Welcome to WarComposers.co.uk, a site dedicated to retelling the stories of the generation of classical composers who fought in World War I.
We quite rightly hear a lot about the ‘war poets’ of World War I, but less well known are the war composers. Almost a whole generation of young composers volunteered to fight in the Great War, many whom did not survive or were permanently affected by that conflict.
The site launched in August 2013 and aims to present a unified resource of biographies and related materials about the composers who fought in World War 1.
As of December 2016, the latest biography on the site is about Patrick Hadley, best known for the evocative carol
"I Sing of a Maiden". He lost a brother and sustained a terrible injury in World War I. His biography also includes mentions of two other composers who served in World War I; Boris Ord and Harold Darke, both
also known for their wonderful carols which feature every year in Nine Lessons and Carols services.
Hadley's contemporary at the Royal College of Music Gordon Jacob is another recent addition. Through what seems like sheer luck, he managed to survive the war and commemorated the event (and his brother who died on the Somme) in his First Symphony of 1929.
Also in December, new performing editions of long-out-of-print works by Francis Purcell Warren have been added - three of his Five Short Pieces for Violincello and Piano and another short choral work. The site has also finally managed to source a photograph of this young composer who died at the Somme.
War Composers released its first podcast this year. George Butterworth: The Tune Hunter is about the composer's Morris dance hunting expedition in Oxfordshire in April 1912 and how his much-loved compositions like The Banks of Green Willow were influenced by folk music he collected.
Remembering the Battle of the Somme
With the centenary of the Battle of the Somme being commemorated in 2016, this site remembers the large number of talented young composers lost in that battle including
George Butterworth, Frederick Septimus Kelly, Willie Manson,
Francis Purcell Warren and George Jerrard Wilkinson and will aim to mention
where you will be able to hear works by these composers on the concerts page.
The War Composers blog features notes and queries on a few WWI composers about whom details are obscure, as well as a look at WWII composers.