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Remembered Today:

Music and WW1.


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Hello all,

I wanted to ask you thoughts on a new top secret project which I am about to embark on. I am a final year Music Degree student with my instrument being Euphonium something which has been passed down thought the generations starting with my Great Grandfather Henry Nichols who played the Soprano Cornet. Something which has carried on to me which must be part of the reason that I get to travel everywhere and play all over the place (I would like to think).

Anyway I was thinking of ways I could combine these interests and after a visit to France to visit Henry's Nichols Grave it came to me. To commission a brand new solo for Euphonium that really explores the sacrifices these soldiers made but more specifically looking at the way we see war today. For me I wanted a piece that reflected some of the emotions I felt when spending time in the countless war graves.

Anyway to cut a long story short after long discussions with a world famous composer and my dear and loyal friend in germany who really pushed this project. The project has begun.

I wanted to ask advice with the presentation of this piece. I wanted some what to come back to this forum and use you as a basis to bounce some idea's off. Any help would be great.

Yours

Micah

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Is this piece being written for Eupho. and piano or for Eupho and band (brass or wind?)

Dave

(Another Eupho. player)

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The solo is being written for Euphonium and Brass Brass Band but I'm hoping when it's done to get a piano reduction done.

It will be ready in 2015. Would be interested to hear your thoughts? Great to meet another eupho player too !

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Hi Micah

I'm at the other end of my playing 'career' to you being an OAP, 3rd generation SA on both sides of the family, 20yrs a YPBL and some as DepBM. When you say presentation do you mean for performance or for briefing the composer?

Dave

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Hello I'm Salvation Army in Coventry. Although the I took up contesting with a championship section band.

I was thinking in terms of presentation. I was thinking of making a PowerPoint presentation looking for a poem or something to go with some pictures I have taken. So for presentation on the day.

I briefed the composer (you know the conducter of Cory in Wales ?)

I thought it would be a fantastic way to combine my primary skill with an interest and well the WW1 Centenary.

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I will check this out. I was thinking maybe looking for a poem that maybe reflects a young person looking at a relative who was killed.

I love this line of the poem you sent me.

He gave, as Christ, the life he hadÑ

The only life desired or known;
The great, sad sacrifice was made
For strangers; this forgotten dead
Went out into the night alone.
There was his body broken for you,
There was his blood divinely shed
That in the earth lie lost and dim.
Eat, drink, and often as you do,
For whom he died, remember him.

I love that poem. I was thinking of having maybe a shorter poem or choosing the line and having pictures I took of the cemeteries or battlegrounds and the last one being of my Great Grandfather Henry Nichols. I wanted something which would really take the focus away from me as a soloist to develop an atmosphere maybe turning the lights out or something. I think choosing Phil Harper he will do a fantastic job of creating this atmosphere. But its the presentation. I am glad I have a few months till the new piece is written.

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To me you are thinking along the right lines. Turning out the lights would create the right atmosphere I believe. I found it quiet ethereal when I visited my Great-Great -Uncles' grave on the Somme.

You could further ensure that the focus is not on you as the soloist if you yourself were out of sight of the audience. Having a photo of your Great-Grandfathers grave as the penultimate slide followed my the man himself, I believe would be a poignant ending moment.

Dave

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  • 1 month later...

Hello Heritage,

Sorry for the late reply. I totally agree. I think what will make this piece is the atmosphere it should be ready for the Summer. Although I am very excited for it. Off to Germany this Friday to premier another solo written for me.

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  • 11 months later...

Hello all,

Its been quite a while since I posted on this thread. But here is a short video of the highlights of the piece that was commissioned entitled 'In Gardens of Peace'.

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That's a very beautiful piece (far more tuneful than I was expecting) - and beautifully played.

William

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Have you considered looking at the Germans side of WW1 Music. The most popular German song seems to have been Walter Flex's poem Wild Geese rushing, which has some of the connotations of "Flanders Fields" and is still sung today by the soldiers of Germany's old adversary.

I wrote a piece about the history of this piece here. http://www.theobservationpost.com/blog/?p=54

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Hello Sheldrake,

It is funny you should say that. This piece has been a joint commission between myself and a German Euphonium player Wolfgang Weichselbaumer. This is an original piece of music and is not modeled after any existing songs. The whole aim was to apply an individual story to the piece in a hope that people would apply their own experiences, thoughts, images and stories to this piece. It would be great to use these poems. I really do like Walter Flex's poem and have taken a copy down.

I studied a little of the German military Marches and Songs mainly 2nd world war. I do like the structure of these German Military Marches which all to have this Bavarian style about them much mirrored in today's Bavarian Oomph bands. I had spent many hours discussing how to get the viewpoint of Germany in with my friend Wolfgang and I think we have a plan about this. Sorry I go slightly off topic.

We plan to make a proper recording in the future with pictures and a few lines of poetry. It is great to have feedback, we aimed at having a tune which people could really tune into right from the first note and that was simple to listen to.

Another side to this piece of music the little duet with the cornet and euphonium represents both me and my great grandfather who was a cornet player. The strange thing we have both played in the same band but just a different period in time.

Thank you for sending me the link Sheldrake I will have a deeper look into this. This piece of music really does have a unique standpoint in which every individual can take something from hearing this piece.

It is really good to hear your opinions about this piece. Just hope that we can reach a wider audience. I some how want to present a very human perspective though the music.

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Hi Micah, that is a very evocative piece and a fitting tribute. Love the photo of the two of you side-by-side. Thanks for sharing the story.

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Lovely! Thank you.

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Hi Micah, that is a very evocative piece and a fitting tribute. Love the photo of the two of you side-by-side. Thanks for sharing the story.

Lovely! Thank you.

I agree with both - very well done.

Liz

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Thank you all for your kind comments. I am really overwhelmed by these comments. I wanted a listenable piece of music which everyone could access, regardless of background.

It is always a question that I ask. Will individuals who hear this piece understand the message and be able to gain something from hearing this piece of music. I want people to hear this piece of music and put their own story to the music.

Thank you, that picture of me and Henry are both when taken at points in our lives when we were bandsmen at the Coventry City Salvation Army Band it's crazy how similar individuals can be without ever seeing each other.

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Micah

Although not a player, I am a great fan of the euphonium, a much underrated instrument. Very well done with the piece, beautifully played.

TR

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