In Memoriam: For the Fallen - On a Poem by Laurence Binyon

In Memoriam: For the Fallen was commissioned by Bolsover District Council for the Bolsover Brass Summer School 2014. The commission was funded by Arts Council England through the Grants for the Arts programme. It was premiered on 1st August as part of the concert which concluded the week-long summer school.

It is a setting for narrator and band of Laurence Binyonís (1869-1943) poem, For the Fallen, which was first published in The Times in September 1914. Binyon was dismayed at the outbreak of war and especially concerned by the large number of casualties suffered by the British Expeditionary Force in the early months of the battle on the Western Front. Too old to enlist, he volunteered as a hospital orderly in France. The poem is known world-wide as the famous fourth stanza (They shall grow not oldÖ) has become a regular part of Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day services.

In Memoriam: For the Fallen is a musical accompaniment to the poem, shadowing the mood of each stanza. To reinforce the word painting, it incorporates several quotes from other pieces of music which relate to the spirit of the text: Holstís I Vow to Thee my Country (bar 25), Jack Judge and Harry Williamsís music hall song Itís a Long Way to Tipperary (bar 41), The Last Post (bars 44 and 74) and Faureís Libera Me (Deliver me, O Lord, from death) bar 65.

Performance note: The conductor should cue the narrator, using the circled numbers, at the beginning of each stanza (and, where marked, the half stanza). In each case the narrator should ideally start after the beginning of the bars in question to allow the music to establish the mood first.