A major new work inspired by the First World War poet Isaac Rosenberg, and written by leading composer Liz Lane, is set for a world premiere in Bristol on the Remembrance weekend in November.
‘Silver Rose’ will feature the Lydbrook Band, conducted by Ian Holmes, alongside narrator, Robert Hardy CBE (above), with the music interspersed by the renowned actor reading five poems by Rosenberg.
Born in Bristol in 1890, one of six children born to immigrant orthodox Latvian Jews, he died on the Somme battlefield on April 1st 1918.
The work has been commissioned by the Bristol City Council and Arts Council England and is one of 20 major cultural commissions that will mark the city’s commemoration of the Great War.
The title ‘Silver Rose’ takes its name from two sources: The 1914 Star 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 dates on which they could attach a small silver rose to the ribbon when not wearing the medal.
The final movement also relates to Rosenberg’s poem ‘Song’, which reads:
A silver rose to show
Is your sweet face;
And like the heavens’ white brow,
Sometimes God’s battle-place,
Your blood is quiet now.
Liz told 4BR that the work, written much like a song cycle with a clearly defined lyrical line, brings together the stark contrasts between the beauty of Rosenberg’s poetry and the brutal reality of warfare.
“His writing is so evocative, elegant and refined that it is almost impossible to think of the horrors of the time and place in which he wrote.
We are so fortunate to have Robert Hardy involved in the performance alongside the Lydbrook Band – and I hope the music I have written can do justice to the subject matter.”
His writing is so evocative, elegant and refined that it is almost impossible to think of the horrors of the time and place in which he wroteComposer, Liz Lane
Time and place
The premiere will take place at 4.30pm on November 9th at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
4BR will be finding out more about the work, its inspiration and performance in a major interview with the composer before the event.