On June 22nd 2013, more than 50 ships gathered on the North Sea to perform an ambitious musical score, marking the disappearance of the sound of the foghorn from the UK’s coastal landscape.

 
 

Foghorn Requiem was performed by three brass bands, ships at sea and the Souter Lighthouse Foghorn. Conducted and controlled from afar, ships sounded their horns to a score taking into account landscape and the physical distance of sound. The composition, performed live to audiences on the coastal cliffs, was played across a space of several miles around Souter lighthouse. 

The mournful sound of a foghorn is a product of the landscape through which it travels, but up close the foghorn is probably the loudest, most exciting sound you will ever hear. At a distance the sound is different, softened and transformed by a million echoes and interactions with the space through which it passes. The sound itself is an embodiment of the landscape and history of the place.

Artists Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway have collaborated with composer Orlando Gough to create an event that incorporates this sense landscape, memory and space into the musical composition. New technology allowed ships horns several miles off shore to play together in time with musicians on shore, a gathering of three of the finest historical brass bands of the northeast, the Felling Band, the Westoe Band and the NASUWT Riverside Band. 

More than fifty ships and sixty-five musicians gathered at Souter Lighthouse to perform the Foghorn Requiem together with the Souter Lighthouse foghorn itself. Foghorn Requiem was a celebration of the sound of the foghorn, and a gathering of people and ships coming together to listen to its majestic honk, one last time.

 

We're compiling a gallery of images / videos / writing and audio impressions of the event. If you have anything you'd like us to feature on this site, or a link you'd like us to include then please email foghorn@stain.org and we'll get back to you as soon as we've had a little time to recover!

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