Chris Warner – Composer of the Cosmos

Chris Warner

Chris Warner is a composer, orchestrator, arranger, and sound designer, who works in the theatre, both rural touring theatre projects and major theatrical productions, on educational media, and on major television shows. He has recently put together an album on the theme of space, entitled “Wonders of the Cosmos”, by analogy with the Seven Wonders of the World, which has been recorded on location at Ely Cathedral and Abbey Road (London). Earlier this month, the BIS interviewed him by telephone.

Chris Warner is a composer, sound designer, arranger and orchestrator with a passion for telling stories through music and sound. He is equally at home in the theatre as he is in the recording studio, from small scale rural touring theatre projects and work to major TV series and large scale theatrical productions. 

I understand that you are a keen amateur astronomer? Yes, I am a member of my local astronomical society in Ely.

So was this the inspiration for “Wonders of the Cosmos”? Yes, I’m very interested in space and the universe. When one looks at composers such as John Williams, and Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, one realises how people have used music to express their creative response to the universe. The ancient philosopher Archimedes formulated the harmonic series, which he attempted to relate to the planets, in a sort of “as above, so below” fashion.

Ely Cathedral

What made you decide to use organ music, rather than the synthesiser which, in recent years, one associates with “space music”? Personal reasons; I was a choral scholar at Guildford, and the organ is the king of instruments, it really gives a primal sense of Heaven being “up there”. The organ at Ely Cathedral, which I used for this album, has pipes some of which are thirty-two feet long, and which one can crawl inside!

The soprano Grace Davidson has a very beautiful voice. How did you get in touch with her? She is well known in the music industry, and to friends of mine. The Lady Chapel at Ely was an excellent venue for her voice. Much of her work is session-based, on productions such as The Hobbit, The Sixteen, and Max Richter.

For the track Interstellar Wind, you took inspiration from the strange sounds recorded by Voyager 1; how did you hear this? I first heard of this on the Radio 4 program Sounds of Space; Apparently, sensitive instruments aboard Voyager 1 registered impacts against the probe by the very thin interstellar medium and the solar wind, and these were translated into sound. I used a little synthesizer on this track.

Have you heard of the British Interplanetary Society before? Yes, I was given a brief tour of your HQ, which is very nice; I found your archives and your nineteen-thirties designs fascinating.

How can one buy the first two tracks released, Whirlpool Galaxy, Interstellar Wind, and the Wonders of the Cosmos album? Samples of all tracks can now be heard on my website, at https://www.chriswarnermusic.com/ , with links to Spotify.

Thank-you for talking to me, Chris, and all the best with the album and your future projects!

 

Interviewed by Griffith Ingram

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