Co-commissioned for the Centenary of World War One by the Northern Regional Brass Band Trust and Durham County Council, The Durham Hymns received its world premiere in Durham Cathedral during Durham Brass Festival 2016.
The lyrics and spoken word narration are written by Poet Lauriat Carol Ann Duffy, who drew inspiration from the personal letters, diaries and memoirs of the people of County Durham who experienced the war first-hand; now housed in the Durham County Record Office. Setting the words to music for brass band and choir, Orlando Gough and Jessica Curry each composed four of the hymns a piece.
Featured in this film of the premiere is The Soldiers Hymn and Kiss the Bairns composed by Jessica Curry and, Bear Me Up, composed by Orlando Gough.
Opening the performance is a piece written by young composer Jonathan Bates, entitled Prelude for George Butterworth. Butterworth was a composer of growing renown at the outbreak of World War One, who accepted a commission with the Durham Light Infantry as a Lieutenant. He was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme on 05 August 1916, aged 31.
The performance features a 100-piece community choir, plus members of the semi-professional chamber choir Voices of Hope, alongside a 60-piece brass band made up from members of the Durham Miners’ Association Brass Band, Bearpark & Esh Brass Band and Reg Vardy Band.
17 July 2020
Watch for free on Youtube, link coming soon.