A Foreign Field
31 July 2014
The celebrated German composer Torsten Rasch, the historic Three Choirs Festival and Britain’s world-famous Philharmonia Orchestra presented a major 40-minute work for choir, soloists and orchestra that set the poetry of the First World War to music. Commissioned jointly by the Three Choirs Festival and Germany’s Chemnitz Opera, where it was also performed, A Foreign Field features singers from both companies.
Born in Dresden, Torsten Rasch had previously written for English National Opera and the BBC. This powerful libretto was inspired by writers including the Dymock Poets – the group including Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke and Robert Frost that wrote, read and walked together in the Gloucestershire countryside before the war interrupted – and their Austro-German contemporaries Georg Trakl and Rainer Marie Rilke. Brought together in music, their words form an impassioned, moving memorial to the suffering endured on both sides.
Conducted by Baldur Brönnimann, the programme also featured Elgar’s The Spirit of England and Vaughan Williams’ much-loved The Lark Ascending.
Elgar Spirit of England
Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending
Torsten Rasch A Foreign Field festival commission & world première
Commissioned by public subscription for the Three Choirs Festival 2014 and StädtischeTheater Chemnitz, Erich-Schellhorn-Stiftung as part of 14-18 NOW. This performance kindly supported by the Elmley Foundation and Anwen Walker. Choristers supported by Lee Bolton Monier-Williams.