Review of Diggers' Requiem performance in Amiens

French original


Amiens, A Dive into the Fury of War: 
A thousand spectators attended the Diggers’ Requiem on Monday at the Cirque Jules-Verne.
By Estelle Thiebault | Posted on 24/04/2018
Courrier Picard, Amiens

It is possible to "repair the past in the present. All countries make mistakes, "said Christopher Latham, the Australian director, just before the Diggers Requiem encores was given to the thousand people present, on Monday April 23, at the Circus Jules Verne for the Anzac Day, 2018.

A free concert that brought together 200 musicians from the Orchestre de Picardie, the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, the Choeur Regional Hauts-de-France and six soloists, was attended by Geneviève Darrieusecq, Secretary of State for Ministry of the Armed Forces, as well as Darren Chester, the Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, and the German Ambassador to France.

Trumpet Solo

The twelve movements of this requiem, one for each Australian battle which were evoked by images projected on the big screen, transported the spectators to the fury of the war. For the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916, during which more than 5,500 Australians were wounded and 2,000 killed, Haëndel's funeral March resounded. This work was traditionally played at the funeral of Commonwealth soldiers. Lighter in tone, Alex Lithgow's Victoria March was played to cheer up the troops as they entered the ruins of Bapaume in March of 1917. And it was the galloping that Richard Mills' Charge of Beershada recalled in his work about the victorious charge of Australian cavalry on October 31, 1917 in Palestine. A trumpet solo echoed the battle of Villers-Bretonneux on April 25, 1918. For the announcing of the Armistice, the last movement began with a very moving lament played at first offstage by the bagpipe player. Then the Lux Aeterna by Australian composer Ross Edwards, for the 62,000 Australians who died during the Great War. To end with, the last words spoken by Joan of Arc, Pie Jesu, was sung in chorus by all the spectators who gave a long standing ovation to the musicians.

Australia Council supports Diggers' Requiem

The Australia Council has released the results of its latest grant rounds including its regular project categories and the outcomes of the Contemporary Music Touring Program. The $6.8 million worth of funding in the latest core grants round will support 222 projects by 133 individual artists, 30 groups, and 59 arts organisations.

Chris Latham receives $30,000 for the Diggers’ Requiem Young Artists Program, a five-day intensive built around performance of the works from composers such as Elena Kats-Chernin, Richard Mills and Ross Edwards.


The full list of grants are available on the Australia Council website

ArtsACT funds Diggers Requiem in Canberra City News

GOOD news for Australian War Memorial artist in residence, Chris Latham, and his project “Flowers of War”, which includes “The Diggers’ Requiem”, which has just been funded by ArtsACT to the tune of $29,400. 

The orchestral event, which commemorates the ending of WW1, will officially be performed in Canberra in October 2018.

The Requiem will include the Australian premieres of commissioned works by Australian composers Elena Kats-Chernin, and Richard Mills, which will be previewed this November. It will be the companion to the  popular “Gallipoli Symphony”, which was premiered in Istanbul in 2015.

Latham is presently in France and Belgium with his “pocket opera”, “The Healers”, but will be back in time for the last 2017 concert in the series, “1917-The Night is Darkest before the Dawn”, which will preview four of its 20 short movements.

1917 was one of the most tumultuous years in a terrible war. The 1917 concert on November 8 in the High Court of Australia is a musical portrait of that year. Events included the 3rd battle of Ypres, which lead to the mud and gore of Passchendaele, the French army mutiny after one million French soldiers had died, the birth of Finland and the Russian Revolution, and the astonishing and successful Australian charge on horseback at Beersheba in Palestine.

“1917-The Night is Darkest before the Dawn” includes music uncovered by Latham and written at the time by lesser-known composers from Australia, England, France and Czechoslovakia, as well as Sibelius and Prokoviev. It will feature singers Louise Page, Christian Wilson, and musicians Paul Goodchild on trumpet, Timothy Young on piano, with the Sculthorpe String quarte.

