A note from the composer...
Silver Rose is a musical response to five poems by Bristol born poet Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918), who died in action during World War 1. Working collectively like a song cycle, the poems are read before and during each of the five musical movements; the lyrical line can be clearly traced in the first, third and fifth (On Receiving News of the War, A Careless Heart and Song) whereas the second and fourth (Beauty and Returning, We Hear the Larks) are a more dramatic and aesthetic reflection. The choice of texts for the musical settings echo perspectives including the atrocities of war and hope for peace.
The title, Silver Rose, takes its name from two sources. The 1914 Star was a British campaign medal awarded to men who served in France or Belgium between 5th August and 22nd November 1914. Those who fought under enemy fire were also entitled to a bronze horizontal clasp engraved with the above dates and could attach a small silver rose to the ribbon when not wearing the medal. The final movement of the work, Song, also includes the words 'silver rose'.
Silver Rose was commissioned by Bristol City Council with funding from Arts Council England and first performed by Lydbrook Band, conductor Ian Holmes, narrator Robert Hardy CBE, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, 9 November 2014.
A version of this work for brass band and narrator, also brass band and soprano, is available.