the banks of green willow
The idea of this concert series came in the build up to the First World War centenary in 2014 - an event of worldwide significance and commemoration that has quite rightly received a lot of attention within the arts. My project explores the work of composers whose lives were tragically cut short or irreversibly altered due to their wartime experience, shining a light on the work of promising composers never given the chance to fulfil their potential. I have performed works by Ivor Gurney, Ernest Farrar and Cecil Coles, alongside more established composers such as Elgar, Ravel, Bridge and Parry.
The project started as a trio of concerts for the Red Cross in Bristol, Gloucester and Exeter but has expanded somewhat since then, and I now give regular performances of this repertoire for music societies across the country. On the anniversary of Gallipoli I gave a concert at Southwark Cathedral featuring the unfinished sonata of Frederick Septimus Kelly: an Australian-British composer who died on the Somme, and more recently I have expanded my programmes to include a range of works from early 20th Century Britain, creating a diverse musical picture of the time.
A recent performance for HHH concerts in Haslemere will be followed by upcoming concerts in Seaton and Bude, and I intend to conclude the project with a CD recording of some of the repertoire I have performed.
The following is a recording of 'a drawing-down of blinds' by James Whittle, commissioned for the project. It is inspired by the work of the wartime poets Wilfred Owen, Geoff Dyer, Henri Philippe Pétain and Dyer.