Anyone tuning into the news over the last couple of days could not have avoided the Superbloom event which will see the moat of The Tower of London flooded with flowers to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It will be a colourful, dramatic and vibrant field of flowers which will emulate the iconic remembrance poppies that were there a few years ago. The difference this time is whilst those poppies were enamel, these flowers will be very much alive. Visitors will be able to weave past the flowers which will fill the air with scent and the vista with colour. A specially commissioned sound installation and sculptural elements will draw the visitors in and make them feel at home amongst the bees and butterflies. It will be a moment to slow down and take in nature all around us.
As you can imagine, this will be a display that will evolve naturally from June until September as the newly sown 20 million flowers change colour and pattern throughout the Summer. The fact that something built to keep people out in the 13th century will welcome people in this year by being filled by flowers is something to be noted and applauded.
For something this iconic and important, there had to be a gentle ambient soundscape as a welcoming immersive experience is not just about the senses of smell and sight but very much about what we are hearing. To soften the sounds of a bustling City, there will be a soundtrack which will play continuously through speakers and this piece is named ‘Music For Growing Flowers’.
Erland Cooper is a contemporary composer born on the isolated Scottish Isles of Orkney and is known for collaborating his music with natural elements and could not have been a better choice to soundscape this event. In fact he even went to the lengths of planting his latest album deep in the soil to be recomposed by the earth, before being exhumed and released in three years’ time. To have the chance to write a soundtrack to something so wondrous as the ever evolving floral transformation of one of this Country’s most iconic landmarks and to celebrate such an important event is something that Erland is completely mindful of and says:
“‘Music For Growing Flowers’ aims to enhance the Superbloom’s emotional impact by rebalancing the dominant city noises and intertwining specific audio frequencies to uncover harmony in the most bustling environments. Since music itself is nothing more than vibrations, perhaps it will help us enter more deeply into this subtle appreciation of place, curiosity and calm”
Erland’s composition will make reference to impressionism as it nods to the painting style of colour providing definition instead of black lines by creating a feeling of discovering new textures with each listen with nothing defined by hard lines. As impressionism focussed on how light could define a moment in time, so the piece will focus on how music can define its own moment. There will be three spatial mixes that evolve throughout the day on site as the ecosystem moves from morning to afternoon and then to evening. In the same way that a loved walk through the countryside will throw up something different dependent on weather and season, so the music will enable the visitors to immerse themselves in the nature at the heart of the City by encouraging pause and reflection and something new at various times of the day.
In a beautiful addition, the music will be released as an eight track mini album with an option for wildflower seed packets to be sown in Spring so that ‘Music For Growing Flowers’ can be enjoyed all over the world, making this something that will transcend time and place. The seed packets are a mix of UK native wildflowers that help support pollinators. In a world of instant gratification, Erland is very much an artist that nurtures his work slowly and so could not be a finer choice for this commission.