Hull Philharmonic Orchestra recreates a century ago with the John Godber family

Hull Philharmonic Orchestra recreates a century ago with the John Godber family

The words and music of the Great War will come back to life in a major event at the end of November featuring Hull Philharmonic Orchestra with leading playwright John Godber and family members.

At the heart of a Hull City Hall programme being supported by three arts organisations will be much loved contemporary works of Vaughan Williams and George Butterworth. 

Entitled 1914: Preludes and Premonition, it will include Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending, voted Britain’s most popular piece of classical music in this year’s Classic FM poll.

John Godber with his wife Jane and younger daughter Martha, who are both actors, will set the scene on November 29 with readings from letters home written by local soldiers to their families, and from military and political reports of the time, that will continue throughout the evening.

A big screen above the orchestra will show images from the war years and there will be recruiting songs during the interval. Military historian David Bilton, from Hull, will sign copies of his books in the Images of War series, including the story of the Hull Pals regiment.

“Some of the most beautiful English music of all was written in the years leading up to the tragedy of war and the concert promises a most unusual musical and visual experience,” said Hull Philharmonic musical director Andrew Penny, who has devised the award-winning format.

Violinist David Routledge, born in the East Riding and a member of Manchester Camerata and the Northern Chamber Orchestra, will be soloist for The Lark Ascending.

Hull-born baritone Domnhall Talbot will sing Butterworth’s The Loveliest of Trees as a prelude to the composer’s orchestral rhapsody, A Shropshire Lad.

The orchestra will also play the original 2013 version of Williams’s London Symphony, which he dedicated to Butterworth for his encouragement and as an in memoriam. The two composers were great friends who regularly toured Edwardian England collecting folk songs.

But Butterworth, aged only 31 and already decorated, was killed by a sniper’s bullet on the Somme in 1916. An officer wrote to his family: ‘A brilliant musician in times of peace, and an equally brilliant soldier in times of stress.’

The concert, which has gained public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and also support from the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, amongst others, is the first of a series of three reflecting the state of music at crucial times in the First World War. The succeeding concerts will take place in 2016 and 2018.

The concert is at Hull City Hall on Saturday, November 29 starting at 7pm. Advance tickets costing from £7 to £25 (concessions apply) are available from the box office on 01482 300300 or online at Tickets are also available on the door on the night of the concert.


Image caption:
Trumpet player Rob Morley playing The Last Post, with John and Jane Godber, and the orchestra’s musical director Andrew Penny, taken at Holy Trinity Church in Hull, next to Martin Waters’ ‘Poppy Installation’.

Posted on 28th Nov 2014 12:37:07 by

Tags: John Godber family.