Solar Nativitas (1977)

by Hermione Harvestman

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released December 24, 2015

I recorded this over a few days following the Winter Solstice of 1977, acutely aware of that any lengthening of days was a token of the beginning of winter rather than any immediate rebirth per se. Long walks in the freezing sunshine brought me back to hearth-fire & home-acre where I might at least attempt play some music as I thawed out, body & soul, kindling (mostly) optimistic little ragas of light in the dark as winter held grip in the freezing dark without. (Part Two : Raga).

Other pieces were done first thing in the morning, when it was so cold in the house the first thing you'd do was open the windows because it was always going to be warmer outside. The music was a kindling fire, even as the sun rose blinding through the trees. I'd turn the volume up, set the sequencers on stun and, again with freezing fingers in fingerless gloves, attempt to pick out the occasional note as I passed a hot cup of coffee from hand to hand before going out and attempt to keep warm by chopping wood in the yard (Part Five : Morning ).

Then it was out for another walk, over hill, down dale, a joyful solitude of happy wandering that might take in the occasional elderly neighbour, dropping in to make sure all was well, and warm. Indeed, I'd be out with my gun, bagging rabbits and dropping them off to the vulnerable who'd return the favour by making me a nice winter pie. This was primal winter at its finest. (Part Three : Hunter).

It wasn't just the elderly who were at risk, one poor young chap I found frozen to death on Boxing Day morning, which brought home an all too vivid notion of winter and wilderness, and the sort of cultural & technological hoops we have to jump through to not only Iive in these northern latitudes, but to look out of our window upon scenes of unrelenting bleakness and somehow find them picturesque. (Part One : Frozen).

Other times, I might just switch on and look out of the window and see what happened; looking for signs of life in this picturesque hell, be it a running deer, or else just a robin pecking in the garden. (Part Four : Fauna).

So, five wee bucolic scenes of festive cheer to warm the cockles in anticipation of the impending springtime which always seems like a long time coming, supposing we make it at all.

Hermione Harvestman.

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Hermione Harvestman UK

'I feel like Wainwright - we are both hermetic ramblers. He made his books for when he was no longer capable of rambling his beloved fells, and I made my music for when I'm no longer able to ramble the by-ways of Albion - but only to listen, and think "Was that really me? That solitary figure who stood in a landscape dreaming of ages past in dread fear of the future."

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