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Great War: Unknown WarNews and Events

Remembrance Day Weekend Event

15 - 16 November 2014
Turner Sims Highfield Campus University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this event, please email Tracy Storey at .

Event details

The world premiere of Remembrance Day, a new work by world-renowned composer and University of Southampton Professor, Michael Finnissy, forms part of a weekend of activities, including composition workshops, as well as round-table and pre-performance discussions.

One of a series of events being held by the University of Southampton to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.  The performance concludes a week of music commemorating the war and is part of Turner Sims 40th anniversary season.

Weekend Schedule

Saturday 15 November


Composition Workshop

Exaudi perform and dissect new music by University of Southampton composition students


Round table

Michael Finnissy, Exaudi director James Weeks and conductor Ben Oliver discuss their preparation of Remembrance Day and compare the premiere chamber performance from Maastrict in September with this weekends world premiere.



A chance to hear an exclusive pre-performance run-though of this new composition.

Sunday 16 November


Pre-Performance Talk: Remembering Simpson

John Birtwhistle explores the life and writings of Henry Lamont Simpson, the poet killed in the First World War whose words Michael Finnissy has set for his Remembrance Day.

John was Creative Writing Fellow at the University of Southampton before being a lecturer in English at the University of York. His libretti include The Plumber’s Gift, set by David Blake and performed by English National Opera. His latest book of poems is Eventualities (Anvil Press, 2013).

19:30-20:45 World Premiere Performance

Remembrance Day draws on the poetry and prose of Henry Lamont Simpson, whose work was published posthumously.  He was an officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers, and was injured in Belgium in 1917.  Returning to The Front in 1918, he was killed by a sniper while reconnoitring No Man’s Land.  He was just 21 years old.

Michael Finnissy’s piece receives its world premiere at the University’s concert venue Turner Sims on 16 November 2014, performed by the University’s Hartley Singers and Sinfonia, along with members of two renowned new music groups, the London Sinfonietta and Exaudi.  This three-way collaboration is unprecedented.  Finnissy himself will play the solo piano part, and Southampton composition lecturer Benjamin Oliver will conduct.  Henry Lamont Simpson’s great nephew, a Southampton alumnus, will be in the audience as a special guest.
Remembrance Day sets Henry Lamont Simpson’s poetry to music for solo baritone, juxtaposed with choral commentary on the themes of war and remembrance. In Part I, the choir sing about Mankind’s thirst for trouble and war, with text from the Prologue to Goethe’s drama Faust; in Part II, they sing even older texts, about martyrdom, by the medieval poet Peter Abelard.  The piece frequently references the music of the 1910s and draws on research of Southampton postgraduate musicology students.

Please note all aspects of this weekend are free of charge except the performance on Sunday 16 November at 19:30, to purchase tickets for the performance please visit the Turner Sims website.

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