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Chimes of our life on Portland
“LISTEN, the music is not where you think.”
That’s the message as 500 musical instruments played by the wind take over Portland to create the Harmonic Fields.
Huge musical wind chimes, windmills with bells on and drums, played an unusual symphony against the backdrop of the Jurassic Coast.
The Harmonic Fields or Champ Harmonique is the brainchild of musician Pierre Sauvageot and brought to the island by Inside Out Dorset as part of the Maritime Mix London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea.
The musical art installation will be open to the public every day until September 9 from noon to 7pm at Bowers Quarry, Portland.
There are 26 musical instruments that form a trail with different letters of the alphabet as visitors move around the quarry.
There are seats at various places so that people can stop and listen to the music. It is suggested that visitors do not take pictures or talk to get the full experience.
There are rattles like the Balinese device to scare birds from crops, hollow metal tubes that make sounds like sirens and Chinese pottery flutes to name a few.
Creator Pierre Sauvageot said his message to the people of Weymouth and Portland who came to visit would be to listen.
He said: “Music is something very simple, sometimes there’s more music in two little sirens together trying to make one note, rather than electronic music with a lot of computers. Music and art is not technical.
“It is the most important part of your life, especially in this society.”
He added that people were surrounded by music and pictures constantly but did not take the time to really hear, see or experience them.
Co-artistic director for Inside Out Dorset Bill Gee said that the whole project had taken a lot of planning.
He said that Portland was the perfect venue for the instruments.
He said: “What’s really special to me, I think, is the feel of this place.”
He added: “We had a couple of hundred people down since it opened and you can tell they were not regular coastal path walkers. We want all sorts of people to come and enjoy it.”
At night the instruments are either taken down or detuned so that they do not cause disturbance for residents of Portland.
There is a wheelchair accessible route and special kit can be booked to help disabled visitors to experience the whole installation. People are advised to wear sensible shoes as the quarry has uneven ground.
To find out more visit insideoutdorset.co.uk
Visitors full of praise
Visitors were full of praise for the music.
Wendy Stait from Cheltenham said: “I think it’s really lovely. It’s fantastic.
“I have never seen anything like this before.
“It’s really peaceful and the atmosphere is really nice.”
Baz Wood from Drimpton came to support his daughter Kate who worked on the project.
He said: “I think it’s fantastic. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but if you want something different then this is it. I have never experienced anything like this.”
Babs and Michelle Ross from Weymouth came Michelle’s children Jude, six, and Joseph, three.
Babs said: “It’s just such a wonderful location.”
Michelle said: “It’s like a surreal dream.”