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Patrick Hawes’ The Great War Symphony to receive world premiers in London and New York

PUBLISHED: 15:55 02 October 2018

Composer Patrick Hawes has written The Great War Symphony to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Photo: supplied by Andy Berry

Composer Patrick Hawes has written The Great War Symphony to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. Photo: supplied by Andy Berry

supplied by Andy Berry

A Norfolk composer’s new symphony marking the centenary of the end of the First World War is to receive its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall.

It will also receive its New York premiere at the Carnegie Hall on Armistice Day.

Patrick Hawes’ The Great War Symphony, is written in four movements and set to the words of memorial texts, letters and poems including Wilfred Owen’s 1914, Siegfried Sassoon’s Hell Let Loose and Margaret Postgate Cole’s The Falling Leaves.

The work will celebrate its world première at Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall on October 9, at a performance in aid of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

Commenting about the work in an interview Mr Hawes, who lives in Norfolk said: “The Great War Symphony is a musical monument in memory of all those who gave their lives during the First World War.

“I use a great deal of text during the symphony but it was important to me that there was a musical structure too so there are four movements each depicting a different period of the war.”

Commenting on the texts he has used Mr Hawes said: “I’m very pleased with the texts I’ve chosen because they do dictate a musical structure which is constant. I was also conscious that I didn’t want to use just poetry of which there is a vast amount.

“I think it’s very important to talk about the emotions which existed between the men which drove them on and bound them together.”

Since completing the work in the Spring, Mr Hawes said “it had been full steam ahead” to record the work at Abbey Road studios and various locations around the UK.

“We travelled around the UK recording the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish choirs. As the final pieces of the jigsaw came together, and more and more stories emerged from the project’s singers and players with WW1 connections, I realised even more what an important memorial in music this is.”

The recording of the work at Abbey Road Studios is available on the Classic FM label.

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