The Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth, on Saturday 10 November at 7pm
On the eve of the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice and the uneasy peace which followed it, South West Chamber Choir (SWCC) presents a concert to commemorate the Great War and the sacrifice made by those who gave their lives and health.
To mark this, the Choir has commissioned a Requiem for Peace from local composer Andrew Wilson, which will be performed along with music from the early 20th century by Elgar, Parry and others. There will also be some army marching songs, and readings from the war poets.
A SWCC spokesperson added: ‘A century after the War ended, we struggle to make sense of what Harry Patch, the last fighting Tommy, who died in 2009, described as “all those lives lost for a war finished over a table.”
The most terrible weapons were deployed by both sides against men armed with rifles and tin helmets: machine guns, poison gas, high explosive. Those who fought in the Great War had their memories, but few would speak about what it was really like to have been part of it.
Through poetry and music the South West Chamber Choir seeks to portray both the patriotism and hopes of those who went off to ‘do their bit’ and the bitter harvest they reaped.
The concert is in support of the Royal British Legion and will be actively promoted as part of the Legion’s events for the centenary. Remembrance has a particular significance for the many Plymothians who have served in the Armed Forces alongside people who lost their lives, or who endured the terrible suffering of the Blitz’
Andrew Wilson is a multi-award winning composer from Tavistock. His Tubas cum cytharis was sung in Montreal Cathedral last year, and last month his piece Jennycliff Bay was performed in Birmingham, Alabama where it won the Alabama University Chamber Music Competition.
Andrew says, “I was delighted to be asked to write for the South West Chamber Choir, one of the finest choirs in the region. As I worked, I kept a photograph on my desk, taken of my grandfather in uniform, just before he left for the horrors of the Western Front, as a constant reminder of why we remember those dark days of a century ago.”
South West Chamber Choir, a group of some 30 voices, was formed in 1995. It has a wide-ranging repertoire of chamber choral music from Elizabethan madrigals and Renaissance polyphony to works by contemporary composers, and a busy programme of concerts throughout the year, some sacred and some secular and light, under its Musical Director, Stephen Trahair.
Tickets £12 (under 18s £6) are available in advance from www.swcchoir.org.uk or at the door on the night, subject to availability.
Philip R Buttall
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