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Some Corner of a Foreign Field

Some Corner of a Foreign Field

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Poetry and Music of the Great War 1914-1918

The horrors of the Great War produced some of the finest British poetry of the century. Poignant readings are combined with music of great power in a moving album, full of humour, irony, and terror in equal measure.

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Some Corner of a Foreign Field
Poetry and Music of the Great War

Read by Margaret Howard
With Bernard Palmer and Martin Souter

The horrors of the Great War of 1914-1918 produced some of the finest British poetry of the century. These poignant texts have been combined with music of equal power and emotion in a moving album, which mixes humour, irony, and terror in equal measure.

1 Song: We don't want to lose you Helen Clarke
2 The Volunteer Robert Service
3 The Spirit Woodbine Willy

4 Song: If you were the only girl in the world Violet Lorraine & George Robey
5 If you were the only Bosch in the trench
6 Breakfast Wilfrid Gibson
7 The Last Laugh Wilfred Owen
8 Assault - God this is fun Erno Mueller
9 Song: Oh! It's a lovely war Courtland & Jeffries

10 The rear guard Siegfried Sassoon
11 'One night at Cuinchy' Robert Graves
From 'Goodbye to all that'
12 Song: A Mademoiselle from Armentiers Jack Charman
13 OBE AA Milne
Music: Pomp & Circumstance March No1 Edward Elgar
14 Rouen May Cannan
15 Song: Keep the home fires burning John McCormack

16 Futility Wilfred Owen
17 From France Isaac Rosenberg
Music: Serenade for Strings Edward Elgar
18 As the team's head brass Edward Thomas
19 Easter Monday Eleanor Farjeon
20 Song: Roses are shining in Picardy Ernest Pike
21 For Some May Cannan
22 Flanders Fields John Macrae
23 Song: There's a long, long trail a-winding John McCormack

24 The Soldier Rupert Brooke
25 The Fallen Laurence Binyon
Music: Nimrod Edward Elgar

26 Every One Sang Siegfried Sassoon
27 From a full heart AA Milne
28 The Armistice May Cannan
Music: Adagio from Clarinet Concerto Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
29 Recessional Rudyard Kipling
30 High Wood Philip Johnstone

Published by Classical Communications Ltd
P & C 2004 Classical Communications Ltd
Image: Poppy Meadow in a Private Garden in Oxfordshire/Clive Nichols Garden Pictures
Made in Great Britain

The Great War produced some fine poetry, full of nobility and grandeur. It also produced some terrible songs! But these songs, and the ironic poetry behind them, add an extra layer to our understanding of the horror of the trenches, and the emotional and physical consequences for the people involved either on the front line, or at home in England, or adrift in another part of Europe. Our programme tells its own story of the war, from the resigned enthusiasm of setting out to fight, through the action, and the friends, lovers and family who were lost, to the terrible, terrible emptiness of its aftermath, which, despite the peace, was not a comfortable time in which to live. We have used music with the words of the First World War poets. Sometimes the music is even more poignant than any words could be. In other places in the programme it provides (almost) light relief, and certainly a moment for reflection. The poetry represents the whole gamut of written styles, from noble to angry, from sophistication to simplicity. And the music follows a similar pattern. Some of it comes straight from the music hall - or from deep inside some god-forsaken trench - while some of it represents the finest art music ever composed. From Wilfred Owen to Woodbine Willy, from Ernest Pike to Wolfgang Amadeus himself, we have assembled a complete view of the sublime - and the ridiculous.

The programme was originated by Bernard Palmer, and features one of his personal favourite poets, Edward Thomas. 'As the team's head brass' (track 18) by Thomas is one of those special poems which really does cross the thin divide between humour and horror which is a particular feature of the programme. We hope that you will appreciate its poignancy as much as we do.

Martin Souter, executive producer
Bernard Palmer, programme originator

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