“1917-The Night is Darkest before the Dawn”, High Court of Australia, 6.30pm, November 8. Bookings to

The Flowers of War: Remembering the Lost Voices of World War I by Chris Latham

Ron Cerebona writes in the Canberra Times on 14 September,

"The Flowers of War: Remembering the Lost Voices of World War I. 2017 subscription series.

"As part of the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War, composer and performer Christopher Latham has assembled a series of four concerts combining appropriately themed music and art at some of the national institutions in Canberra.

"The logo of a red poppy, white daisy and blue cornflower is intended to symbolise the bonds between Australia and France and the enormous cultural losses to these nations and to all the countries involved. Much of the music is by composers who served in the war, and some of them did not live to see it end.

"On September 29 at 7.30pm and 30 at 2pm at the James O Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, the first concert will be Monet's Flowers of War. It will feature projections of Claude Monet's final World War I paintings, his water lilies series, completed as cataracts were sending him blind and, Latham says, representing the last flowering of French impressionism.

Read more

2017 Season Launch report by Helen Musa

CityNews Arts Editor Helen Musa writes:

“I AM not interested in Anzac-ery”, artist in residence for the Australian War Memorial, Christopher Latham, told an audience at the Ainslie Arts Centre on Sunday (July 30) as he launched the 2017 season of his “Flowers of War” project – with music.

Christopher says Canberra has the opportunity during these anniversaries to reflect on the commemorations of the “Great War”, which is so necessary considering the “obscene amount of suffering” and the fact that the European powers did it again such a short time after 1918.

Ankle-deep in a sea of red poppies, which were sent by women from the “5000 poppies” project in Melbourne, Latham joined by MC David Whitney, pianist Aaron Chew and soprano Louise Page, urged music lovers present, including Maj General David Chalmers and representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to get behind this significant cultural program.

continue reading

Peter Hislop photo

May 2017: Chris Latham appointed artist in residence at Australian War Memorial

Flowers of War project – Australian War Memorial ( RiotAct)

By Suzanne Kiraly - 11 May 2017

It is no wonder that the Australian War Memorial wins tourism awards, as the creativity of experiences provided for visitors is second to none.

They have recently come up with another first. The Flowers of War project. Chris Latham (of Canberra International Music Festival fame) is the musician and director of the program and has been appointed for the period of 2017-2021.

Thanking the Australian War Memorial, Chris Latham said, “My role is to recover music from conflicts of WW1, WW2, and Vietnam and thereby to enrich the music collection for the Australian War Memorial and also give a human face to our nation’s losses. Music had such an important role in helping people express their grief and to sustain them throughout these wars.”

Chris has a long history of fascination with the twisted contradictions of human souls – “the monster who destroys, not for food or resources, but out of rage, and the sublime being who makes art to transcend, creating beauty out of their inspired imagination. His personal experience of loss through war was also felt profoundly. He tells of the war service in his own family, in which his two grandfathers had served – one in WW1 and the other in WW2. Afterwards, he tells us that both found it difficult to love their children (his parents). His grandmother apparently conversely loved everyone but was cruelly haunted by nightmares from serving as a nurse in the Somme. His great Uncle Peter, a famous musicologist, had hoped as a young man to be a great pianist and composer, but his shoulder had been smashed by a bullet, making it deeply painful for him to play.

In a way, we are all touched by war in our past in some way or another.

These preoccupations gave rise to a decade of work for Chris, making the Gallipoli Symphony (2005-15), his last full program in which I was privileged to work with him, where he curated for the Canberra International Music Festival in 2014, and his current work on this Flowers of War project.

Chris’s first task here is to create “The Diggers’ Requiem” for the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The premiere will be on April 23, 2018, in France and on October 5, 2018, in Canberra. This is the follow-up to the Gallipoli Symphony, on which ABC-TV had a broadcast from the Istanbul premiere, released on DVD and CD. See:

The website for the Flowers of War project, tells us that: “it is a project to uncover, perform, discuss and celebrate the music and art that talented men used to cope with the horror and to mark their experiences. Over the next three years, nine concerts of recently discovered music, diaries, poetry, and art will be performed in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, and France, including a tour of villages of the Somme. These concerts will be accompanied by symposia with noted experts in the field, so marking the significant centenaries of the Great War.”

