Symphony for the Mothers and Sons
Thanks to funding from Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts and the Horbury Common Lands Trust, I was lucky to be able to work with singers from across the North of England to research and develop my new composition commemorating and reflecting on the Great War.
Featuring Jude Abbot (Chumbawamba), Ben Noble, Callum Speed, Gina Walters (Before Breakfast), Jacqui Wicks (Gudrun Sisters, Schwa) and Imogen Wood, Symphony for the Mothers and Sons is inspired by text, memories, stories and music from the Great War, gathered from personal and public collections across the UK.
The piece includes a poem written by Rifleman Fred White, whilst he recovered from injuries sustained at Ypres in Ledston Hall, Castleford. Written as a thank you for the nurses that tended him, it tells of the spirit encompassed by many serving their country at the time. Using traditional music notation, graphic scores, alleatory composition and improvisation, this piece explores the themes of recruitment, expectation, platitudes, reality and reflection using only the human voice to create sound, melody and harmony.
Alongside workshops with professional singers, I delivered a public workshop to share my composition process with members of the public and reveal some of the music from the piece. The performance was followed by a short Q&A with the artists involved in the development of the piece.
I am currently planning the development of this piece with local choirs, to include group improvisation, new music from and inspired by WW1 and diverse oral histories and soundscape. If you are interested in taking part in this project, or for further information about my work in this area, please contact me, or find me on Facebook or Twitter.