The Flowers of War is a four year program (2015-2018) that aims to measure the cultural cost of World War One.
We will mark significant centenaries of the Great War by bringing together responses to the War by Australian, French, German and British creative artists who served and were killed, injured or otherwise gravely affected. Our particular goal is to recover and perform music that has been overlooked or lost until recently.
Significant examples are F.S. Kelly’s 1915 Gallipoli Sonata, found in Florence by Chris Latham; the German composer Johannes Schmiedgen’s Requiem, completed in the Somme trenches and currently being searched for; works by Botho Sigwart, a leading young German composer killed in Galicia in 1915; and Claude Duboscq, who wrote a significant amount of work while serving in the French army and who died largely forgotten in 1938.
What we did in 2015, and what we will do next.
2015 was devoted to Gallipoli. From 2016 to 2018, we will focus mainly on the Western Front. In Australia, France and Germany, nine events will be researched and created through Latham’s Fellowship. Three recordings will also be made of music by Kelly, Duboscq and Sigwart.
The project will conclude in 2018 with The Diggers’ Requiem, a commissioned full concert work marking the AIF’s significant Western Front battles. The Requiem will form a companion piece to the highly successful The Gallipoli Symphony, premiered in 2015 in Istanbul and Brisbane, and now in considerable demand as an ABC DVD.
Not just music....
The project crosses artistic, historical, institutional, national and audience boundaries. Its focal point is music but events will draw on other art forms, especially the visual arts and literature. Concerts in Australia will be accompanied by symposia with leading experts. The project will develop web-based resources and music together with documentary broadcasts. The Fellowship is facilitating cross-institutional collaborations between bodies such as the Australian War Memorial, the National Library of Australia, the Musée de l'Armée and Bibliotheque National de France. It will expand collections and reach, including freely available online scores and concert recordings.
Recent concerts 2016
Andrew Goodwin sings at the first Sacrifice - The Lost Songbirds of the Somme Concert, The High Court, Canberra 21-6-16 Photo Peter Hislop
The Last Post, on a WWI bugle from the Australian War Memorial. Photo Peter Hislop