A century on from the Battle of the Somme, we marked the anniversary with a major new choral work, shared with choirs and singing groups across the country. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, Memorial Ground received its world premiere in a special concert at the East Neuk Festival on 2 July. Paul Hillier and his acclaimed Theatre of Voices performed with singers from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and amateur choirs from around Fife. The project won the highly prestigious RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Music Award for Audiences and Engagement 2017.
Following the premiere, Memorial Ground became available to choirs and singing groups of all levels and sizes from around the country and abroad. They could download the score and related resources in order to sing new versions of this versatile work.
In Memorial Ground, David Lang reflects on the tragic events of a century ago, but has also created a space in which to honour and remember the many since then who have made sacrifices in order that we may live the lives we do. Participating choirs and singing groups were able to add the names of those they wished to recognise and acknowledge to Memorial Ground, making the piece their own by creating a unique and very personal act of remembrance.
The project culminated in November 2016, with choirs performing their own versions of Memorial Ground at concerts, services and school assemblies on and around Remembrance Sunday.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the East Neuk Festival with the support of Creative Scotland and in partnership with the Big Big Sing