A Program of Remembrance
Sunday, November 11th 2018 at 2p on WVIA-FM
Show notes by Producer / Host Fiona Powell
I made the decision early on (in consultation with my colleagues) to keep the show as stark and unencumbered with announcements as possible. This was done out of respect for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending World War One in 1918.
Here is the list of the music used during the show, and wherever relevant, stories behind the music.
1. Thomas Canning "Fantasy on a Hymn by Justin Morgan"
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Jesus Lopez-Cobos
Pennsylvanian Thomas Canning was only 7 years old at the end of World War 1. He was born in Brookville, Pa (Jefferson County) . Fantasy on a Hymn Tune by Justin Morgan was composed as a response to the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Canning's work was based on Amanda, a hymn from the 1790s by early American composer Justin Morgan; and written in 1944 in Canning’s home town of Brookville, Pennsylvania .
It seemed appropriate; after my introduction honouring Pennsylvanians, to play a piece of music written by a Pennsylvanian.
2. Gustav Holst Thaxted
Kings College Choir Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury.
Gustav Hoslt wrote his Suite The Planets between 1914 and 1918.
In 1921, Holst took the theme from middle of “Jupiter” to create the hymn tune Thaxted, which he set to the patriotic poem “I vow to thee my Country “ by Cecil Spring Rice.
This is a song known , and beloved, by every British school child, and used often on State occasions.
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.
3. Claude Debussy Elegie ; Page D'album; Berceuse Héroïque.
Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet
When war was declared in the summer of 1914, Claude Debussy was living in Paris. Although largely disinterested in politics; Debussy along with many others was moved by the atrocities against civilians in nearby neutral Belgium.
The British Newspaper; The Daily Telegraph organised a campaign of tributes called “Albert’s Book. A Tribute to the Belgian King and People from Representative Men and Women Throughout the World” This book was a compendium of tributes by well known people including Edward Elgar; Jack London; Edith Wharton; Maurice Maeterlinck, and Anatole France. Money raised from its sales went to The Daily Telegraph Belgium Fund.
Debussy was one of the few composers approached to be part of the project, and contributed a short piano piece, Berceuse Héroïque. He described it as as “melancholy and discreet; with no pretensions other than to offer a homage to so much patient suffering.” Page D’album was composed for a concert series created to supplying clothing for the wounded. The Elégie, was published in a book that was sold to raise funds for war orphans.
Debussy died of cancer on 21 March 1918, at a time when Paris was under attack as part of a mammoth, final German offensive. Some of his last words were “When will hate be exhausted? Or is it hate that’s the issue in all this? When will the practice cease, of entrusting the destiny of nations to people, who see humanity as a way of furthering their careers?”
(with thanks to an article published in the Oxford University Press by Eric Frederick Jensen )
4 E.J. Moeran “Lonely Waters”
English Sinfonia conducted by Neville Dilkes
Ernest John Moeran's studies at the Royal College of Music were interrupted by World War I; in which he was seriously wounded. His health and later stability seem to have been seriously affected by his injuries, when a piece of shrapnel lodged in his brain. He seems to have suffered from the condition we now recognise as PTSD.
After the war he resumed his studies at the Royal College under John Ireland. He was strongly influenced by his friends Delius and Peter Warlock. He also found inspiration in the landscape and folk-song of his native Norfolk. Although Lonely Waters was not published until the 1930's; many of his colleagues commented that Moeran had a tendency to sit on his compositions; for over 20 years at times.
He died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage, followed by a fall into water, in 1950. At the time there was speculation that he may have taken his own life.
5 Maurice Duruflé In Paradism
Choir of St Paul's Cathedral Under the direction of John Scott. Huw Williams, organist.
“Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let eternal light shine upon them.“
6 Edward Elgar Sospiri
English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli
Elgar provisionally called this short work Soupir d'Amour, intending it as a companion piece to Salut d'Amour, a light popular work for the masses. What emerged, however, was a work of greater substance. He composed it in the months leading up to the outbreak of the First World War and it was perhaps the gathering stormclouds of war that moved him to write a heartfelt, bleak adagio .
(With thanks to the Elgar Society)
7 Sir C. Hubert H. Parry Crossing the Bar
Choir of St Paul's Cathedral Under the direction of John Scott. Huw Williams, organ.
Parry set the music to Tennyson's poem “Crossing the Bar”
"For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place, The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face; When I have crost the bar."
8 Frederick Kelly Elegy for Strings, In Memoriam Rupert Brooke.
BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Lloyd-Jones
Frederick Septimus Kelly was an Australian who was educated in England. An Olympic Gold Medal winner for rowing in the 1908 London games, Kelly was wounded twice at Gallipoli, where he wrote his most enduring composition, an 'Elegy' for his friend, the poet Rupert Brooke. Kelly was present at the burial of Brooke, in the dead of night on the island of Skyros, and when he had finished the work, he said he felt that as well as the poet’s character, it suggested the rustling of the olive tree which bends over his grave. Kelly himself was killed in 1916; aged 35 in the battle of the Somme
9 Jean Sibelius Finlandia set to hymn “Be Still My Soul”
The Choir of Paisley Abbey under the direction of George McPhee
Finlandia, written in the 1890's and revised in the early 1900's is considered to be Finland's unofficial national anthem. It was arranged for the hymn “Be Still My Soul”
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
10 Henry Purcell Dido's Lament
In Britain, Dido's Lament is played on the trumpet during services of remembrance. Especially recalling the words. “ Remember me, remember me, but ah Forget my fate “
Many thanks to Larry Vojtko and Erika Funke for their help, advice and suggestions during the making of this program