A Moon That Lights Itself is a commissioned work by Michael Begg. At the request of the Scottish National Galleries Begg composed these pieces focussed around 19th century painter Charles François Daubigny, and as with Daubigny’s paintings these light to dark wandering pieces that mix modern classical with sound art installation reveal more intricacies with every listen.
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Sad orchestral music: it just gravitates towards me. In fact, rarely has a sombre cello fallen outside of the gravitational pull of my headphones. I can’t even blame Clinton for this FFS -- he’s on holiday, so I was invited to ‘pick out’ a few discs from the pile this week. Rarely one to stay put within my comfort zone -- naturally -- I’m pleased as punch with my decisions this chilly Monday. So, on to Michael Begg then: a musician with a background theatrical productions, sound design and solo composition. This record, ‘A Moon That Lights Itself’, was commissioned by Scottish National Galleries to celebrate the proto-impressionist works of the once overlooked but recently highly regarded 19th-century painter Charles François Daubigny.
Begg has messed about on boats, played on mountains and performed in caves. He’s on a boat here, by the sound of it: there he is (‘Moonrise’), making the water splash gently as he rows down the Ouse, electronics throbbing and drifting in his wake. Skylarks rise in the fields. Geese honk. Cello -- played by Clea Friend -- weaves amongst the reedbeds. It is a late Summer’s evening, dusk. The sudden and alarming hoot of an owl bursts through a lull. It’s the soundtrack to Daubigny’s nocturnal paintings en plein air from his boat studio, the date: August 28th, 1870. Maybe there'll be a film about him, all atmospheric and spooky as anything. The moon is bright tonight. Begg’s music is here to draw you in with all the force of the lunar pull, strong and luminescent as ever.
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