About the project

Crossing Dartmoor is an experimental song cycle by composer Caitlin Rowley to texts created as artworks by the sculptor Richard Long. The work has its foundations in Rowley’s study of Long’s work and creative practice and as such takes a different approach to the traditional concept of a song cycle, including field recordings made on Dartmoor, text scores and imagery as well as conventionally notated songs.

The cycle is a work in progress. Begun as part of a research project for the composer’s Master of Fine Arts Creative Practice (Music) degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, it currently stands at about 45 minutes of material. However, the design of the work is flexible, allowing performers to choose their own ‘path’ through the material to create a ‘complete’ performance that may be anything from 5 minutes long to the full duration.

Pieces in the cycle address a number of themes, including sounds of place, geology, mapping the landscape, breath/wind and the movement of time

The current pieces in the cycle are:


1979* Movement of time, Mapping the landscape
2010* Movement of time, Mapping the landscape
Entropy Stones Movement of time, Mapping the landscape

*1979 and 2010 are paired but may be programmed independently

Text Scores

Windsong Sounds of place
Contour Stones Sounds of place, Geology
Drawing Out Mapping the landscape

Field Recordings

Wind Sounds of place, Breath/wind
Crossing the Leat Sounds of place
Ponies Eating Grass (2 versions) Sounds of place
Wistman’s Wood Birds Sounds of place
Scorhill Water Sounds of place
Wind in Trees Sounds of place, Breath/wind
Moorland Birds Sounds of place, Breath/wind


All the current video elements are silent and approximately 15 minutes long.

Horizontal Branches (preview on YouTube) Breath/wind, Movement of time
Blue Skies with Clouds (preview on YouTube) Breath/wind, Movement of time
Sunbursts in Wistman’s Wood (preview on YouTube) Breath/wind, Movement of time
Rock (preview on YouTube) Geology, Movement of time
Grey Skies (preview on YouTube) Breath/wind, Movement of time

Crossing Dartmoor was commissioned by singer Simon Oliver Marsh, who grew up on Dartmoor and performs in the area regularly.