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“1.7.16” was commissioned by The Hamilton Flute Band to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, and was premiered in St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry on 1st July 2016. The piece takes some of its ideas from musical elements already connected to the story, from the signalling bugle calls that might have been used in battle, to hints of one of the March tunes that the band still use today.
794,628 lives were lost in the Battle of the Somme, a chilling statistic. These numbers are also woven into the music, colouring the choices of intervals, harmonies and chords, and building the central themes, including the slow march to the trenches, where the uncomfortable juxtaposition of 7ths and 9ths is used as a motif over the solo flute theme before the screeching whistle signal to go “over the top”.
One of the musical elements central to the piece is the bugle call for “Assemble” which is used as an enthusiastic call in the opening, then to give unity to the chilling fear of the trenches on the eve of the battle, and finally to lead into the Commemoration of the final section, as those in the Cathedral 100 years later became part of the story as they assembled to commemorate the huge sacrifice made.
Grading: 6 to 9
Composer: Orriss, M.
Instrumentation: Flute Orchestra: Picc, 2 G Trbs, 4 Fls, 3 Afls, Bfl. CAfl, CBfl, Perc.
Listen to a sample: