“There was a tradition in this parish that on All-Hallows’ Eve a Spirit announced from the altar the names of those who were doomed to die in the coming year. The Spirit was locally called Angelystor.”
– Elias Owen, 1887
Estimated at 4,000 to 5,000 years old, the ancient yew in the churchyard of St. Digain, Llangernyw may be oldest living thing in the British Isles. It is strangely apt that such a long lived tree – immortal by comparison to our own lifespans – should grow next to a church reputed to be haunted by an ‘angel of death’, known in local folklore as Angelystor. It is said that each All Hallows’ Eve, the spirit manifests at the church to read out the names of those in the parish who will die in the coming year.
The dramatic setting of the ancient yew in the churchyard of Llangernyw is the inspiration for Phil Legard’s 39-minute experimental composition, Angelystor, published by Wounded Wolf Press as a CD, book and graphic score, along with photographs of by Layla Legard. Phil Legard’s work has, since 2001, mixed elements of field recording, folklore and imaginative, transcendent insights, although Angelystor is likely his most personal work to date (- and the first published under his own name). The myth of the portentous spirit and the sinister mythic and folkloric associations of the yew tree, combine with a personal narrative to form an imaginative journey through a night in the churchyard, an encounter with the grim Angelystor and redemption by the dawn.
The challenging ‘dark night’ music is illuminated by a written commentary on the background and compositional processes, as well as a graphical ‘listening’ score to help listeners orientate themselves and focus their listening through the seven sections comprising the work. The music of Angelystor is also complemented by four short pieces, Yew Invocations I-IV, which deconstruct the mantra ‘adol-rwng-va’, associated with the yew tree by the 19th century Welsh mystic Charubel. A foreword has also been contributed by the cult author and screenwriter Warren Ellis, who describes Angelystor as “one of the most beautiful pieces of music I own.”
“It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I own, and one of the things that speaks most strongly of both Britain and history to me.”
– Warren Ellis, author.
“His music is a full of simple organic beauty. He is a master of hiking out to an isolated location and just feeling his environment and translating into music.”
– Brad Rose, Foxy Digitalis
Phil Legard has been recording music inspired by the landscape, folklore, and the concept of the genius loci since 2001. Most often working under the alias of Xenis Emputae Travelling Band, Angelystor is the first recording to be released under his own name.
Based in Yorkshire, Phil is currently a senior lecturer with the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett University, where he specialises in work involving the confluence of history, sonic arts and locative media. Along with his wife, Layla, he has just completed Hawthonn, a project exploring the imaginal landscape of Bassenthwaite and the legacy of Jhonn Balance.
Cover: Hardcover, clothbound and silverfoiled / Interior of cover is covered with 250 gsm black paper.
Size:13 x 19 cm
Interior: 120 gsm natural ivory paper
An edition of 500
Release date; All Hallows’ Eve, 2014
First 50 copies come with a numbered and signed Colophon Card.
All copies come with a Yew Pamphlet and Audio CD.
Phil Legard: Angelystor (Book & CD):
- Item Price: £12.50
- Listed On: January 09, 2015