Instrumentation - perc(1): vib - strings


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Programme Notes

The Ordinary Heroes of Postman's Park is a musical response to the artists G.F. and Mary Watts' poignant memorial that stands in the square of that name which is also home to the church of St Botolph's Without Aldersgate in the City of London. The Watts memorial honours the heroic self-sacrifice of ordinary people, whose names and acts of extraordinary bravery are individually outlined in a series of 54 handmade ceramic tiles, a memorial that Watts believed would be an appropriate complement to the celebration in 1877 of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. When the English Chamber Orchestra approached me to write for them a piece in 2021 that it planned to premiere in June 2022, the same month as Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, it felt like the perfect opportunity to compose a musical tribute to the ordinary people named on the tablets. Indeed, at the time of the commissioning, public discussion had returned to the memorial and whether new names should be added to it in our time, such as that of Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, who died saving the life of a woman who fell into the Thames at London Bridge in April 2021. The memorial spot was well chosen, since the tranquil park was so named after the workers of the nearby General Post Office, who would spend their lunch breaks there in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The work has three sections, Courage, Remembrance and Peace and is prefaced by the words of Watts himself, "The material prosperity of a nation is not an abiding possession: the deeds of its people are".

The Ordinary Heroes of Postman's Park

Cadogan Hall (London, United Kingdom)

English Chamber Orchestra/Andrew Litton

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