Chris often speaks of the cultural cost of war, and how the tragic loss of wartime composers is something that must be acknowledged. He immerses himself deeply, and ultimately the work he does has a profound effect on him, as he knows that making or recovering works from the wars can release internalised grief. He refers to Luc Besson’s film, “The Big Blue”, where the free divers go deeper and deeper until the risk is that they will no longer wish to return to the surface. Chris says of this, “I know I face a similar risk, immersing myself so deeply in these horrific events, but I feel these artistic works, created in the battlefields as an attempt to leave some trace of consciousness and memory in the face of erasure, have something to teach us.”

For me, personally, I am looking forward to the 100 Songs Project in which they will record 100 songs from WW1 over the next two years and people will be able to download them from the AWM site. I heard Adjunct Professor Jeff Brownrigg speaking of such songs on the ABC Canberra program with Lish Fejer recently, and some of these old war songs, (surprisingly) were familiar, and not only were there the solemn sad songs of war, but also some rather jolly songs that are uplifting and therapy for the soul.

This project could be most interesting to follow and you can go to the Flowers of War website to find out about the extensive program to come.

Review Canberra City News 22-10-16

Review / Tragic work of war’s lost composers

music / “Three Treasures”. A Flowers Of War concert directed by Christopher Latham. At the High Court of Australia, October 21. Reviewed by Len Power

“FLOWERS of War” is a four-year project directed by Christopher Latham dedicated to recovering and performing the lost music of mostly unknown composers who were killed, injured or badly affected by the Great War. 

The “Three Treasures” concert at the High Court of Australia concentrated on the rediscovered work of three composers – France’s Claude Duboscq, Germany’s Botho Sigwart zu Eulenburg and Australia’s Frederick Septimus Kelly.

The music was performed by Louise Page, soprano, Christina Wilson, mezzo, Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Alan Hicks, piano. Latham played violin.

Christina Wilson. Photo by Peter Hislop

From the melancholy tone of the works of Duboscq, to the more lyrical sound of Sigwart and the delicacy and emotion of Kelly, the concert was a fine showcase for the unknown works by these tragic composers.

The senselessness of war and the loss it causes in human tragedy became more apparent as the concert progressed and one beautiful work after another was played and sung.

Duboscq’s “The Cracked Bell” was sung to perfection by Louise Page.  “Mary’s Annunciation”, by Sigwart was sung with great feeling by Christina Wilson and Sigwart’s “Sleep, Baby Jesus” was sung with haunting clarity by Page.  Kelly’s “Music, when soft voices die” was another sensitively sung highlight from Louise Page as was Wilson’s movingly optimistic singing of Kelly’s composition to Shakespeare’s sonnet “Shall I Compare Thee?”

The singers were accompanied by the fine piano playing of Alan Hicks.  Tamara-Anna Cislowska performed solo piano works of all three composers with great feeling and assurance.

Christopher Latham on violin joined each of the pianists for two works by Kelly, one of which, “Elegy For Rupert Brooke” was another highlight of the concert.

The finale with Christina Wilson unseen but heard ghost-like from high above the audience singing “Has Anyone Here Seen Kelly?” was electrifying.

France: Sacrifice - Les voix perdues de la Somme. France: Sacrifice -The Lost Songbirds of the Somme

SACRIFICE ( Please scroll down for English version)

Remémorer les voix perdues et les villages martyrs de la Somme.


Introduction du Maire: 2 min.

    1.     GF Handel Marche Funèbre de Saul arr. pour voix, cordes et accordéon (5 min.)

Cette œuvre était traditionnellement jouée aux enterrements britanniques pendant la Grande Guerre. FS Kelly a dit de cette œuvre: “Cette musique m’a beaucoup touché ”. Elle formait aussi une partie importante du répertoire des fanfares des forces australiennes.

