I had a long telephone chat with composer Ben Hanlon about his new composition projects this evening. The award winning choral director whose opera, Bust featured `on these pages has a couple of interesting choral pots on the boil both of a retrospective nature. 1916 is on his agenda and expect to see fragments of the proclamation turning up in his choral settings. Listening to the reading of letters on a radio documentary on WW1 gave him the idea of trying to capture some of those voices and moods in a choral context.
Hanlon's plan is to gather sixteen letters from WW1 sources. Kildare county archive has yielded some fodder. He would love some Waterford voices to add to the mix.. His own uncle perished at the front. Hanlon is of a generation that remembers the pleasure of sending and receiving a letter . He says 'Reading a letter would immediately conjure up the voice of the sender on the inner ear. The challenge is to capture the mood and the sound of those voices from the front'.
The work is the contemporarry composer's personal reflection on the historical events but with commissions from the leading choral groups Voci Nuovi and New Dublin Voices, he should have no trouble finding a choir eager to take on the performance element. .
If you have a letter from a relative in your family archive, Ben Hanlon would love to have a copy.
Waterford Treasures requires your letters from the Great War, please bring them to the Medieval Museum on 30th Aug. pic.twitter.com/vv1nWr6HgP
— Waterford Treasures (@WFORD_Treasures) August 22, 2014