War Composers - the music of World War I

Links

WarComposers.co.uk is not the only website or organisation looking at World War I composers.
Here are a selection of links which may be of interest:

Oxford Online

Oxford Music Online (which includes the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians) and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography provide excellent encyclopedia articles on many of the more famous War Composers, in particular those that survived the conflict and went on to great things in the post-war years.

While access to these is by subscription, many public libraries, schools and universities have subscriptions for their members. To pick a completely random example Cambridgeshire Libraries & Archives is free to join and can offer online remote access subscriptions to both. Public libraries always want new members, so do use them!

BBC

The BBC are planning a multitude of Radio, TV and Online content about the first war, and Radio 3 have already commenced their series of programmes about music in the build up to August 1914 in their interesting Music on the Brink series, and the follow up Music in the Great War season in June 2014.

Sara Mohr-Pietsch has presented a series of short films for the BBC iWonder guides looking into why war composers are not as well-known as war poets.

Radio 4's 1999 series about the music of WWI The Drums of Battle is being added to the BBC's WWI website, although regrettably the first programme has suffered from tape deterioration and the musical excerpts are almost unlistenable. However, Christopher Cook provides a useful overview of the musical state of Britain in the War.

The Composer of the Week podcast of George Butterworth and his contemporaries is available for download or streaming on the Radio 3 website. Donald MacLeod was joined for the week by Dr. Kate Kennedy to give an overview of the lives, insprations and compositions of George Butterworth and his contemporaries: Frederick Kelly, Ernest Farrar, Cecil Coles, Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Denis Browne. The programme featured the broadcast premiere of my completion of The Comic Spirit, W Denis Browne's 1914 orchestral ballet which was recorded especially for the programme by the BBC Philharmonic.

Music Behind the Lines

Westminster Music Library and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra held a series of workshops for children and adults throughout 2014 called Music Behind the Lines which focus on various War Composers. Their website features resources and downloadable information packs, plus the chance to attend workshops and lectures in London with members of the orchestra.

Poetry by Heart - WWI poetry showcase

Poetry by Heart is a super (and jolly challenging!) initiative for secondary school pupils to learn and perform poetry from memory. This year, there has been the addition of a WWI-themed collection of poems, and while there are plenty of War Poetry sites available online, I was impressed by how alongside Owen, Gurney and Brooke there are some unfamiliar names in this collection as well, which is very much the ethos of this website. Their website looks just like I would have wanted this site to look had I a more substantial ability in web design...

Gallipoli Music Memorial 2015

The Gallipoli Music Memorial 2015 held a series of concerts, lectures and educational workshops in 2015 to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign which featured premieres of works by William Denis Browne (including my completion of The Comic Spirit) and Frederick Kelly as well as the music of Turkey. There are a plethora of educational materials and biographies available on the site.

Les Musiciens et la Grande Guerre

Les Musiciens et la Grande Guerre is an interesting project by French record label Editions Hortus to release on CD many works by war composers or composers whose work was otherwise significantly changed by the war. There are 18 volumes as of 2016 featuring works by over 90 composers of 12 different nationalities. Many of the pieces are chamber works, songs or instrumental pieces being recorded for the first time. Some of the composers are featured on this site, and a number of the non-English speaking names here were brought to my attention by this series.

Organ Music from the Great War

Dr James Garratt of Manchester University has a very interesting YouTube channel called Organ Music from the Great War in which he performs works connected to WW1 on the newly restored organ of the Whitworth Hall, University of Manchester. Many of the pieces on this channel are rather neglected and have never been recorded before, for example works by Frederick Kelly and Frank Maurice Jephson, so it's well worth a listen.

Popular songs of WWI

War Composers is not planning to look at the popular music of WWI, at least not initially (although if anybody would like to contribute articles on this topic, they would be most welcome). However, the website WW1 Photos.com features playable recordings of many of the songs which would have been familiar to soldiers in the trenches ("Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag" and "It's A Long Way To Tipperary" and so forth), as well as the lyrics of some of the more irreverent songs written by soldiers to be sung to existing tunes which were probably written after it became clear the war wasn't going to be over as soon as initially hoped.

Lights Out

This site participated in the Lights Out commemorative initiative on the 4th August 2014.

WarComposers.co.uk is not responsible for the content of any of these external links.