On Saturday 24 November, Wellington Choral Society will be honouring the memory of lives sacrificed and those wounded, both physically and mentally, over the past 100 years of human combat through poetry, organ music and choral singing in a Concert of Remembrance.
This commemoration from the Great War and World War II through to Korea, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan and the many intervening conflicts promises to be poignant, thought-provoking and uplifting.
Casualties of both World Wars are listed on War Memorials throughout this country and abroad but it is sobering to consider that in Wellington alone the names of 178 men are listed on the War Memorial in Wellington Park as having been killed in the First World War together with 50 men and one woman in World War II.
Although this year marks the centenary of the end of World War I, the many conflicts since then should not be forgotten and the poetry featured in Wellington Choral Society’s Concert will recognise this.
The programme will also include the evocative choral works of Geraint Lewis (“The Souls of the Righteous”) and John Ireland whose “Greater Love Hath No Man” was written shortly before the First World War. With the onset of war in 1914, it is believed that the words would have resonated with the audience as casualties from the Front increased inexorably. The celebrated composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Artillery during the Great War and the Concert will also feature his “Lord Thou Hast Been Our Refuge” written in 1921 in the aftermath of that War.
The Remembrance Concert will end with Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem which is based on the old tradition of plainsong and is generally regarded as a masterpiece. Duruflé
was regarded as the greatest organist of his day in addition to being a well-respected composer. He was a perfectionist and the Requiem took him some 6 years to complete. Having been originally commissioned by the Vichy regime, the Requiem was completed in 1948 when contemporary audiences heard the Requiem as a memorial to French victims of the War.
Remembrance 100 Years will take place at St John’s Church, Wellington on Saturday 24 November 2018 at 7.30pm. Tickets at £12 (under 18s free) will be available from Odette’s Tearoom, 27 High Street, Wellington (01823 667919), online at www.wellingtonchoralsociety.org.uk and on the door.
There will be a retiring collection for SSAFA Somerset, the Armed Forces Charity.