies in the fascinating birdsong that I heard and recorded.”
The other compositions are by Samuel Robinson, a Kingston University music student and trainee composer, Marian Bore, an amateur composer and volunteer with The Community Brain and a class from Our Lady Immaculate Primary School (OLI) in Tolworth. Their soundtrack has been developed with Conductive Music, a not-for-profit organisation that enables young people to use technology and other items – in this case vegetables – to create music.
All the compositions were inspired by time spent at and recordings of The Tolworth Court Farm Fields nature reserve – a green space on the edge of the Chessington industrial estate. The four tracks will be arranged together to create a single looped ambient soundscape that will emanate from a selection of old salvaged musical instruments, which have been repurposed as planters and appear to sprout out of the ground. The biggest of these, a giant 3.5m violin, will form a dramatic centrepiece to the garden.
Robin Hutchinson MBE, The Community Brain’s founder, said: “So often we just think of nature as being “nice to look at” and ignore its powers to heal and inspire. Through Symphony of the Wild we’re highlighting the priceless value of community gardens – like our Crop Ups at Tolworth Station – nature reserves, parks, and other green spaces, which in current times are more important than ever – especially for people without a garden of their own.
“Not only do these natural spaces provide respite, relaxation and reflection – invaluable during the dark days of COVID – they also have an amazing power to bring people together, excite our imaginations and stimulate creativity.”
Georgia Neesham, The Community Brain’s project manager for greening, who is co-ordinating the display, said: “We’re thrilled to be back at the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival for a fourth time with a playful and immersive design for our feature community garden. Symphony of the Wild is the result of a huge community collaboration involving our four fantastic composers, Jon, Samuel, Marian and Year Five at OLI; a team of artists and engineers at 121 Collective, who designed and built the instruments; and, of course, our green-fingered volunteers who have helped to cultivate and prepare the plants to enable us to bring a little bit of Tolworth Court Farm Fields and new music to Hampton Court Palace.”
“Like previous years, the display will be replanted at our Tolworth Station Community Garden post-show for the local community to enjoy. We’re also really grateful to South Western Railways, Community Rail Network and Glendale Service Kingston for supporting the display.”
More about Marian Bore's Composition
A sound story through time and a natural landscape. A full day, morning to morning in 8 minutes: The morning birds awaken and woodpecker pecks at an old dead tree, which tumbles down. Doves fly and bees are disturbed. We
come across a stream where ducks chatter and moorhens click, then a duck fight, with take-offs and re-landings. A brief calm comes before the storm and night-time frogs cackle, delighted. Then early morning brings us and the blackbird song round to another day.
All sounds are totally natural. Captured, mixed and produced by Marian. The only manipulated sound that runs as the mystical back-sound is the blackbird refrain that has been stretched and pitched lower.
Marian has always lived with music in her mind, actively listening to sounds, and was recently amazed to discover that not everyone did this! She recalls being interested in sounds from an early age, like the tapping of her fingers together in different gloves or bare fingers. Like a perpetual tune or phrases of a song accompanying her walking, working or sleeping. And her delight as a teenager at finding the yellowhammer song being worded as ‘a little piece of bread and no cheese’. It was only during lockdown and in her late fifties that she turned her mind to focussing her energies and education into sounds, music, singing and compositions. Taking the plunge into the online Home Recording Academy she has written, recorded, mixed and produced her own soundscapes and songs. The opportunity to create a soundscape alongside other creators seems a powerful endorsement of this being a natural step in her creative path.