The world premieres of Jonathan Dove’s For an Unknown Soldier played before sold-out audiences at Portsmouth Cathedral and the Fairfield Halls in November last year. The project and performances touched the heart of the Croydon community, bringing together the old and very young in a joint commemoration of the First World War.
Now, The London Mozart Players have ambitious aims of crowd-funding a recording of this piece in collaboration with four Croydon schools: Monks Orchard, Croydon Parish Church Primary, Castle Primary and Ecclesbourne.
Commissioned by The London Mozart Players and Portsmouth Grammar School, For an Unknown Soldier is a cantata that commemorated the First World War Centenary. It was a nine-month community project that involved more than 300 children from the choirs of Portsmouth Grammar and the Croydon primaries.
It was composed by Jonathan Dove and offers a moving meditation on the tragedy of war, following the personal journey of an Unknown Soldier as he leaves his family and home.
“‘It gave me the opportunity to explore, in depth, a dark and difficult subject,” Dove said. “The words of this cantata are the first-hand experiences of the First World War written by poets, several of whom were killed during the war, their thoughts and feelings live again now through the voices of the young people of today.”
Dove is among the most classical successful composers working today. His operas are heard in major houses across Europe, America and Australia and his choral music is in the repertoire of choirs across the world. Recent commissions include Gaia Theory premiered at the BBC Proms last year. At present, he is working on a major commission for the Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra and Festival d’Aix en Provence.
The For an Unknown Soldier recording sessions will take place in central London in September, provided the LMP reaches its funding target of £21,000; the fund-raising has already reached the one-third mark.
Joining the LMP and the children from the four primary school choirs will be tenor Nicky Spence, the Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir and conductor Nicholas Cleobury.
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