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The Battle of the Somme

Saturday 11 February 2017
Exeter Cathedral,

The Battle of the Somme

The Battle of The Somme - Laura Rossi

The 1916 film “The Battle of the Somme”, with music by Laura Rossi.

“And these troops in the mud grinned or stared at us to a new music score by Laura Rossi, brilliantly effective, played with typical dexterity and polish.” Geoff Brown, The Times.

100 years ago your uncle, brother, dad were signing up to be a part of something big. Together they joined forces in their Pals battalions to fight for their country. 100 years on, we want to remember them and what they did through this international project to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.

We are working with Imperial War Museums (IWM) as part of the First World War Centenary Partnership to show this film from IWM’s collection with orchestras worldwide performing Laura Rossi’s acclaimed score live. We are also running education projects alongside this, working with secondary school children.

Shot and screened in 1916, The Battle of the Somme was the first feature length documentary about war. In the first three months of its release the film was seen by around 20 million people in Britain and Ireland, informing and challenging the public with its images of warfare, and changing the way both cinema and film were perceived.

This performance is one of 100 being given throughout England by 100 Orchestras as a live performance of the music score by Laura Rossi and the IWM digital remastering of the original film, [first shown in 1916,] during 2016-2017, marking 100 years after the Battle of the Somme. This youtube video will give you some idea about all the work and thinking behind this important and memorable project --  Intro to Somme project

Laura Rossi's new score was commissioned to mark the 90th anniversary of The Battle of the Somme as a soundtrack for the digitally restored film. When embarking on her research on the film and the battle in preparation for her composition, Laura discovered her great uncle, Fred Ainge, (whom she knew as he survived the war) was a stretcher-bearer attached to the 29th Division on 1 July 1916. In preparation for composing the new score she visited the Somme Battlefields, using Fred’s diaries to locate the areas in which he served.

ESO gave the first performance of a newly commissioned piece by the locally born composer in July 2015 followed by the first live concert performance of ‘Voices of Remembrance’ in Exeter in November 2015.