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Norfolk singers given the chance to perform poignant war symphony in New York

PUBLISHED: 17:26 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:27 30 January 2018

Composer Patrick Hawes has written The Great War Symphony to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Photo: supplied by Andy Berry

Composer Patrick Hawes has written The Great War Symphony to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. Photo: supplied by Andy Berry

supplied by Andy Berry

Composer Patrick Hawes has written a special choral symphony commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War, and now singers from Norfolk are among those being invited to join him for the American premiere of the work in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The Great War Symphony will be performed at the famous concert venue on November 11 and Mr Hawes is keen for some Norfolk voices to be among those singing this poignant work.

“I would love to stand and conduct in the Carnegie Hall a group of singers that includes a good contingent from Norfolk because it is now where I live and work,” he said. “There’s a lot of excitment about the US premiere in the Carnegie Hall because it falls on the actual centenary of the Armistice and it will be in one of the major concert venues in the United States.”

Mr Hawes has composed symphony in four movements with each one reflecting a year of the war - Praeludium (1914-1915), March (1915-1916), Elegy (1916-1917) and Finale (1917-1918).

Ahead of the American premiere, The Great War Symphony will also be performed on October 9 at the Royal Albert Hall in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a number of different choirs, and the work is in aid of Armed Forces charity SSAFA.

Mr Hawes said: “I am calling it a memorial in music to all those who were victims of the First World War, my own great uncle Harry amongst them.

“I have chosen a variety of texts from war-time poems, love letters, letters home and epitaphs. I have also included memories of war as relayed by my grandfather and the songs and marches he sang to me as a child.”

He added: “I hope I have distilled the world of the First World War into the symphonic genre with music that evokes pride, sacrifice, horror, love, loss and ultimately peace.”

Mr Hawes was previously been commissioned by Prince Charles to write the Highgrove Suite and his children’s opera A King’s Ransom is being performed by Norfolk schoolchildren at Open in Norwich later this week as part of the Into Opera project.

The Great War Symphony performance at Carnegie Hall is being organised with Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY). For more about how to get involved, including the costs involved, visit www.patrickhawes.com or email andyberry@hawesmusic.com

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