Sospiri commission ten new choral works
for the centenary of World War I

We are delighted to announce that Sospiri have commissioned a collection of new choral settings of texts from World War I, with some of today’s finest composers on board: Richard Allain, David Bednall, John Duggan, Frank Ferko, Gabriel Jackson, David Lang, Alex L’Estrange, Matthew Martin, Cecilia McDowall and Francis Pott. A recording of these new works will take place in the summer of 2013, with a CD launch and concerts the following year to coincide with the commemoration of the outbreak of war in August 1914. The choir have approached the brilliant young ensemble, The Fournier Trio, to collaborate on this project, opening up a whole new sound world for exploration.

There are surprisingly few choral settings of the war poets, so this new collection of pieces will address this and add significantly to the repertoire. The composers are currently looking at texts – in English, French and German – encompassing contemporary letters, journals, essays and other prose alongside poetical texts.

Composer and co-founder of the choir, John Duggan, says:

The Great War shaped the course of the twentieth century in ways which, even today, are hard to comprehend. Being now some distance from the conflict gives us an opportunity to reflect, but there is the danger, too, of neglect. We hope that the music we create will be a fitting way to remember – through the many different voices of those who lived amidst the war. As the author, Pat Barker, said: ‘The Somme is like the Holocaust: it revealed things we cannot come to terms with and cannot forget. It never becomes the past.’

Any project like this is expensive, and we are looking to raise £25000 to pay for these commissions. We are approaching trust funds and individual donors, but everyone can help. We have set up a PayPal account, and for just £7 you can buy a second of one of these commissions. If everyone who visits our site donates two or three seconds of music we will be able to raise our total, and this wonderful project will succeed. Please give what you can … and stay in touch.

All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true poet must be truthful

Wilfred Owen