     2.     Jacques Ibert Noël en Picardie pour cordes à cordes et accordéon (9 min.)

Écrit pendant son service comme anesthésiste à l’hôpital d’Amiens en 1915.

    3.     George Wilkinson Suzette (1915) pour ténor, cordes et accordéon (2 min.)

Compositeur et ami de George Butterworth, Wilkinson a servi comme sergent dans le seizième

régiment de Middlesex. Au cours de l’attaque de la Redoute de Hawthorn à Beaumont- Hamel, Wilkinson a été tué le premier juillet 1916. Son corps n’a jamais été retrouvé. Son nom figure sur le mémorial de Thiepval.

Willie Braithwaite Manson 2 chansons pour ténor, cordes et accordéon (5 min.)

    4.     When I came at last to Ludlow (Quand j’ai pu enfin visiter Ludlow).

    5.     Loveliest of Trees (Le plus beau des arbres)

            Le compositeur néo-zélandais, Willie Manson, a écrit ces chansons quand il étudiait à l’Académie de Musique à Londres. Il s’est engagé en tant que simple soldat dans le 1 / 4ième bataillon du régiment de Londres (Londres Écossais) en janvier 1916. Il a servi au front de l’Ouest de mai jusqu’à sa mort à Gommecourt le premier juillet, le jour de son vingtième anniversaire. Tué par un obus, ses restes n’ont jamais été retrouvés et son nom est enregistré sur le mémorial de Thiepval.

    6.     Francis Purcell Warren Adagio pour violoncelle, cordes et accordéon (5 min.)

Altiste et compositeur, « Bunny » Warren a servi comme sous-lieutenant dans le dixième bataillon du régiment de Lancashire. Signalé disparu le 3 juillet, il avait probablement été tué le 2 juillet 1916 au sud de Thiepval. Son nom est commémoré sur le mémorial de Thiepval. 

Ivor Gurney

    7.     In Flanders (En Flandres) pour ténor, cordes et accordéon (3 min.)

Arrangement d’un poème du Lieutenant F. W. (Will) Harvey, 1/5 régiment de Gloucestershire, capturé le 17 août 1916. Compositeur anglais du 2/5 bataillon du régiment de Gloucester, Gurney a commencé cette chanson au Crucifix Corner, près deThiepval, et l’a finie le 11 janvier 1917.

    8.     Severn Meadows (Les Prairies de la Severn) pour ténor, cordes, accordéon (2 min.) 

Cette chanson de Gurney est la seule dont les paroles aient été écrites par Gurney lui même (tiré de sa collection Severn and Somme). Elle a été écrite en mars 1917 à Caulincourt.

    9.     By a Bierside (Devant le Cercueil) pour tenor, cordes et accordéon (4.5 min.)

            Chanson écrite dans une tranche abandonnée entre Contalmaison et Ovillers en juillet 1916 et orchestrée plus tard par son ami Herbert Howells. Après la guerre Gurney a passé la plupart de sa vie dans un hôpital psychiatrique.

    10.   Frederick Septimus Kelly Élégie arr. pour cordes et accordéon (8 min.)

Compositeur australien et titulaire d’une médaille d’or olympique, Kelly a servi comme lieutenant dans l’infanterie du Royal Naval Division. Il a été tué à Beaumont-Hamel le 13 novembre 1916.

Commencée à Gallipoli, cette l’élégie a été retravailler pendant quelques jours avant sa mort.


George Butterworth

    11.   The Lads in their Hundreds from A Shropshire Lad (Les Gars par Centaines extrait de Un Gars de Shropshire par AE Houseman) pour ténor, cordes et accordéon (2 min.)

    12.   Requiescat pour ténor, cordes et accordéon (3 min.)

    13.   On the Road to Kew from Love Blows as the Wind Blows (Sur la Route de Kew extrait de L’Amour souffle comme le vent) pour ténor et quatuor à cordes, accordéon (2 min.)

