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This composition was started during my 2016 residency at The Visby International Composers’ Centre in Sweden. The initial inspiration for the work came from the marvellous collection of Viking picture stones (or Bildsten) in the Visby Museum. These ancient artefacts comment on elemental aspects of human life in symbolic images. For example, the span of a human life is represented by the journey of a Viking boat from the light of dawn to the dark of night. Representations of the sun are prominent on many stones, underlining its importance in the culture. This chimed with my own experience of Visby, where the sun was in short supply for much of the time!
During this time, I developed an interest in naïve art, and in the possibilities of creating an equivalent “naïve music”, ideas that informed my work on Picture Stone. The piece can be heard through the lens of a child in Viking times imagining journeys and battles to come. However, the subtitles should not be taken as strictly programmatic: rather they relate to the child’s imaginings.
-- Anthony Ritchie
Commissioned by the Klara Kollektiv for their 2018 Chamber Music New Zealand tour
Part 1: Dawn
Part 2: Child
Part 3: Journey
Part 4: Battle
Part 5: Sacrifice