As we approach Remembrance Sunday 2020, we look back to the first performance of a composition for brass band and narrator we commissioned for the Bristol2014 programme.
Composer and arranger Liz Lane’s Silver Rose was conducted by Ian Holmes, Principal Conductor of Lydbrook Band and Director of the University of the West of England Centre for Performing Arts, as part of a concert that took place at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on Remembrance Sunday 2014.
It incorporated poems by Bristol-born poet Isaac Rosenberg. The title of the work refers both to the final poem, ‘Song’, which includes the words ‘silver rose’, and to the 1914 Star medal, awarded to soldiers who served under fire between 5 August and 22 November 1914, and were entitled to wear a small silver rose on their medal ribbon when not wearing the medal itself.
In the last musical section all the performers stood up to honour those who had lost their lives in the war. As the music drew to a close, fewer instruments played, the remainder of the performers standing in silence.
A Selection of Audience Comments
‘….very brilliant and moving work…. The rendition by Robert Hardy and the playing by The Lydbrook Band were both splendid, and Shelley and myself thoroughly enjoyed the whole performance and thank you so much for the copy of the score’. (Bernard Wynick, nephew of Isaac Rosenberg)
‘I so enjoyed the composition – absolutely beautiful and compelling. Thank you so much.’ (Shelley Swade, cousin of Bernard Wynick, Isaac Rosenberg’s nephew)
‘I thought Silver Rose was outstandingly good… a real cultural highlight of 2014 for me.’ (Phil Gibby, Area Director South West, Arts Council England)
‘It was both easy and unsettling and had a fragility that was echoed in Robert Hardy’s stark raw haunting impressions – the bloody madness of it all in ‘Returning We Hear Larks’!!! It was a special performance with a silky smooth brass band and we were very moved throughout….’ (audience member)
‘An extraordinarily powerful piece and a great privilege to be at the first performance. The venue, band, Ian and Robert Hardy all superb.’ (audience member)
‘It was a privilege to be part of the Silver Rose experience. I found it extremely moving and felt very emotional. The band were excellent, so talented. I watched each individual playing and marvelled at the crescendo of sound produced by their United efforts. They were expertly conducted by Ian Holmes and the respect they had for him was evident. I think Liz Lane an accomplished composer and her pieces complimented Issac Rosenberg’s poetry, beautifully read by Robert Hardy.’ (audience member)
You can read more comments here: PDF Silver Rose – Liz Lane feedback premiere
You can read about all the arts projects that were commissioned during the Bristol2014 programme on the archived website. Please note this site is no longer being maintained and a few of the links are now out of date or broken. You can also read about Bristol2014 on the Festival of Ideas blog.
Silver Rose went on to have many more performances with Lydbrook Band and Ian Holmes, including the High Tide Festival at Aldeburgh with Henry Goodman and the first performance of OpenUp Music’s South West Open Youth Orchestra. It has also been played by other bands throughout the UK including the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music and Newmains and District.