Augustine’s Oak (2011 – Theatre)

Tim Arnold - Augustine's Oak

“This is beautiful work…”
The Guardian

There’s a curious lost period of time for me between the end of my first band Jocasta in 1997 and the beginning of my solo career in 2004. It was a dark time and I was, to put it mildly – spiritually lost. However, in the middle of that period, upon the eve of the new century, there was a brief shining light that illuminated my life and brought warmth back into my heart. And that was Shakespeare’s Globe. Having been appointed as Master of Music on a new verse play called Augustine’s Oak by Peter Oswald, I found myself composing liturgical music, 16th century fanfare, jazz, drum ‘n’ bass and early English music all for one play, under the guidance and tender encouragement of the theatre’s head of music, Claire Van Kampen.

When I wrote this music (at the age of 23), I allowed my rock n roll roots to carry me through the experience with external confidence. But inside, I felt I was part of something that made me feel unqualified and very out of my depth. The excitement and magic of being a part of a theatrical community was intoxicating though, and it directly influenced the way I would work with a company ensemble later on when I began my solo work.

The company of musicians I assembled for the production were extraordinary and led by early music aficionado William Lyons (The Dufay Collective). But we never recorded the music until 12 years later. I am so happy that we finally managed to record these pieces of music and the songs with the original ensemble. The pieces I wrote for Augustine’s Oak may have been written for the play, but they represent very personal sound portraits of that time in my life that were filled with fear, magic and hope. Working at the Globe on Augustine’s Oak was the first candle that lit my way out of darkness.


Tracks and Lyrics

2. Wounded

Wounded and wind-lashed on the tree,
For nine days and nine nights I hanged:
That was immortal agony –
The night fell clawed, the sun rose fanged –
Pierced by the spear, I gave my life to Woden
Woden is my name, I was the husband and the wife
The Gift, the giver.

Who can claim to know the darkness, and light
To which roots and branches reach
Of the great frame that bore my weight
Above the spring who’s drops can teach
The drinker wisdom? Pinned on high, I starved above
The holy well. On the ninth night I gave a cry
Looked down, perceived all things and fell

4. Heimdel

Now Heimdel blows his golden horn,
Trumpeting that the end has come,
There will be another dawn,
Time has brought round the hour of doom.

The dead souls shakes along hell’s road
And to the sky the waters climb,
Yggdrasil bends beneath that load,
Doom has brought round the end …
The end of of time. The end of of time
The end of of time. The end of of time

With happiness the ravens sing,
The wolf is feasting in the hall,
Woden drank wisdom from the spring
But he too must descend to hell.

Hrym from the east rides, shield upraised,
The world serpent writhes and thrashes,
Men fall whose deeds will not be praised,
To the dark earth the bright sky crashes. Ahh – ah- ah –ah
The bright sky crashes. Ahh – ah- ah –ah
The bright sky crashes. Ahh – ah- ah –ah
The bright sky crashes. Ahh – ah- ah -ah

5. Love My Heaven

Love my heaven in a cloud.
Stepping heavy in a cloud
Tell me will you come to me.
When the night is old and angry?
Love my heaven in the sun,
Sleeping bloodless underground
Tell me will you come to me,
When the day is young and sorry?

Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh………

Love my heaven in the rain,
Stooping, touching, making well,
Tell me will you come to me,
when the morning steps up sharply?
Love my heaven in the end,
when the sun is up completely
Tell me you will come to me,
Tell me how I will be happy

Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh………

Buy on iTunes