Composers of the First World War: A Commemoration | Review

By Ilona Cabral


Pack up your troubles and step into a vibrant and emotive centenary celebration of the First World War.  At the St David’s Hall, the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra met once again to perform the suites and music of some of the most influential Composers of the First World War.

Conducted by Michael Bell (MBE), this dramatic production took the audience on a musical journey through the horrors and unexpectedly rousing moments of The First World War. Featuring the stunning works of composers such as George Butterworth and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The first half of the production focused on the early years of the War, subtly contrasting the pain and anguish of these years with the brief respites of calm.

Then, after the interval, the audience were introduced to London and Royal Welsh College Graduate Ros Evans who provided moving vocals to classics such as “Keep the Home Fires Burning” and “We’ll Gather Lilacs”. Reflecting the American entrance into the conflict we were then treated to composer Arr. Peter Lawson’s composition “Tunes from the Trenches”, featuring some of the most iconic War songs – and even prompting some audience members to join in singing!

Finally, the concert ended with the “Suite from Things to Come”, the truly beautiful soundtrack from H.G. Well’s novel and film of the same name. Through each movement the audience was guided through the resounding feeling of exhaustion after the First World War and the hope for a new world-order of peace.

Overall, this production was a simple yet elegant event, remembering the devastation of the First World War but also the stunning music it inspired. Composers of the First World War: A commemoration was also supported by the British legion who were in attendance raising money for veterans suffering from the after effects of conflict. Please head over to their website to donate and remember to buy your poppy this year.

If you were not able to make it along to this concert, the Cardiff Philharmonic orchestra will soon be back at the St David’s theatre! On Friday the 7th December they will return for A Night at the Movies, including rousing pieces from Back to the future, Star Trek and La La Land.

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