HengeMusic – Music & History

HengeMusic (2015)

Music: David Owen Norris
Film: Rob Lambert
Words: Barney Norris

For organ, saxophone quartet, speaker & film
A multi-media experience rooted in English landscape
Duration: one hour

The piece records the passage of One Day, One Year & Five Millennia, and investigates the abiding importance of the human quest for spiritual meaning.


HengeMusic is illustrated by films showing the passage of the seasons at Knowlton Rings in Dorset, a neolithic henge with a ruined Norman church at its centre. At the ceremonial entrance to the henge stands a yew grove, still functioning as a place of prayer, as the ribbons, favours and photographs hanging from the branches firmly attest.

The piece, in four movements, one for each season, engages with astronomy, archaeology, history, geography, religion & the history of religion. It can act as a focus for many different strands of educational work, at every level.


The piece was performed three times in the autumn of 2015, in Keble College Chapel, Romsey Abbey & Wimborne Minster. The organist was Sarah Baldock, John Harle, Rob Buckland, Paul Stevens & Andy Findon played saxophones, and Barney Norris read his poems. The performances were supported by Arts Council England.


Here’s a taster of the film.

And here’s an extract from my Song without Words on a theme from HengeMusic – eventually I shall write a Suite for piano on themes from this work.

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