Song Analysis

Battle of Trees

Thursday 22 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

(Coming soon! In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes about the song)

"With Anabelle’s ability to see the past tori reclaims a key fragment of her past with "him" in Battle of Trees. This epic battle took place possibly around 3,000 years ago. The battle was not only for those with physical weapons but always included poets on both sides who used the ancient tree alphabet The Beth-Luis-Nion (Birch-Rowan-Ash) to fight each other. The power of the poet in ancient Ireland was unlike anything in our modern world. But a poet’s wrath, if skillfully turned on a ruler of an opposing army, could shame them to such an extent that a psychological advantage could be achieved for the poet’s army.

Eventually in ancient Ireland, as invasions grew steadily on the island, the respect for the White Goddess was supplanted by those who worshipped the Thunder God in all his many forms. Our couple fought on the same side as poets against these invaders. We all know that the goddess worshipping culture was subjegated by the Thunder God and then Christianity suppressed any inkling of the goddess culture even further." (Track-by-track commentary first published on Amazon in July 2011)

"When Deutsche Grammophon approached me about doing a 21st century song cycle, the first thing that I really had to get my head around was the arc of the narrative. I began to think really in terms of telling an epic story in mythology. And one of the great epic stories that inspired me from Robert Graves, The White Goddess is ’The Battle of Trees’ itself." (Night of Hunters EPK)

"I was reading The White Goddess by Robert Graves, [a book] that really investigates the mythology from ancient Ireland. When I read about the power of the poets in those days, it took me a while to really comprehend that sort of world, because we don’t have a world like that. It’s almost going to an alien world where that exists. It excited me, but to get my head around the prose was tricky. That took quite some time, to deal with “Battle of Trees.” Probably the longest of everything — it was being worked on through this whole process, when I was building all the other works, this was constantly on the drawing board." (Salon, September 20, 2011)