Engagé lieutenant dans le treizième bataillon de l’infanterie légère de Durham, Butterworth s’est battu près de Contalmaison pendant la bataille de la Somme. Après la prise d’une série de tranchées près de Pozières le 16–17 juillet 1916, il a reçu la Croix militaire. Il a été tué pendant la reprise de Munster Alley le 5 août. Son corps a disparu pendant les bombardements féroces des années suivantes. Son nom figure sur le mémorial de Thiepval.

     14.   Reynaldo Hahn: À Chloris, pour ténor et accordéon (3 min.)

Né au Venezuela et naturalisé Français, Hahn s’est engagé comme caporal dans la 31ème régiment d’infanterie, Hahn a servi dans la Somme en 1916 où il a écrit cette superbe chanson.

    15.   F S Kelly Lento et Lamentoso pour cordes et accordéon (4 min.)

Logé à Mesnil, près deThiepval, Kelly a écrit cette introduction pour une pièce d’orchestre le 28 octobre 1916. Il a été tué dans la troisième tranchée allemande pendant la percée de Beaumont Hamel le 13 novembre 1916. Il est enterré dans le cimetière britannique de Martinsart.

    16.   Walter Braunfels Vorspiel de Die Vögel, (Prelude de Les Oiseaux) pour cordes et accordéon (4 min.) 

Walter Braunfels a fait partie de l’infanterie allemande en France pendant la Grande Guerre. Il avait commencé son opéra, Les Oiseaux, avant la guerre. Il a continué à y travailler pendant la guerre, et l’a terminé en 1919. Sa première en 1920 a été un immense succès. Il représente l’opéra le plus important de la Première Guerre mondiale.

     17.   Botho Sigwart Adagio de la Sonate de Guerre arr. pour cordes et accordéon (4 min.)

Botho Sigwart s’est engagé volontairement en 1914 dans l’infanterie allemande en Flandres et en France, où il a écrit son Kreigssonate (op.19). Son régiment a été transféré en Galice sur le Front de l’est en avril 1915. Promu lieutenant, et après avoir reçu la Croix de fer, il a été blessé mortellement au poumon et est mort le 2 juin 1915 à Jaslo, en Pologne.

     18.   La Bataille de la Somme pour cornemuse (3 min.)

Pendant la Grande Guerre, plusieurs joueurs de cornemuse ont écrit des airs. La Bataille de la Somme en est le plus célèbre.  On estime que presque un millier de joueurs de cornemuse et de tambours britanniques et français sont morts en action pendant la Grande Guerre. Les joueurs de cornemuse Daniel Laidlaw, James Cleland Richardson (canadien) et tambour-major Walter Potter Ritchie ont tous reçu la Croix de Victoria pour leurs actions héroïques au champ de bataille.

(Présentations des coquelicots avec des noms des soldats morts à la Grande Guerre de la famille, ville ou village.) 

    19.   Récitation de l'ode  

   20.    La Retraite au clairon pourténor. Paroles traditionnelles (3 min.)

Durée 80 minutes.


Sacrifice: remémorer les Villes Martyres

Une tournée de deux semaines dans les églises des villes martyres de la Somme.


Tournée Proposée en France

Jeudi Juillet 14 (Bastille Day) 18:30pm concert 1, Suzanne, Église Saint-Rémy

Vendredi Juillet 15  

19:30pm concert 2, Guillemont, Église Saint-Pierre

Dimanche Juillet 17

17 :00 concert 3, Fleurbaix, Église Notre-Dame-du-Joyel

Lundi Juillet 18

19:30pm concert 4, Péronne Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Mardi Juillet 19

15 :30pm concert 5, Fromelles, Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste

Mercredi Juillet 20:

18 :30pm concert 6, Amiens, Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens, 30 Place Notre Dame

Jeudi Juillet 21:

19:30pm concert 7, Albert Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières

Vendredi Juillet 22:

19:30pm concert 8, Beaumont Hamel, Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption, 1 Place de l'Église

Samedi Juillet 23:

