Benjamin Britten Academy of Music & Mathematics

An 11-18 co-educational day school and Centre of Excellence in Mathematics

REQUIEM - AN ACT OF REMEMBRANCE


A NOTE FROM THE COMPOSERナ When researching the local history of Great Yarmouth during WW1 I used several elements of the story as a basis for the composition. The number of servicemen killed from Great Yarmouth (1,472) is a number that is used throughout the piece, whether dictating the order of notes used or the pattern of beats. Also, many of the countries where the fallen servicemen from Great Yarmouth are buried or memorialised have a strong musical tradition so I chose to use folk music elements from other countries as well as from Norfolk - the Kalamatianos rhythm from Greece and Turkey and the Hijaz Maqam scale from Arabic, Persian and North African music. Finally, the solo voice introduces the 'perfect 5th' interval (heard as the first two notes of the Last Post); in each movement this can be heard on different instruments, treated differently harmonically and melodically each time. The orchestral music begins with the INTROITUS played by a small brass ensemble, reminiscent of a traditional town brass band playing jolly tunes to rally the local population to come and sign up for war. This leads into the KYRIE ('Lord Have Mercy') which sets the scene with a folky theme denoting life in Yarmouth before the war. The words put us in into the year 1918. The next movement is the DIES IRAE ('Day of Wrath') and represents conflict, separation, the call to war and the zeppelin air raids in Great Yarmouth. At the end of the piece there is a section called 'shell shock' where the orchestra continue to play the frantic theme silently under the ear-ringing high pitches of the flutes and violins and panicked breathing of the choir. The BENEDICTUS ('Praise and Thanksgiving') represents the duty and devotion of those left behind - the women, mothers, nursesナ After the 'perfect 5th' opening section the piece becomes more contemplative and is a nod to the famous piano concerto no.2 by Rachmaninov which would have been popular at the time. This leads us into the AGNUS DEI ('Lamb of God') which, coming towards the end of the work, is about sacrifice, weariness, emptiness and loss - the futility of war. This movement uses a Twelve-Tone Row based on the number of servicemen killed from Great Yarmouth - 1,472. I've used it to give an unsettling, never-ending, unresolving effect which is interrupted (just as it appears to be reaching a conclusion) by the drums. Each drum hit represents a life lost and totals 1,472 hits. Each drum pattern is also based around 1,4,7,2 so the drum rhythm is grouped as this number and the pattern cycles are also according to this number. The final movement is LUX AETERNA ('Eternal Light') and is an Anthem of Hope sung by the Primary Schools massed choir. It opens with a repeat of the solo voice echoing the folk tune from the first movement but with the words putting the story into the past and bringing us back to 2018. The words of the choir, as well as hope for the future, remind us that the effects of this war - and every war - are still felt and seen amongst local populations and in the land today. In Belgium unexploded bombs are still discovered daily and it has been estimated that it will take another 500 years for all the bombs of the Somme to be unearthed. REQUIEM - AN ACT OF REMEMBRANCE Was performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra with young musicians from the Norfolk County Youth Orchestra at the Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth on 27th June 2018. Lyrics and music by Sarah Freestone Script by Rachel Duffield ‘Mrs Yarmouth’ played by Rosie Walker Thank you to the 300 talented young people from Great Yarmouth and surrounding local areas who participated in the Requiem project: PRIMARY SCHOOLS' CHOIR: Edward Worledge Ormiston Academy Led by Krista Ribbons Great Yarmouth Primary Academy Led by Jaqui Rowland Northgate Primary School Led by Joanne Freeman Ormiston Herman Academy Led by Janet Upton and Lorraine Manifold St George's Primary and Nursery School Led by Elizabeth Bunker St Mary and St Peter Catholic Primary School Led by Rachel Salton Woodlands Primary Academy Led by Damien Ainslie THE REQUIEM STEERING GROUP, RESEARCHERS, CREATIVE WRITERS and SPOKEN WORD PERFORMERS Benjamin Britten Music Academy Led by Julian Gallagher and Clare Steward Cliff Park Ormiston Academy Led by Louise Carroll and Nigel Cullen MUSICIANS, ARTISTS and FILM CREW Flegg High Ormiston Academy Led by Fiona Sexton Great Yarmouth Charter Academy Led by Selina Hawker Ormiston Venture Academy Led by Clare Ditcham and Ariane Nichols Trafalgar College Led by Helen Robinson East Coast College Led by Phil Bury East Norfolk Sixth Form College Led by Ellie Buchan And finallyナ BBC VOICES James McConnell Wing-Lee Winnie Ngai Dominic Thorby