FRAGMENTS
Emily Feldberg's Music
UPDATES FROM THE COMPOSER
EMILY FELDBERG'S MUSIC
HOME PAGE
DIARY 2019

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FRAGMENTS AND LISTEN TO AUDIO CLIPS
(This page)

LISTEN TO AND DOWNLOAD YOUR PARTGERMAN PRONUNCIATION GUIDANCE
FRAGMENTS:
AUDIO CLIP LINKS
(listed below)
August 1914 Abschied Lament Canary Girls The Knock on the Door Under A Cloudless Blue Sky Kuchen! (Another Mother's Son) Three Tommies Duty Alone Vale Lest we forget
Supported using public funding by ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND
CONTACT EMILY

FRAGMENTS
Emily Feldberg's Music
UPDATES FROM THE COMPOSER
EMILY FELDBERG'S MUSIC
HOME PAGE
DIARY 2019

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FRAGMENTS AND LISTEN TO AUDIO CLIPS
(This page)

LISTEN TO AND DOWNLOAD YOUR PARTGERMAN PRONUNCIATION GUIDANCE
FRAGMENTS:
AUDIO CLIP LINKS
(listed below)
August 1914 Abschied Lament Canary Girls The Knock on the Door Under A Cloudless Blue Sky Kuchen! (Another Mother's Son) Three Tommies Duty Alone Vale Lest we forget
Supported using public funding by ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND
CONTACT EMILY

Fragments: Voices from the First World War

A new composition written for SATB choir, orchestra and baritone solo
by Emily Feldberg.



First performance: 7.30pm Saturday 10th November 2018
in the Avenue Methodist Church, Minehead, Somerset, UK.

What the composer says about the piece:
Marking the centenary of the ending of the First World War is a challenge. I wanted to compose something that would reflect the huge variety of experiences of people caught up in it. Twenty-one nations took part in the war: I have only represented two here. The resulting piece is a jigsaw of fragments that come to us from World War One, in which I have tried to let the voices of German and British participants speak for themselves.

The musical styles reflect the variety of chosen texts, from a jaunty music-hall theme for Canary Girls to a sadder, lusher approach for Abschied (Farewell). Overall, the music ranges from the tragic to the humorous to the dramatic, and I have tried to make it both lyrical and accessible. The texts themselves range from satirical verses to heartfelt poetry; from patriotic fervour to the extremes of grief; from parliamentary debate to the diaries of conscientious objectors. What struck me in researching these texts was the similarity of the emotions felt by British and German people, whether of grief, honour, bravery, humour, fear, cynicism or joy.

I have used English and German texts from a huge range of sources: a miner from the Ruhr, a German soldier's farewell before leaving for the front, the poetry of a woman munitions worker, the official army report of the Somme, conscientious objectors' memoirs, a mother's grief written in her diary, a humorous poem from the Wipers Times and verses found on a scrap of paper in a German train in 1918.

I wanted to set the music in context during the performance, and for this reason, I have indicated three pauses for spoken Facts in the score. The Facts I have used will be available on this website, or choirs might prefer to substitute their own local versions.

From the beginning, this project has been shaped by the input of many different people in many different ways. Composing a piece of music is only the beginning: huge gratitude is due to everyone who has shared stories, suggested ideas, provided texts and given advice and encouragement. Each new contribution has changed and widened the end product. It really has become a community project, not only because of the number of people involved in the first performance of the piece, but also because of those who have influenced its development. But above all, I want to thank my partner and project manager Elizabeth Atkinson and our website manager and designer Tim Pettigrew. Between them, they have enabled my initial idea to grow into something which has exceeded all my expectations. Our team of three is definitely more than the sum of its parts.

Emily Feldberg, March 2018 


Full libretto of Fragments:
The full libretto can be viewed or downloaded by clicking HERE

Structure of the Piece:
The musical sections are interspersed with spoken accounts of facts about the war. The whole piece is composed for choir and orchestra, with a separate vocal score with piano accompaniment for use in rehearsals (or performance if desired). The majority of the audio clips below are (computer-simulated) voices and orchestra, but where these are not available, voice and piano audio clips are supplied instead.

  1. August 1914: baritone solo, choir and orchestra.
    English and a little German Composer's notes and audio clip
    'Facts' 1
  2. Abschied (Song of Parting): baritone solo, choir and orchestra.
    German Composer's notes and audio clip
  3. Lament 1: choir and orchestra.
    German and a little English Composer's notes and audio clip
  4. Canary Girls (Munitions workers): choir and orchestra.
    English Composer's notes and audio clip
    'Facts' 2
  5. The Knock on the Door (Conscientious Objectors):
    English Composer's notes and audio clip
  6. Under a Cloudless Blue Sky (The Somme):
    English and German Composer's notes and audio clip
  7. Lament 2:
    German and English
  8. Kuchen! (Another Mother's Son):
    German and English Composer's notes and audio clip
    'Facts' 3
  9. Three Tommies (The Burning Question) baritone solo, choir and orchestra
    English Composer's notes and audio clip
  10. Duty Alone: choir and orchestra
    English and German Composer's notes and audio clip
  11. Vale (Farewell): baritone solo and orchestra
    English Composer's notes and audio clip
  12. Lament 3:
    German and English.
  13. Lest we forget: All.
    English and German Composer's notes and audio clip

Click on the links in the list above or those on the side menu to view the composer's notes on each section and listen to illustrated sound clips


First Performance Profiles of the Composer, Conductor and Soloist.

