Liverpool Philharmonic Commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War One
- Liverpool Philharmonic Principal Guest Conductor Andrew Manze unites hundreds of musicians and choristers from Liverpool and Hannover, both UNESCO Cities of Music, in two performances of Britten’s masterpiece, War Requiem
- Liverpool performance of War Requiem (10 Nov) is centrepiece of Liverpool Philharmonic’s presentation of and participation in events commemorating the centenary of the end of World War One including:
- Roger McGough remembers the War Poets, with music by Ravel and his wartime contemporaries played by pianist Ian Buckle
- Sheku Kanneh-Mason performs Elgar’s Cello Concerto
- Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company and young composers in Wilfred Owen Commemoration
- Events part of Liverpool 2018 Brittle Heart season, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One
Saturday 3 November 8pm
Saturday 10 November 7.30pm
The day before Remembrance Sunday which this year will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, 300 musicians from the combined forces of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Choristers of Liverpool Cathedral, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Knabenchor Hannover, and a team of world-class soloists come together in the awe-inspiring space of Liverpool Cathedral to perform Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (10 Nov).
It is preceded the week before by a performance in Hannover’s Kuppelsaal with over 400 musicians, and choristers drawn from the Liverpool and Hannover orchestras and choirs (3 Nov)
Britten intended War Requiem as a gesture of reconciliation and in that spirit it was Andrew Manze, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, and Principal Conductor of NDR Radiophilharmonie who invited the orchestras and choristers of the two UNESCO Cities of Music to unite to mark this significant historical anniversary with Britten’s universal work.
On the title page of the score, Britten quoted war poet Wilfred Owen, who grew up in Birkenhead and was killed in action in 1918, aged 25 ‘My subject is war and the pity of war.’ Britten drew on Owen’s poems, fused with the traditional Latin texts throughout the work.
On performing Britten’s War Requiem in Hannover and Liverpool, conductor Andrew Manze said:
‘For me, uniting these great musical forces from Britain and Germany has profound symbolism as once hostile countries rehearsing and performing Britten’s landmark War Requiem together in two UNESCO Cities of Music.
‘Both Wilfred Owen and Britten were pacifists, raging against man’s inhumanity to man. Whilst war and conflict continues around us today, War Requiem resonates as powerfully as ever as a sign of reconciliation, bringing us together to hear great music that moves us and challenges us to think of the impacts of our actions at a time of remembrance. So I have a strong instinct that these concerts will be special, memorable events in the lives of all the participants and listeners.’
In addition to these two performances of Britten’s War Requiem, Liverpool Philharmonic will also present and participate in a number of events commemorating the centenary of the end of World War One during November including:
Wednesday 7 November 7.30pm SOLD OUT
St. George’s Hall Concert Room
Roger McGough narrator
Ian Buckle piano
On 4 November 1918, barely a week before the Armistice, the Birkenhead poet Wilfred Owen was killed on the Western Front. 100 years on, internationally famous Liverpool poet Roger McGough (presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please) remembers a lost generation. With poetry by Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Owen himself, with music by Ravel and his wartime contemporaries, this event is an intimate commemoration of a tragedy whose scars – even a century later – have yet to fully heal.
Thursday 8 November 7.30pm SOLD OUT
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Andrew Manze conductor
Sheku Kanneh -Mason cello
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
In a week of Remembrance, and in his first concert as Liverpool Philharmonic’s first ‘Young Artist in Residence, the 19-year-old British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason will bring his passion and poetry to possibly the most-loved cello concerto, written in 1919 by Edward Elgar in the aftermath of World War One, for a world changed beyond recognition.
Awarded ‘BBC Young Musician of the Year 2016’ Sheku’s debut CD took classical music to the top of the pop charts. His performance at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Spring 2018 showcased this prodigious talent to a global audience.
Principal Guest Conductor Andrew Manze has surrounded Elgar’s work in music inspired by the Great War; Gary Carpenter’s Willie Stock, a memorial to an uncle who fell at the Somme, and music by Ravel, tender tributes to lost friends, with some movements arranged by Liverpool composer, Kenneth Hesketh.
Friday 9 November 7pm – 8pm
Christ Church, Oxton, Wirral
Liverpool Philharmonic’s young composers and members of its Youth Company take part in an evening of music and poetry remembering the life and work of Wilfred Owen and his comrades from Birkenhead. Music includes:
Grace Evangeline Mason (Christopher Brooks Prize Winner 2017) As Bronze
Richard Miller (Christopher Brooks Prize Winner 2016)
Different Skies (I saw his round mouth’s crimson)
Joshua Quinlan (Rushworth Young Composer 2016-18) Futility
Armand Rabot (Rushworth Young Composer 2017-2019) 1914
Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company
Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company brings together young people who are passionate about music to develop their skills and talents through performance, live events, creative projects and training. Liverpool Philharmonic supports new music by young musicians through the Christopher Brooks Composition Prize and Rushworth Young Composers programme, offering bespoke mentoring, development and performance opportunities for young people aged 14-30.
Book tickets here
Saturday 10 November 7.30pm-8.30pm
Museum of Liverpool
A string quartet of musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra perform in an evening of music and readings from the period that have a powerful connection to Liverpool, to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice, in partnership with National Museums Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University.
The evening includes and a new sound art piece by Liverpool composer Stephen Davismoon, which gathers and treats found sounds from locations in and around Everton Brow in Liverpool, associated with three territorial battalions of the King’s Regiment Liverpool that served in most of the major conflagrations of the war.
Free event, booking essential, book tickets here
Monday 12 November 1pm
Music Room at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
featuring musicians of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Elgar String Quartet (1918)
Bax String Quartet (1918)
Ian Bracken cello
Gwendolyn Fisher viola
Lukas Hank violin
Sarah Brandwood Spencer violin
Full press release here
Liverpool 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of Liverpool’s memorable year as European Capital of Culture. It looks to the future with a year-long programme which celebrates the city’s culture and creativity, including the Brittle Heart season of concerts and events, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.