19 30pm concert 9 Authuille L'église Saint-Fursy

Dimanche Juillet 24:

15 :30pm concert 10, Pozières Église Notre-Dame de l'Assomption,

Participants des FLEURS DE GUERRE

Musiciens (France)

Zbigniew Kornowicz et Joanna Rezler violons, Orchestre de Picardie

Paul Mayes viol, Jacek Smolarski violoncelle, Orchestre National de Lille

Andrew Goodwin ténor, David Novak accordéon, Calum MacCrimmon cornemuse, Christophe Latham violon et directeur


Partenaires: Mission Centenaire 14-18, Anzac Centenary Cultural Fund, Ambassade de la France et Allemagne à Canberra, le Fonds Franco-Allemande, MInistry of the Arts Catalyst Fund (Aus),

Orchestre de Picardie, Australian War Memorial, L’Historial de Peronne, Somme Tourisme, Office de Tourisme Pays de Coquelicots, Office de Tourisme de Haute Somme


 SACRIFICE – The Lost Songbirds of the Somme


Spoken Introduction: 3 mins - Diplomats from Britain, France and Germany

1.    GF Handel Dead March from Saul in G major arr for voice, string quartet and acc 5 mins

The archetypal work performed at Commonwealth funerals in WW1. It was played at the first Anzac Day commemorations in Egypt on April 25 1916.

   2.    Jacques Ibert Noel en Picardie for string quartet and accordion 9 mins

Written during his service as an anaesthetist working at the hospital in Amiens in 1915 

3.    George Wilkinson Suzette (1915) for tenor, strings and accordion 2 mins

English composer and friend of George Butterworth, served as a sergeant in the 16th Middlesex Regiment, killed trying to take the Hawthorn Redoubt at Beaumont Hamel on the 1st July 1916. His body was not found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval monument.

 Willie Braithwaite Manson 2 Songs for tenor, strings and accordion 5 mins

4.    When I came last to Ludlow

5.    Loveliest of Trees

The New Zealand composer Willie Manson, wrote these songs while studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Joined the 1st/4th Battalion London Regiment (London Scottish) as a private, Jan 1916 and served on the Western Front from May. He was killed on July 1st on his 20th birthday at Gommecourt by an exploding shell. His remains were not found and his name is inscribed at the Thiepval Memorial

6.    Francis Purcell Warren Adagio for cello, strings and accordion 5 mins

English violist and composer who was a Second Lieutenant with the 10th Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment, was reported missing on July 3, probably killed July 2 1916 south of Thiepval. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial. This Adagio was his last completed work before leaving for the Front, and was planned as the slow movement of a Cello Sonata.

 7.    Ivor Gurney In Flanders for tenor, strings and accordion 3 mins

Setting of a poem by Lt F. W. (Will) Harvey, 1/5th Gloucestershire Regiment who was captured 17 August 1916, by the English composer Ivor Gurney, 2/5th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. The song was written at Crucifix Corner, Thiepval, and finished on 11 January 1917.

8.    Ivor Gurney Severn Meadows for tenor, strings and accordion 2 mins

The only published song by Gurney that used his own war poetry,(from his collection of war poems Severn and Somme), was written in March 1917 at Caulincourt on the far western edge of the Somme.

9.    Ivor Gurney By A Bierside for tenor, strings and accordion 4.5 mins

Written in a disused trench mortar emplacement in July 1916 between Contalmaison and Ovillers-la-Boisselle, later orchestrated by his friend Herbert Howells. Gurney suffered a breakdown after the war and spent the rest of his life in psychiatric institutions.

10.  Frederick Septimus Kelly Elegy arr for string quartet and accordion 8 mins

Australian composer and gold medal winning rower, served as a Lt Commander in the Royal Naval division and was killed at Beaumont-Hamel on Nov 13 1916. The Elegy was originally written in Gallipoli in memory of British poet Rupert Brooke, a close friend, but Kelly reworked it in the days just before his death.

