A Requiem For Soldiers
A great deal of the material of this work is based around bugle calls used by the British Armed Services. Sometimes their use is obvious; at other times, less so. Its initial inspiration was the respect shown to the fallen in Afghanistan by the people of the neighbouring town of Royal Wootton Bassett. However, a visit to a production of the play Journey’s End which featured some terrifying sound effects led to a decision to expand the original work so that it could be used to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. The large percussion section is a reflection, rather than an imitation of these sound effects.
It is imagined that a soldier, sheltering precariously in the middle of a battle, is reflecting upon the text of the Requiem Mass. He wonders what possible relevance the references to “eternal rest”, and “perpetual light” etc., could possible have for him, while the words “day of wrath, day of anger” etc., are only too relevant. Nevertheless, he prays for mercy, using the parts of the text that plead for deliverance. These words, in the first person singular, are sung by the baritone soloist.
The work is scored for 3 B flat trumpets, 2 trombones, a large percussion section, timpani, strings, baritone soloist, and choir SATB. Approximate duration; 54 minutes.
The text is exactly as set by Mozart, (although it is a very different work). There are no interpolations.