Lighthouse and orchestra of ships to premiere new piece

21 June 2013, 10:50 | Updated: 21 June 2013, 11:08

Marking the demise of the land-based foghorn, a brass band accompanied by an orchestra of ships and a lighthouse will perform a special requiem tomorrow.

An orchestra more than 50 ships will gather for a live performance on the North Sea coast tomorrow. The 'Foghorn Requiem' mourns the loss of the 'majestic honk' of land-based foghorns, which have warned ships about hazards during foggy conditions for the past 150 years.

Artists Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway have teamed up with composer Orlando Gough to create the piece, which uses ships' horns, three brass bands, and the foghorn at Souter Lighthouse. GPS computers will control the horns of some of the boats, which could be stationed several miles away out at sea.

Lise explained the idea behind the piece is to incorporate space and landscape into the composition. "A distant foghorn has always had something of the quality of memory; its softly melancholic sound has always seemed to have come to us from somewhere lost," she said. "The Foghorn Requiem will be a final farewell to a sound, and to the people and way of life it represents."

The audience's perception of the performance will depend on where they stand on the shore, and the weather conditions on the day. There are also plans for some audience members to sail down the Tyne on a boat, so they can experience the music en-route to Souter.