Holding the Hill

Commemorating the Forest of Dean soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment on the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Imjin River in 1951

What an honour to be asked to write a new work to commemorate this important anniversary, often known as the 'forgotten battle'. Holding the Hill was premiered by the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra, conductor Fiona Crawley, at the church on the hill, St Paul's Parkend and attended by many representatives of people involved with the battle including the last remaining Forest veteran, Roy Mills.

The research behind the music was substantial and I am so grateful to the many people who helped with this: Roger Deeks from Foresters’ Forest Landscape | author LynneLambert | Lt Col (Retd) Robert Dixon OBE, Director, Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum | Band Sergeant Major (Retd) Ralph Brill | Maj David B Hammond, Directorof Music, The Band of The Royal Yeomanry (Inns of Court and City Yeomanry) | Dr Guy Puzey University of Edinburgh | Maurice Brisland | Bernard Lane.

Interspersed within the music are several narrated poems, three of which were specially written by my dear friend Jennifer Henderson, and a poem by veteran Private David Gardiner 22345661 was read by members of the orchestra. The wonderful balconies of the church and circular shape created a perfect atmosphere for narration, bugle call and scattered musicians, representing the horror of war in the first movement, whilst the orchestra at the centre was the focus for a musical reflection on some of the international and human stories of the battle.

Holding the Hill is published by Composers Edition. My thanks to all involved for this very special project. Photo: Mark Vasey

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Feedback from the premiere of Holding the Hill:

The highlight of course being 'Holding the Hill' which was so atmospheric with music coming from all parts of the church -fantastic... [audience]

 

Liz’s Holding the Hill had me in tears from the very beginning and I know I wasn’t the only one. It was the perfect way to remember the veterans. [audience]

 

a lovely emotive piece [orchestra]

 

Yesterday afternoon was so lovely - the music was beautiful particularly the new composition [audience]

 

What a fab performance...I really enjoyed it....the new composition was brilliant...xx wonderful stuff  [audience]

 

Brilliant [audience]

 

….your music was such a pleasure to play. A beautiful piece. [orchestra]

 

It was such a privilege to bring your music to life [orchestra]

 

I think your piece went down especially well with the audience. It was the first time Ihad heard it with all the instruments present, and with players distributed around the church, it sounded great.[orchestra]

 

The pieceHolding the Hill by Liz Lane was superb and utilised the space of the church with spectacular effect. [audience]

 

I really enjoyed your symphony and found it very moving. Well done you, it is a very fitting musical tribute. [audience]

 

….very emotive, yet approachable and appropriate to the occasion[audience]

 

It was very moving and your composition lovely [audience]

 

We particularly, enjoyed the new work…. keen onthe Chinese Bugles! [audience]

 

Your composition is beautiful. So emotive and a wonderful portrayal of the battle.  [audience]

 

I am so impressed with your composition. It means a great deal to know that the battle has been commemorated in such a fitting way this year. [audience]

 

Holding the Hill
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