1. A Torch that burns across the World: Magna Carta (1215)
2. Grace and Myght of Chyvalry: Agincourt (1415)
3. One Young Drummer Boy: Waterloo (1815)
4. Sustain a Hungry Nation: The Women's Institute in WWI (1915)
5. The Tribe: Churchill and WWII (1940, 1945, 1965)
There are so many distinctive anniversaries which commemorate important British events in 2015. Andy Rashleigh’s narration draws them all together and excerpts from his words provide the titles for each musical section, also for the work itself. The composer’s challenge is to reflect on these collectively.
A Torch that burns across the World: Magna Carta (1215) commemorates the legacy of the Magna Carta and its complexity, depicted with a certain grandeur but also recognition of ‘Bad King John’.
Grace and Myght of Chyvalry: Agincourt (1415) draws on the words and music of the traditional ‘Agincourt Carol’, featuring cornets as English longbows and the lower brass as the French cavalry.
One Young Drummer Boy: Waterloo (1815) reflects the initiative in the battle swinging this way and that after the first attack from which a lone drummer boy survived.
Sustain a Hungry Nation: the Women’s Institute in WW1 (1915) features lyrical echoes of a Welsh folk tune as well as Parry’s ‘Jerusalem’, so synonymous with the WI.
The Tribe: Churchill and WWII (1940, 1945, 1965) recognises the death of Churchill
(1965) and commemorates WWII events with rhythms inspired by his ‘Finest Hour’ speeches (1940). It recalls the Battle of Britain, touches on the role of the Turing Bombe’s first Enigma code breakthrough at Bletchley Park (1940) and of course, celebrates with the people on VE Day (1945).
Their Songs of Freedom traces and commemorates many different roles – whether battles won, the role of the Women’s Institute or that of a great leader. The music seeks to be a tribute to those involved who – in their distinctive ways – helped change the course of our British history over 800 years.
Liz Lane and Andy Rashleigh, 2015
Lane, L., & Rashleigh, A. Their songs of freedom