Musical Commemorations
World War I




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"Land of Our Hearts"
A chorus for mixed voices and piano (1918)
music by George Whitefield Chadwick

This intensely patriotic and majestic chorus,
was composed during World War I,
and set to a poem by John Hall Ingham:

CD: "Land of Our Hearts"
American Songs of War and Peace
(AMRC 0026)

click here

This chorus was performed in a concert
by The Old Stoughton Musical Society
(America's oldest choral society, organized in 1786)
Read more about their extensive history - CLICK HERE







"My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie:
Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori

[It is sweet and proper to die for one's country.]"

-- Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)



CD Review:

Voices of Remembrance

Music composed by Laura Rossi
Conducted by Alaistair King
Performed by the Chamber Orchestra of London
and RSVP Voices
Recorded at Angel Studios, London
Poetry readings by Vanessa Redgrave and Ralph Fiennes
CD: 2NX 004, 2014


This is a major new work from composer Laura Rossi, who has written extensively for motion pictures and television, including LONDON TO BRIGHTON and SONG FOR MARION. She also composed scores for many silent films, especially for the British Film Institute's SILENT SHAKESPEARE series, and the famous World War I silent film, THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME. Her music has been performed and recorded by the Philaharmonia Orchestra, the London Musici Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra. She is also a lecturer in film music at the London Film Academy.

As both a composer and a poet, I was greatly touched by this combination of passionately written poems and orchestral music with voices. I wish that space was provided for the printing of the ten poems though they are available in various anthologies. All of the poems were written during the First World World War.

Laura Rossi wrote the following how she conceived this work:

"Reading my uncle's diaries and remembering his voice made the connection to that time so much more vivid and had a profound effect on me. I want to go deeper into the feelings and emotions that the personal connection to the battle, the soldiers, and remembering my uncle brought to me."

A World War I picture of her great uncle Fred is shown on the CD cover.
She wrote this personal thought about him in the CD notes:

"It's entirely possible I could have been looking at 20 year old Fred
when I wrote the music."

The music is a reflection on each of the poems. Most of the music is for the orchestra and wordless chorus by the RSVP Voices. Track 3 ("The Soldier"), track 8 ("A Lark above the Trenches"), and track 17 ("For the Fallen") feature only the music without the poems being read. This format brings variety to the work and gives it a different mix of words then music as well as just the music itself.

The poems are read with appropriately sensitive expression by actress Vanessa Redgrave and actor Ralph Fiennes. Their intense readings provide an extra dimension of support, accompanied beautifully through the music by Laura Rossi. She has provided her fascinating thoughts on each poem in the CD notes.

One of the best known poets from World War I was Wilfrid Owen, whose poems were memorably set to music by composer Benjamin Britten in his WAR REQUIEM in 1962. Two of Owen's poems, both written in 1917, are used in Laura Rossi's work: "Dulce et Decorum Est" (tracks 9-10) and "Anthem for Doomed Youth" (tracks 11-12). To my ears, these poems and their musical settings are the highpoint of this work. Yet it is not fair to signal out just these poems since every one of them is well chosen
and carefully set musically.


Laura Rossi has also written:

"Music and poetry have a unique way of helping us to get closer to the thoughts and feelings of the soldiers. The voices, the words reach out to us from behind the griny black and white images from so long ago."

And then this statement on her website:

"We will remember them"

Voices of Remembrance is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by so many during World War I and the words still "reach out" to us about those who served
and we should remember them, and they are, not with black and white images,
but with meaningful poems, carefully chosen for this very moving musical "remembrance" by Laura Rossi.

I highly recommend it.

-- Roger Hall, 1 August 2014


For more information about this CD









Songs from World War I Era on CDs




"The Liberty Song" -
From American Revolution to World War I (AMRC CD 0032)











For World War I sheet music
The Library of Congress

Click here










Please help support the educational mission of

American Music

Order CDs, DVDs, Shaker music broadsides,
and music collections
at the

AMP Store



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