Clare Whistler

Bee piece

3pm 12 June 2010
performance writing film music about bees
Bunces Barn, East Sussex

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My songs are like bees – they follow through the air like fragrance    

To make a prairie it takes clover and one bee
one clover and a bee
and reverie
the reverie alone will do
if bees are few
Emily Dickinson

Bees, singers, it's not honey you're after – it's blossoms
io Machado


Order of the day

As people arrive clare welcome
Sophia bee dance 1 placement
barn open as soon as enough people do film first time
Sophia keep doing bee dance through first film

Clare intro Bunces Barn High Weald Landscape Trust A in R/Keith - bees, areas, loo, water, vistors and comments book, there is an order but feel free to to partake or just enjoy the surroundings being careful and gentle with the bees, and awareness of the contributions

Mark and singers Olivia, Katherine, David and Mathew

Tagore My songs are like bees – they follow through the air like fragrance

Olivia sing O-
Mark start

Clear table before Bee madrigal

Clare invite all who have not seen film to see the film made about Angie by Rebecca Marshall who cant be here today Bee Fever


Sophia bee dance placement 2?
Angie set up containers and coats

Clare introduce Angie
To make a prairie it takes a clover (hold one) and one bee
one clover and a bee, and revery – the revery alone will do if bees are few

Sophia Dance 3
Bees, dancers, its not honey your after its blossoms

Thanks to contributors and Fran, Corinna, Raphael
Ode to Bees
Bee madrigal to leave

(anyone to watch film who has not seen it)


A small piece of Angie's writing


One of my favourite things about bees is their swarming. It's the most beautiful thing ever.
When you've seen a swarm and stood right in the middle it's like you know everything there's ever been to know in this world.
Swarms usually happen the middle of a hot blue day. The bees start singing, and their sounds get higher and higher and then they fly straight out of where they've been , like in a tree or a hive. Maybe thirty thousand bees. they fly round and round and in great big circles and their singing gets so loud and the air is silver and shiny and full of wings and honey and nothing else, and if you stand in their flying it's like you can fly too.
Then it's over, it's just minutes but you'll never forget it. They gather on a post or in a tree, all solid together like one huge bee and they're so gentle and trusting that you can pick them up and take them home and keep them, unless they've already decided where they are going, then they fly away, turning to air right in front of you.

Bees could kill you with their sting. But they don't. Anyway I don't think dying of a bee sting would be so bad, not like some other stings, like those ones that hurt your head, then your heart, then crawl around inside you until every bit of you is hurting, all fifty trillion frightened cells.


I had one of those stings once. It was like a sort of death eyeing me up. No hiding behind me, or coming the long way round, just suddenly right there in front of me. I wasn't really surprised. Living like I was in an empty field where old dogs howled under stones. And a river had drowned. But I had nowhere else to go.
Anyway the gate was locked and the key forgotten.
That's when the bees came.


Music in performance order
Here's what they sang, in performance order:

Christoph Willibald von Gluck: ‘Che farò senza Euridice?’ - Orpheus’s lament (just first two lines) from the opera ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’

Thomas Arne: ‘Where the Bee Sucks’ - from the Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’

Gioachino Rossini: ‘Come un’ape ne' giorni d'aprile’ (Dandini’s aria) - from the opera ‘La Cenerentola’ (‘Cinderella’)

John Dowland: 4-part madrigal ‘It was a time when silly bees could speak’ - from Dowland’s ‘Thirt Book of Songs, 1603’ (words by Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, addressed to Queeen Elizabeth I)

Rev. Charles Butler: 4-part madrigal ‘Melissomelos, or the Bees Madrigal’ (partial performance) - from ‘The Feminine Monarchie, or The Historie of Bees’ (2nd edition, 1623


With special thanks to
Angie Biltcliffe, Olivia Bishop, Sophia Campeau-Ferman, Keith Datchelor, Katherine Gilham, Corinna Mainberger, Rebecca Marshall, Matthew Oglesby, Mark Pappenheim, Fran Whittle, Raphael Whittle, David Wynne.


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