Contemporary musical commemorations

 

  • I Know the Music, a new work composed by Patrick Hawes

In 2014, the Aliquando choir in Henley-on-Thames commissioned leading British composer Patrick Hawes (www.patrickhawes.com) to write a new work for them for their Remembrance service.  They chose Owen’s little known poem "I Know the Music" and this was premiered in St Mary’s Church Henley on 8th Nov 2014 with the composer conducting the work to a capacity audience including Wilfred Owen’s nephew Peter Owen who read the poem before the performance.  Peter Owen’s words to Patrick said it all “Wilfred would have loved your music and your setting of his poem he would have found truly inspirational”.

Patrick is best known for writing the Highgrove Suite for HRH The Prince of Wales, for being a former Classic FM Composer in Residence and for last year’s Number One album Angel.

"I Know The Music" is set for SATB choir, soprano soloist and small string orchestra and the music scores are available to hire through MusicRoom http://www.musicroom.com/se/id_no/01112202/details.html

Patrick is also using the Wilfred Owen poem "1914" as one of the poems in his epic new work The Great War Symphony (www.thegreatwarsymphony.com) to be premiered in 2018 in The Royal Albert Hall.

  • "Futility" by Karen Kirkland

Shropshire composer Karen Kirkland has set the Wilfred Owen poem "Futility" to music. This choral work is for piano and choir (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and beautifully reflects the meaning of the words. The rich harmonies and simple melody create a very moving, emotional piece suitable for all occasions. This setting of  "Futility" was originally composed for The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance 2014 at Shrewsbury Abbey. It was performed by the Shrewsbury based choir "Of One Accord" and Shrewsbury Brass Band. The sheet music for piano and four part choir is available from www.millgatehouse.co.uk/music/futility. The brass band arrangement is available on request.

  • The Shadow of the Season/Voice of Violent Dreams by The Bookshop Band

A couplet of a sung poem and song inspired by Wilfred Owen. It was written as a commission by the Oswestry Literature Festival, based in the hometown of Wilfred Owen. The song is on YouTube at 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5knkwQTn74 

The Bookshop Band is group that writes songs inspired by books and plays them in bookshops.

  • A setting of “Strange Meeting”, by Brian Beresford

Brian Beresford, a Skipton composer best known for producing music for schools (see www.onemoretime.biz) but who also writes ‘grown-up’ music, has composed a setting of Wilfred Owen’s masterpiece “Strange Meeting” for the unusual combination of Solo Tenor, Piano, Organ and Treble Voices. As yet, the work has not been performed. He is offering this work to Directors of Music at Cathedrals, Churches and Universities in the hope they might arrange for it to be performed, with any money raised (through admission or donations) going directly to the work of Royal British Legion.

Anyone who would like a copy of Brian’s setting of “Strange Meeting” is asked to contact him directly at brianberesford160@msn.com. He will e-mail the music to you – he emphasises that no payment will go to him, and that any money raised through performance must be sent to Royal British Legion – see www.britishlegion.org.uk.

  • "Still in the War Boys" by The Crows of Albion

A 21 track album of poetry and music relating to the first world war – featuring 14 original poems by Ian Whiteley set to music. The release also features 2 of Wilfred Owens poems (‘Dulce Et Decorum Est and ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ the latter forming part of a tribute to the great English war poet entitled ‘Death Of A Poet’.

The full songs can be listened to, for free, via the BANDCAMP link – where the lyrics are also listed along with supporting artwork.

The CD and Download costs £10  (individual tracks can also be downloaded on BANDCAMP at a cost of £0.60 per track) – and 20% of the sale proceeds will be donated to the HELP FOR HEROES and ROYAL BRITISH LEGION charities. If you would like to donate additional funds to these charities the full amount paid above the £10 price will be donated to the charities.

To order a copy of the CD, or raise any queries, please email thecrowsofalbion@btinternet.com or contact Ian through his web page http://www.thecrowsofalbion.com/ Or facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thecrowsofalbion

  • Three new choral settings of Owen's poems by Stephen Tyler

A440 choir's Musical Director, Stephen Tyler has composed three new choral settings of Owen's poems especially for the WW1 centenary.  Read more about this at http://www.a440choir.com/ww1feature/settingwilfredowen

To hear the pieces click here.

  • Voices of Remembrance by Laura Rossi

Voices of Remembrance is an orchestral/choral work inspired by 10 of the most famous poems of WWI (including "Dulce et Decorum Est" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth"), featuring moving, expressive readings by Vanessa Redgrave & Ralph Fiennes.

During her research for the score for The Battle of the Somme for the Imperial War Museum, composer Laura Rossi discovered that her Great Uncle Fred (pictured on the cover of the album) was a stretcher-bearer attached to the 29th Division during July 1916, who featured in the film.  Drawing on these experiences and extensive research on WWI, Laura has created a richly evocative work that combines stunningly beautiful music with these historically important poems.

Laura with her Great Uncle Fred

For more info about Laura, her music and a full transcription of her uncle's war diaries go to: www.laurarossi.com
To buy the CD go to: www.boosey.com

Laura is currently looking for choirs and orchestras to perform the work as part of the Centenary events.  Click here for her contact information.

  • "Bullets and Daffodils" by Dean Johnson

Wirral based musician Dean Johnson's latest project, "Bullets and Daffodils", takes the shape of a musical play based on the life and poetry of Wilfred Owen.

Both Wilfred & Dean are former pupils of The Birkenhead Institute, which inspired his interest in the poet's life and work.  The project sets some of Owen’s poems to music, and also includes original songs by Dean.  Peter Owen described the work as "a good contemporary way of introducing people of all ages, but particularly the young, to Wilfred’s poetry.”

Symbolically the first performances of "Bullets And Daffodils" took place during remembrance week 2010, starting with a matinee for the North Wales branch of the Western Front Association.  The Wirral premiere was held at the Birkenhead Central Library on Wednesday 10th November, performed in the shadow of the spectacular tribute window dedicated to Wilfred Owen.

Click here to read more about the project.

For more information email:  info@deanjohnsonmusic.co.uk