German and British orchestras unite for WWI commemoration

Posted on: July 25, 2014

“Simon Rattle has conducted an unprecedented collaboration of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, recorded for a multinational First World War event near Mons in Belgium to be attended by [British Prime Minister] David Cameron and members of the royal family,” writes Mark Brown in Saturday’s (7/19) Guardian (London). “The commemoration at the St. Symphorien military cemetery is … taking place on 4 August—the centenary of the declaration of war…. The cemetery is a final resting place for soldiers from both sides of the conflict.… Rattle chose two works for the LSO and Berlin Phil to record: the last movement of Brahms’s German Requiem and George Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad…. Butterworth himself died in the trenches.… Because the cemetery is so small, the music has had to be pre-recorded, but there will be a live choir consisting of 30 British and 30 German singers…. Other musical highlights will be a solo Bach cello suite, played by the German cellist Jan Vogler, and a song written and performed by a small group of British children who have been working with Gareth Malone. ‘There won’t be a dry eye in the house,’ said Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican and the event’s creative consultant.”

Posted July 25, 2014