Choir to honour start of war

Festival Choir performs the Passion

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Portsmouth Festival Choir has begun rehearsals for a concert that will mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War with a new work composed for the occasion.

Adrian Bawtree, who is the son of an admiral and was previously organist and choirmaster at St Mary’s Church in Fratton Road, Portsmouth, has written 1914 - And They Went To War for the concert in the Anglican cathedral on Saturday, November 15.

The words are a mixture of propaganda slogans, wartime songs such as Lili Marlene, and words by writers including 19th century poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson.

This 21st century commentary on the events of 1914-18 will contrast with the other major work in the concert, Elgar’s The Spirit of England, which was written at the time of the conflict and includes a setting of words by Laurence Binyon, a poet closely linked with Remembrance Day.

The choir will also perform A Farewell to Arms by Gerald Finzi and Parry’s Jerusalem.

The choir invites newcomers to join in rehearsals every Monday from 7.15pm to 9.15pm at Portsmouth Academy for Girls in St Mary’s Road. Contact Hilary Munro on (023) 9247 0532 or attend a rehearsal. Further information at