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Remembered Today:

Radio 3 tonight 15 May '15 - Morning Heroes / Arthur Bliss


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Tonight's Radio 3 Live in Concert has for the second half (start time 8:30 or thereabouts) Sir Arthur Bliss's piece, thus:

Live from the Barbican 7.30

Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch

From Berlioz's Royal Hunt to Bliss's choral symphony, BBC SO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis leads a blazing programme that delves into violence and its aftermath across the centuries.

Berlioz: Trojans: Royal Hunt & Storm
Berlioz: La Mort de Cléopâtre (Mezzo: Sarah Connolly)

c. 8.10pm Interval.

c. 8.35
Bliss: Morning Heroes

Samuel West (narrator)

Samuel West is the narrator in Morning Heroes, written in honour of the sacrifices made by soldiers throughout the centuries - including the First World War, in which the composer lost his younger brother.


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From "The Times" Wednesday Oct. 4, 1916
"Second Lieutenant Francis Kennard Bliss, R.F.A., who was killed on September 28 1916, aged 24, was educated at Rugby, where he obtained a Classical Scholarship, Subsequently he won an entrance scholarship to King's College, Cambridge, and took a first in the Classical Tripos in his third year.On the outbreak of war he joined the Artists Rifles, where he served as a private for nearly a year. He was given a commission in the R.F.A. on July 9, 1915, and left for the front with his battery in the following November. Shortly before his death he was transferred to another brigade.He was the second son of Mr. Francis Edward Bliss, of 21, Holland-park, W., and the late Mrs. Bliss."

He served in 459th Howitzer Bty, 59th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

He is buried in J19 in Aveluy Communal Cemetery Extension.

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Arthur Bliss was born in London 2/8/91 and died 27/3/75. He carried a pocket score of Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture on active service, in which Elgar had inscribed ‘Good Luck’ during a leave. It, like the rest of him, was spattered with the mud of the trenches. He received a wound to his ankle on Somme, and recuperated at home, attending concerts, including one by the London Symphony Orchestra just after Kennard’s death, which included music by Brahms. He wrote to the LSO complaining of presenting German Kultur in their programmes. Like Henry Williamson and others, he toured the battlefields during the Twenties, visiting the scenes of his service, and remarking how strange it felt to walk enemy territory and look out on the British lines he knew so well. He recounts much of this in his autobiography As I Remember. In the late 1920s he poured his emotions into Morning Heroes, dedicated publicly to the fallen, but privately for his younger for brother Kennard. This was premiered at the Norwich festival in 1930. Immediately afterwards came his Clarinet Quintet (premiered 1932), and as Kennard was a clarinettist, it seems likely that his memory is continued in this work. Arthur was knighted in 1950, and appointed Master of the Queen’s Musick in 1953.

“Poet, painter and musician, he was the most gifted of we three brothers,” wrote Arthur of Kennard, who was an undergraduate at King’s College Cambridge. Was Kennard destined for even greater achievements than his elder brother? We shall never know…

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