‘Victory in the First World War should not be celebrated,’ said Helen Grant, the minister in charge of marking the WWI centenary. But how should the anniversary be marked? The Three Choirs Festival – one of the most historic and quintessential English music festivals – has answered the question in a unique way by collaborating with the Staedische Theater Chemnitz to commission a new work, A Foreign Field, by German composer Torsten Rasch. Amidst all the First World War commemorations this year, this is a rare example of German and British elements coming together.
The piece itself is an amalgam of British and German culture. It uses extracts from the Old Testament, as well as poetry by Ivor Gurney, Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke and German poets Trackl and Rilke. The grand 35-minute work brings all these texts together in a majestic sweep scored for soprano and baritone soloists, boys’ choir, chorus and orchestra.
The world premiere of A Foreign Field place on 31st July 2014 at Worchester Cathedral. The concert will feature an impressive array of performers: soloists Yeree Suh (soprano) and Roderick Williams (baritone), the choristers of Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester Cathedrals, the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of conductor Baldur Brönnimann.