A concert combining foghorns on shore and from vessels offshore is planned

Their dolorous moaning lament has been a familar dismal warning for over 150 years, but land-based foghorns stationed round the coast of the UK are gradually being phased out. To mark the end of the era, a group of artists and a composer have joined forces to create a Requiem to be performed by a most peculiar orchestra of foghorns.

The Foghorn Requiem will be performed at Souter Lighthouse at South Shields on 22 June. Brass bands on shore will be accompanied by the foghorn at the lighthouse and the horns of a large flotilla of boats.

Yachtsmen are being invited to take part, and will be supplied with special horns that will be sounded in time to a musical score. No need to read music, either, as computers equipped with GPS will activate each horn remotely from land, with the timings adjusted for the time delay between the sound being made and it reaching shore so it can be heard in harmony with the brass bands.  

Composer Orlando Gough says that the sound listeners hear “will depend where you stand on the coastline” and adds that the Souter Lighthouse foghorn is a minor third, and there will be will be “an antiphonal relationship between the ‘choir of ships’ horns…and the foghorn on the coast.”

More information at www.foghornrequiem.org