The Great War Symphony

A monument in music to all those who gave their lives for their country in the First World War.  This Number One selling album features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, National Youth Choir of Great Britain and soloists Louise Alder and Joshua Ellicott.

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“A grand oratorio for massed voices and orchestra, which mourns the dead, salutes their sacrifice, and summons a vision of rural England that inspired so much of the art and music of that time.”
Ivan Hewitt, The Daily Telegraph


The following text is taken from Patrick’s sleeve notes for The Great War Symphony:

“THE GREAT WAR SYMPHONY is a musical memorial to all those who gave their lives for their country in the First World War. On one level, the four movements derive from the traditional format of the Symphony but they are also designed to reflect on each of the four years of the war.

PRAELUDIUM introduces two main themes which appear in different guises throughout this movement and beyond, while the use of Big Ben (sounding a deep E natural) dictates that the Symphony is in the key of E major. The chorus lead us through the outbreak of war, the early optimism and then a sense of harsh reality. The tenor soloist represents the fighting man who comes to realise that everything turns to ‘waste’.

MARCH draws the listener more fully into the conflict, concentrating on particularly significant events at Jutland, Gallipoli and the Somme. The soprano soloist makes her first appearance, singing of the heartache of mothers, daughters, wives and fiancées at home as well as those women who witnessed the war first-hand.

The devastating third year of the war saw little movement on the fronts, and ELEGY is similarly more still as well as reflective. We lament with all those who feel the full pain of bereavement as the choral lines become more lyrical and the soloists share their experience of love and loss with one another.

The FINALE begins with the apocalyptic ‘Dies Irae’ and the tenor soloist’s complete sense of desolation until there is eventually the call for war to cease. ‘Calm fell’ and the end of the Symphony becomes, in effect, an act of remembrance. The Last Post is played against iconic words from Laurence Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen’ before chorus and soloists together promise to wear the poppy in honour of the dead and ‘teach the lesson that ye wrought in Flanders Fields’.”


Praeludium (1914-1915) – 1st Movement
1. 1914
2. Wake Up, England
3. The Trumpet
4. The Oath of Allegiance
5. Christian Soldiers
6. Into Battle
7. Waste

March (1915-1916) – 2nd Movement
8. Quit Ye Like Men
9. The Falling Leaves
10. Gallipoli
11. Mid Jutland’s Deadly Battle Roar
12. No Cross or Headstone
13. Inferno

Elegy (1916-1917) – 3rd Movement
14. Anthem for Doomed Youth
15. The Song of the Mud
16. He Lies with England’s Heroes
17. America Speaks
18. The Dead Soldier

Finale (1917-1918) – 4th Movement
19. Dies Irae
20. The Storm Night
21. Tell Them at Home
22. Disarmament
23. Calm Fell
24. Blow Out, You Bugles
25. The Last Post
26. We Shall Keep the Faith

[Total duration: 61.29]

Release date: 21 September 2018

Patrick Hawes composer & conductor

National Youth Choir of Great Britain choir
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra orchestra
Louise Alder soprano
Joshua Ellicott tenor

Andrew Sunnucks producer
Sam Okell recording engineer
John Barrett & George Oulton recording assistants
Ren Swann mixing
Paul Pritchard & Paul Tidbury mixing assistants
Chris Brooke mastering

Classic FM / Decca record label

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London (UK) in January & March 2018



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