Simon Whetham

Concert for no-one

‘Concert for no-one’ is a combination of recordings from three rooms/spaces in a once derelict cathedral in Bristol, called the Pro-Cathedral. I gained access to the space the weekend before developers were due to come in and demolish the interior, while retaining the outer walls in the new development.

My initial idea was to record my friend Rebecca Sharp playing harp in the resonant spaces, but dates were moved and she couldn’t make it, so I took my old acoustic guitar, e-bow and microphones in order to capture something of the sonic character of building. The three spaces were the Crypt, the Concert Hall and the Main Hall.

While recording the guitar I captured the most recent inhabitants – travelers – moving their collected belongs out. This inspired me to start moving various objects around the space myself, especially in the Concert Hall and Main Hall. I have to acknowledge witnessing performances by artists such as John Grzinich, Maksims Shentelevs, Patrick McGinley and many others, as well as the work of Kiyoharu Kuwuyama as an influence on this work.

This is my most performative piece since playing in rock bands in my dim and distant past, although as the title says, with no audience!

I feel the concert setting is most obviously alluded to when moving a chair around, recalling those moments when a performance tentatively begins and there are a number of the audience who remain unaware of this for a time.

The recordings are layered in such a way that you hear all three spaces simultaneously, as if you were somewhere between all of them, travelling around within walls that no longer exist.

Thanks go out to Cotton and Hinch for access to the space, Rebecca Sharp although absent and Impulsive Habitat for believing in the work.
-Simon Whetham


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