First performance: 7.30pm Saturday 10th November 2018 in the Avenue Methodist Church, Minehead, Somerset, UK.

EMILY FELDBERG: COMPOSER
Emily didn't start composing until she was 40, when she wrote what she describes as 'a probably unplayable rhythmically complex piece' for her mother's 70th birthday. Since then, performances of her work have included an English Suite for orchestra, a Choral Evensong, a Cantata marking the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International (performed in Minehead Methodist Church in 2011) and a range of shorter orchestral and choral pieces. Fragments: Voices from the First World War is her most major work to date. 'Composing is extraordinary,' she says. 'For me it is a combination of 5 different processes all happening at the same time: a completely new world of swirling tunes and ideas opens up, while the much more rigid scaffolding of the structure has to be attended to; then there is the minutiae of the notation, and the colouring and textures created by instrumentation or style, and underlying everything is just the hard slog of chipping away bit by bit at the seemingly impossible task of ever finishing the thing. And yet I love the whole process! I have really enjoyed writing Fragments, even though the content has made me weep through much of the four years it has taken me to compose it. It is the hardest thing I have ever composed, but it is also the most rewarding.'

Photograph of Emily Feldberg

NIGEL PERRIN: CONDUCTOR
Described by one commentator as 'a cross between Mick Jagger and Harry Christophers', Nigel Perrin works with a wide range of choirs, bringing both skill and inspiration to singers of all ages. When Emily Feldberg asked if he would conduct the premiere of her new work he was immediately excited by her vision, and has been moved by the enthusiasm and commitment of all the singers in preparing for tonight's performance. Nigel began his musical life as a boy chorister at Ely Cathedral. He then won a choral scholarship to King's College, Cambridge where he studied under Sir David Willcocks, who became a mentor and guiding influence. He has had a highly successful musical career; as the high voice of The King's Singers he travelled all over the world on concert tours, making numerous recordings and appearing with many eminent classical and popular artists. Nigel has recently retired from the Music Department of Wells Cathedral School after nearly twenty five years, but has no plans to give up conducting the Exeter Festival Chorus or Bath Bach Choir any time soon - conducting choirs is his passion!

Photograph of Nigel Perrin

Photo: © Tom Hurley

JAMIE ROCK: BARITONE SOLO
Irish baritone Jamie Rock is an artist equally at home in opera, concert and recital repertoire, having performed in over 50 opera productions and having sung most of the major concert works for baritone. He is delighted to be back in Minehead and performing this beautifully poignant piece by Emily Feldberg. His great great grandfather fought and died in WW1, so it will mean a lot to him and his family to represent his fallen friends and foes. This autumn, Jamie will be based in Cork performing Pish-Tush in the Mikado and the Rose Tree in John O'Brien's new opera, The Nightingale and the Rose. In 2018, Jamie has performed with English Touring Opera (Gianni Schicchi), Opera de Baugé (Rigoletto) and Opera North (UK premiere of Silent Night). As well as performing a wide range of opera roles, Jamie is a committed song recitalist and has performed varying programmes for the RCS Song Stuio, Graeme Johnsons' Young Songmakers' Almanac and St Martin-in-the fields. In concert, Jamie has performed the Requiems of Mozart, Brahms, Duruflé and Fauré, Haydn's Creation and Nelson Mass and Handels' Messiah at venues such as the National Concert Hall Dublin, Usher Hall Edinburgh, Salzburg Cathedral and the Gulbenkian Foundation Paris.

Photograph of Jamie Rock

THE FRAGMENTS PARTICIPANTS
The choir and orchestra for the Fragments project comprise amateur and professional musicians from across West Somerset and beyond, with some participants coming from as far afield as London, Watford, Cambridge and Scotland. Thanks to our Arts Council grant, we have been fortunate to be able to bring in five additional professional players, as well as our conductor, Nigel Perrin, to support the project.

For the performance, the Fragments participants will be wearing sprigs of rosemary, which has been used as a sign of remembrance since ancient Roman times.

The choir doing warm ups in rehearsal

The choir doing warm ups in rehearsal - Click to view larger picture


Supported using public funding by ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND

Image: 'Peace 11 Nov 18' is a photograph of the graffiti at St John the Baptist, Carhampton. It was etched into the lead on top of the church tower on Armistice Day, 1918.
Used by kind permission of Carhampton St John the Baptist PCC.


Web site first published 20th July 2017.
Last updated 31st October 2018
Website designed & maintained by Tim Pettigrew for Emily Feldberg
© Emily Feldberg 2017 - 2018.