Readings and music on the theme of Remembrance

Saturday 15 November at 7:30
St Cross Church, Winchester

Miserere - James MacMillan
1914: Three Sonnets by Rupert Brooke - Alan Gray

Bring us, O Lord God - W.H.Harris
Greater love hath no man - John Ireland
Songe of Farewell - C.H.H.Parry
For the Fallen - Mark Blatchly

reader - James McConnachie

director - Katherine Dienes-Williams

Tickets prices: £16
(concessions £14; children 17 and under £5)

Our November concert presented choral music written during the time of the First World War, immediately before it or thereafter, together with James Macmillan’s striking setting of Psalm 51, Miserere mei, which was premiered by The Sixteen in 2010 at the Spitalfields Festival.

The music was both reflective and divine, with an imagining of the eternal borne out in
William Harris’ sublime setting of John Donne’s text ‘Bring us, O Lord God’ just as the divine is yearned for in C H H Parry’s six "Songs of Farewell" - the last works in that composer’s repertoire, and something of a reflection of Parry’s resignation to his terminal illness.

John Ireland’s 1912 motet ‘Greater love hath no man’ was sung (Ireland’s own epitaph reads "Many waters cannot quench love") as was the text of ‘For the fallen’ – Laurence Binyon’s Ode of Remembrance from 1914 set to music in this instance by Mark Blatchly. The ode itself was written by the poet sitting looking out to sea from the north Cornish coastline and honours in particular the British Expeditionary Force, as high casualty rates developed along the western front and the Battle of the Marne was foremost in the minds of the public. Blatchly’s setting of the ode for female voices cleverly incorporates the trumpet melody known as ‘the Last Post’. Alan Gray, organist at Trinity College Cambridge from 1893 to 1930, set sonnets by Rupert Brooke to music in a song cycle entitled ‘1914’, three of which were sung.

These musical offerings, at once poignant, at once both prayerful and inspirational, were interspersed with readings chosen by choir member, writer and author James McConnachie, whose words complemented the musical offerings, in a powerful and moving concert in remembrance of all those who gave their lives for others.