God’s Own Caught in No Man’s Land, large-scale orchestral and vocal work, commissioned by Simon Webb of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
- Submitting institution
Liverpool Hope University
- Unit of assessment
- 33 - Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies
- Output identifier
- J - Composition
- Supplementary information
- Request cross-referral to
- Output has been delayed by COVID-19
- COVID-19 affected output statement
- Forensic science
- Number of additional authors
- Research group(s)
- Proposed double-weighted
- Reserve for an output with double weighting
- Additional information
- This is a large-scale orchestral vocal work with acousmatic interludes, commissioned by Simon Webb of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and premiered by them on 1 st July 2016 commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
The choral parts were performed by the Melodico Choir; the work’s soloists
were Taylor Wilson (Mezzo-Soprano) and Gordon Munro (Narrator); I auditioned the
work’s acousmatic elements; the premiere was conducted by Michael Seal. The premier performance was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Remembrance Sunday 2016.
It is structured as a contemporary Oratorio, that focuses upon the tragic circumstances of the Salford Pals in the lead up to and eventual engagement in one of the most horrific examples of mechanistic slaughter of the First World War. To bring a high level of authenticity to the work I researched a large number of pertinent written and musical texts, and apposite ‘soundmarks.’
The written texts examined consisted of contemporary reports, letters and diaries from a variety of local, national and international archives, juxtaposed by relatively unknown poems by Winifred Letts, who was living in Salford at the time of the First World War.
The syntax of the work’s vocal and instrumental textures were largely wrought from the output of generative Markovian algorithms programmed in OpusModus - designed after in-depth intervallic, harmonic and rhythmic analyses of a wide variety of pertinent historical musical grammars, such as folk or popular songs and/or relevant military music.
‘Soundmarks’ were gathered from a wide variety of sources associated with the lives of the Salford Pals: play, worship, travel, work, military or domestic life or the surrounding nature.
Each of these elements are combined to create a palimpsestic listening experience aimed at creating an authentic and multiplicitous aural bridge between the past and the present.
- Author contribution statement
- English abstract