The former village of Imber lies at the heart of Salisbury Plain, in a remote location six miles from the nearest town. Sixty years ago, all 160 Imber villagers were evacuated to make way for the training needs of US soldiers. Following World War II, the villagers' hopes of returning to their homes faded despite public protest and an official inquiry that decided in favour of the Army. The continuing national need for military practice meant that the former residents could return once a year for a special service in the tiny 14th century Church of St Giles, which still remains under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Salisbury and was recently Grade 1 listed by English Heritage.
For three nights over August Bank Holiday, Imber will finally lay its past to rest – the result of a three year-long project commissioned by Artangel with the support of the British Army and the Diocese of Salisbury.
Transformed by a special promenade event created for the village, the evening in Imber culminates with the live performance of a new work by leading international composer, Giya Kancheli. Featuring the Georgian Rustavi male voice choir, a single chorister from the Salisbury Cathedral Boys Choir and the Matrix Ensemble under the musical direction of Nika Memanishvili, Kancheli's score was inspired by a visit to Imber in 2001.
Imber is conceived by Artangel, Jeremy Herbert and James Macdonald and is realised by Jeremy Herbert.
Giya Kancheli is Georgia’s most distinguished living composer. A leading figure in contemporary music, his scores are profoundly spiritual, filled with haunting textures, deep contrasts and shattering climaxes. Best known as a composer of symphonies, Kancheli’s style is often inspired by Georgian folklore and owes much to his work in theatre and film. Kancheli's collaborators and interpreters include Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Mstislav Rostropovich and the Kronos Quartet. Imber for Artangel is Giya Kancheli’s first major UK commission.
Related links on Kancheli include Schirmer composers index and ECM Records .
Coming from all over Georgia, Rustavi combines diverse regional styles and vocal timbres that recreate the era of the heroic song.
The Salisbury Cathedral Boys Choir
The Salisbury Cathedral Boys Choir maintains a tradition of music dating back to 1258. They regularly sing for BBC broadcasts, concert recordings, tour internationally and contribute to film soundtracks.
Jeremy Herbert is a multimedia artist whose work covers a broad range from sculpture and video to stage and film design. He has created innovative stage designs for artists as diverse as John Tavener and Madonna. His work on Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis, directed by James Macdonald, recently won the Barclays Best Design Award.
James Macdonald is a freelance theatre and opera director and is an Associate of the Royal Court.
Commissioned by Artangel and produced in association with Artichoke Productions, with the support of the British Army and the Diocese of Salisbury, with additional support from Arts Council England, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Visiting Arts with the special help of Nicholas Warren and Catherine Graham-Harrison.
Production services by Unusual.