11.  Trad: The Reel of Tulloch 2 mins

The Canadian piper James Cleland Richardson, on 8 October 1916 at Regina Trench, under intense fire, strode up and down the German wire playing this reel, inspiring his company to take the position, for which he was award the Victoria Cross. Later while transporting prisoners and the wounded back to the Canadian lines, he turned back to recover his pipes which he had left behind in No Man’s Land. He was never seen again. In 2002 his pipes were discovered in Ardvreck preparatory school in Scotland (a British Chaplain, Major Edward Bate, had found them on the battlefield and brought them back to the school where he taught). In November of 2006, they were repatriated to Canada and are now displayed at the British Columbia Legislature

Georges Butterworth

12.  The Lads in their hundreds (from A Shropshire Lad by AE Houseman) for tenor, strings and accordion 2 mins

13.  Requiescat for tenor, strings and harmonium 3 mins

Butterworth served as a Lieutenant in the 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, and fought near Contalmaison during the Somme campaign, capturing a series of trenches near Pozières on 16–17 July 1916 for which he was awarded the Military Cross. He was killed while recapturing Munster Alley on 5 August, and his body was lost in the fierce bombardments of the next two years. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial.

14.  Reynaldo Hahn: À Chloris for tenor, strings and accordion 3 mins

Corporal in the 31st Infantry Regiment, Hahn served in the Somme in 1916 and wrote this exquisite song that year.

15.  F S Kelly The Somme Lament for strings and accordion 4 mins

Kelly wrote this introduction to a planned set of orchestral variations on Oct 28 1916 while billeted at Mesnil near Thiepval. He is buried nearby in the Martinsart British Cemetery. He was killed in the third German trench during the breakthrough at Beaumont Hamel on Nov 13 1916.

16.  Walter Braunfels Vorspiel from Die Vögel, for strings and accordion 4 mins

Walter Braunfels served in the German infantry in France during the Great War. His opera, The Birds, which he had started before the war and continued to work on during the war, was completed in 1919, and premiered to enormous acclaim in 1920. It is the great opera of WW1.

17.  Botho Sigwart Adagio from the War Sonata arr for string quartet and accordion 4 mins

Botho Sigwart volunteered for active service in 1914 and served in the German infantry in Flanders and France, where he wrote his Kreigssonate (op.19). His regiment was then transferred to Galicia on the Eastern Front in April 1915. Promoted to lieutenant and having been awarded the Iron Cross, he was shot in the lung and died on 2 June 1915 in a field hospital in Jaslo, Poland.

18.  PM William Laurie The Battle of the Somme for bagpipes 3 mins

A number of pipe tunes were written during the Great War by serving pipers of which the Battle of the Somme is the most famous.  It was written by Pipe Major William Laurie of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who served in France from 1915 to 1916. He wrote this tune before succumbing to disease due to the terrible trench conditions. As his coffin was taken out after the funeral at St. John’s Church in Loanfern, Handel’s Dead March from Saul was played.

Over 330 pipers were killed in action during the Great War from the Commonwealth and French armies.

19.  Recitation of the Ode by British High Commissioner or Consul Generals

20.  The Last Post for tenor (words traditional) 3 mins

21.  Minute Silence / Closing Prayer

SACRIFICE –The lost songbirds of the Somme


French dates

A two week tour playing in the churches of the destroyed towns of the Somme.  The program will be recorded for release on Hortus, in their music of World War 1 series.

(tickets at the door 15 euros, 10 euros for inhabitants of the Pays de Coquelicots et Haute Somme)

 Thurs July 14 (Bastille Day)

18 :30pm concert 1 in Suzanne, Église Saint-Rémy

Fri July 15

19 :30pm concert 2, Guillemont, Église Saint-Pierre

Sun July 17

17 :00 concert 3, Fleurbaix, Église Notre-Dame-du-Joyel

Monday July 18

19 :30pm concert 4, Péronne Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Tuesday July 19

15 :30pm concert 5, Fromelles, Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste devant l’autel

Weds July 20:

