Archive for November, 2014

Behind the Lines Scunthorpe November 2014

Posted: November 18, 2014 by westminstermusiclibrary in Uncategorized


During the poignant centenary month of November the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and Westminster Music Library have been extremely lucky to take Behind the Lines up to North Lincolnshire to work alongside young musicians from the Scunthorpe Music Centre to create a brand new piece of music to commemorate the Great War.

Thirty young players from the Music Centre and their music tutors joined musicians from the RPO for two days of intensive workshops led by RPO Workshop Leader Detta Danford. The group took inspiration from Ravel’s work Frontispiece and created new melodies to intertwine with this iconic folk tune.

The young musicians explored new and unusual ways of playing their instruments, with the brass section turning their mouthpieces the wrong way round and blowing into their instruments to create sounds like a steam powered machine and the bassoons slapping their tongues on their reeds to sound like distant gunfire.

Not only did the ensemble get to create their own piece, they then got to play it to a sold out audience side-by-side with the 70 piece RPO at their concert at the Baths Hall on 13th November.

One young participant said ‘I think my favourite part was putting my ideas forward and hearing them being made into a real piece; it’s such a great feeling.’


October Last Post Event (13)Local Westminster residents ably supported by South Westminster and Church Street Community Choirs, joined Music Library staff in singing a variety of popular WW1 songs. This was followed by a moving recitation of Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the fallen” by Senior Library Assistant Andrew Chew, and a performance of “The Last Post” played brilliantly by our Saturday Assistant Jon Frank:

October Last Post Event (8)

This was one of 230 nationwide Last Post events paying a musical tribute to those impacted by The First World War, designed and run by arts organisation Superact with support from the Department for Communities and Local Government.  The Last Post project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to roll out the project in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2014. The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure is also supporting the project in NI.

Behind the Lines went intercontinental recently, bringing young people from London Borough of Brent together with secondary pupils from Ottawa, Canada, for an exciting WWI-themed concert at the Royal College of Music streamed live over the internet.

In October, participants from Brent Youth Concert Band worked with RPO workshop leader Tim Steiner to explore the themes of Behind the Lines and devise their own exciting piece in response entitled Moose not Mice.

poppyAcross the pond, students from Colonel By Secondary School worked in parallel on their own creative composition, using the Behind the Lines Elgar Resource Pack, with composer Abigail Richardson to create a programmatic piece about a WWI soldier’s journey through the war and beyond.

Dame Evelyn Glennie also joined the fun, performing a new piece for two snare drums written by RCM composition student, Bertram Wee, alongside RCM percussionist, Stefan Beckett.

Watch the performance online here.

This project was carried out in support of Ottawa’s National Art Centre Orchestra’s tour of the UK following the footsteps of Canadian soldiers in WWI.