This film is part of Free

One Foot in Eden

Orkney evoked through poetry, the sounds of nature, and the music of Peter Maxwell Davies.

Documentary 1978 49 mins


Poetry, natural sounds and vivid landscapes intertwine in this evocative portrait of composer Peter Maxwell Davies and his adopted home, Orkney. Throughout the film, Davies' often sparse, experimental music accompanies the majestic island landscapes, giving a sense of both their ancient beauty and their danger.

Davies worked across many styles of music, and the film includes extracts from Ave Maris Stella, O Magnum Mysterium and the final scene of his opera The Martyrdom of Saint Magnus. We also hear George Mackay Brown reading his own verse, as well as quotations from the works of Edwin Muir, Robert Rendell and the ancient Orkneyinga Saga.