18 :30pm concert 6, Amiens, Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens, 30 Place Notre Dame

Thurs July 21:

19:30pm concert 7, Albert Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières 500 + places

Fri July 22:

19 :30pm concert 8, Beaumont Hamel, Eglise de Beaumont-Hamel, 1 Place de l'Église

Sat July 23: 19 30pm concert 9, Authuille L'église Saint-Fursy

Sun July 24: 15:00pm concert 10, Pozières Église Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, 200 places

French Musicians

Zbigniew Kornowicz and Joanna Rezler violins, Orcheste de Picardie

Paul Mayes viola, Jacek Smolarski cello, Orchestre National de Lille

Andrew Goodwin tenor, David Novak accordion,

Jordan Aikin bagpipes, Christophe Latham violin and director

In partnership with the Anzac Centenary Cultural Fund, the Mission Centenaire 14-18, French Embassy and German Embassy in Canberra, Franco German Cultural Fund, the Ministry of the Arts Catalyst Fund (Aus), Australian War Memorial, Orchestre de Picardie, L’Historial de Peronne, Somme Tourisme, Office de Tourisme Pays de Coquelicots, Office de Tourisme Haute Somme



100 years on - what's happening in 2016

In 2016 The Flowers of War will hold a series of concerts and conversations throughout the year in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and France. Please check our events page to find out more.

Media Release

Sacrifice – The Lost Songbirds of the Somme

A Flowers of War Event

Beautiful and rarely played songs, an elegy, musical compositions and pipe tunes all connected with the Battle of the Somme, will be performed in a concert called Sacrifice- The Lost Songbirds of the Somme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of that battle. This deeply moving event will be a special way of honouring those on both sides who lost their lives and those who composed music there.

The event will celebrate twelve musicians from six nations (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, Germany and France) who were lost, injured or deeply affected by their service at the Somme.

The Flowers of War project is directed by ANZAC Centenary Fellow Christopher Latham, who was responsible for the best-selling Gallipolli Symphony broadcast last year in Istanbul, and on ABC TV. “This event is designed to be hauntingly beautiful, and to give people a chance to remember the battle in which so many Australians died. Humanity lost so many brilliant composers and musicians in WWI, those songbirds we never knew. Listening to their music, in many cases the last works these young men ever created, in the midst of the most dreadful conditions, gives a human scale to this unimaginable tragedy.”

“The Battle of the Somme is still not as well-known as Gallipoli in Australia, and yet the British and Commonwealth casualties from this fighting totalled an appalling 420,000, and the French lost around 204,000. Combined with the German losses, there were more than a million casualties on the Somme.”

The concert presents music composed in the trenches, in a hospital, and pieces written just before the composers joined up. The program will also be performed in France in July in the churches of the villages that were devastated by the artillery bombardments of both sides, including Pozieres and Fromelles. It will end with a tribute to the more than 300 pipers killed in action while playing, three of whom were awarded Victoria Crosses for their heroism.

Music by FS Kelly, Willie Braithwaite Manson, Georges Wilkinson, George Butterworth, Ivor Gurney, Francis Purcell Warren, William Laurie, Walter Braunfels, Botho Sigwart, Reynaldo Hahn and Jacques Ibert.

The free discussion with Chris Latham and historian Joan Beaumont at 6.30pm will focus specifically on this conflict of flesh versus steel and how that trauma affected the future history of the nations involved. It will ask:

How did the Somme usher in the world of modern warfare? What was its cultural cost? What was the cost of the de-sensitisation that survival required?


Tuesday June 21

High Court of Australia, Parkes Place Parkes



Friday June 24, 2016

St James Church, King St



Wednesday June 22nd

Scot's Church, 156 Collins Street

Performed by: Andrew Goodwin tenor, Anton Wurzer accordion, Jason Craig bagpipes and the Sculthorpe String Quartet.

 Contextual Conversation:  6.30-7.30pm (free but booking is essential)    Concert: 8 – 9.30pm Tickets: $45 and $35 concessions