The Portsmouth Grammar School and The London Mozart Players have once more collaborated to commission a new musical work for the annual Remembrance Concert. This year the commission is a major new cantata from Jonathan Dove to commemorate World War I.

The London Mozart Players and The Portsmouth Grammar School will present the World Première performance of this major new co-commission from Jonathan Dove on 9 November 2014 in Portsmouth Cathedral and 14 November in Fairfield Halls Croydon.

“We are thrilled to be giving young musicians from Portsmouth and Croydon the opportunity to work with a living composer and to be involved in creating a major new musical work inspired by Remembrance,” says James Priory, Headmaster.  “I cannot think of a better way for young people to engage creatively in the centenary of the Great War.”

For an Unknown Soldier is a setting for tenor solo, children’s choir, adult chorus and chamber orchestra of nine poems about the First World War. Opening with a setting of Wilfred Owen’s portentous 1914 the work offers a moving meditation on the tragedy of war with poems by Mary Gabrielle Collins, Helen Dircks and Ivor Gurney among others.

We are delighted to continue what has become an annual collaboration with The London Mozart Players, which has in recent years seen the commissioning of important new work from composers such as Roxanna Panufnik and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

“We are really excited to be collaborating with the Portsmouth Grammar School and Jonathan Dove on such a significant and important project,” says Viv Davies, Managing Director of the London Mozart Players.  “The preparation for the events in November has brought together diverse individuals and groups in a unified and common purpose. We have no doubt that the première performances of the cantata will be profound and moving occasions that will express, in a wonderfully creative way, the essence, spirit and deep significance of remembrance. We are looking forward to it immensely.”

The World Première performances will be led by renowned choral conductor Nicholas Cleobury (pictured in rehearsal at PGS) , the solo tenor will be Nicholas Sharratt with the combined choirs of The Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir and Castle Primary School Choir.

The programme for the performance at Portsmouth Cathedral includes:
Holst St Paul’s Suite, featuring The Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Orchestra
Butterworth The Banks of Green Willow
Reinecke Flute Concerto 

There is a pre-concert talk on Sunday 9 November with Jonathan Dove at The Portsmouth Grammar School starting at 18:30.  The concert then follows at Portsmouth Cathedral at 20:00.  

Please note, tickets for the Portsmouth concert are now sold out though some unsighted tickets will be available on the door on the evening priced at £5.   Alternatively, you may wish to travel up to Croydon’s Fairfield Halls on Friday 14 November, 19:30, where the PGS Chamber Choir and London Mozart Players will be giving the London premiere of Dove’s For an Unknown Soldier.  Click here for tickets at Fairfield Halls.