The Orchard Year

An immersive soundscape

Featuring music, poetry, spoken word, wassails and bird song

Exploring the seasonality of the orchard and a year of apple growth, The Orchard Year soundscape features music, poetry, spoken word, wassails and bird song and has been specially commissioned for Apples & People.

The soundscape will be available here for you to listen to remotely and will also be played through speakers in the Ambassador Room on the first floor of Croft Castle.

Producer Andy Bell from Hudson Records explains the process of bringing together the layers of sound and artists involved.

The Orchard Year soundscape is shaped from Winter to Autumn and combines natural acoustic sounds from orchards, recordings from wassails and contributions by musicians including Jon Boden, M G Boulter and Lucy Farrell. All the acoustic recordings are from Herefordshire orchards including those at Croft Castle and Breinton. Beginning in Winter with the wassail, we have used a singing bowl to both tie the seasons together but also reference the circularity of wassail bowls. Guitar pieces also mark each season.

Throughout the seasons we feature the sounds of grafting in Spring, writer Laurie Lee’s poem ‘Apples’ in Summer, and cider pressing and apple harvesting in Autumn. The recording also features birds which you might typically find in orchards such as the mistle thrush and woodpecker.

The recordings include a wassail by Jon Boden which picks up on the actual wassail footage at the beginning of the piece. Lucy Farrell reads the evocative names of apples which you might find in historic Herefordshire orchards as well as reading Laurie Lee’s poem ‘Apples’.

Produced by Andy Bell for Hudson Records

Music by Jon Boden, M G Boulter, Lucy Farrell & Andy Bell

Orchard and other sound recordings by Christopher Preece, Chris Watson & Andy Bell

Wassail recordings provided by The Museum of Cider, Hereford

Laurie Lee ‘Apples’ recording reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown Group Ltd, London on behalf of the Beneficiaries of the Estate of Laurie Lee. Copyright © Laurie Lee licensed by The National Trust.