Ealing Symphony Orchestra - Battle of The Somme

Ealing composer and ESO unite for historical film

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Ealing Symphony Orchestra

Laura Rossi

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A composer from Ealing who was commissioned to write a score for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of The Somme will hear Ealing Symphony Orchestra play it live.

10 March 2012: Ealing Symphony Orchestra – St Martin’s Church, London W3 Conducted by John Gibbons

The Battle of the Somme remains one of the most successful British films ever made. It is estimated over 20 million tickets were sold in Great Britain in the first two months of release, and the film was distributed world-wide to demonstrate to allies and neutrals Britain’s commitment to the First World War. It is the source of many of that conflict’s most iconic images.

It was made by British official cinematographers Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell. Though it was not intended as a feature film, once the volume and quality of their footage had been seen in London, the British Topical Committee for War Films decided to compile a feature-length film.

Laura Rossi’s new score was commissioned in 2006 to mark the 90th anniversary of The Battle of the Somme as a soundtrack for the newly-released digitally restored film.

When embarking on her research on the film and the battle in preparation for her composition, Laura discovered her great uncle, Fred Ainge, (whom she knew as he survived the war) was a stretcher-bearer attached to the 29th Division on 1 July 1916.

In preparation for composing the new score she visited the Somme Battlefields, using Fred’s diaries to locate the areas in which he served. The re-mastered film was screened for the 90th anniversary of the Battle to a full house at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with the premiere of Laura's orchestral score, performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and received a glowing 5 star review in The Times.

This will be the West London showing of the national tour under the auspices of the Imperial War Museum, who  commissioned the music,   

Its first performance by the Philharmonia in a sold-out Queen Elizabeth Hall and received a five-star review in The Times, and the tour performances have been selling out too.

The film has been marvellously restored by the War Museum. It would originally have been accompanied by flag-waving patriotic tunes, but Laura's fine, often understated score brings the pictures to life in a way much more appropriate to present-day feelings about these tragic
events. Before the performance there will be an illustrated talk by Laura herself and Dr Toby Haggith of the Imperial War Museum, when questions can be asked. There will then be a short break before the film, which runs for 75 minutes.

Read more here
Order tickets here
Tickets will cost £15, with the usual concessions at £12, and under-25s and other full-time students
at £5.

   There's more about it on Laura's website at  www.laurarossi.com .

The CD is available to purchase from www.virtuosarecords.co.uk and the CD booklet includes extracts from Laura’s great uncle Fred’s diaries including the first days of the Somme battle from July 1st 1916.

To buy the DVD of The Battle of the Somme with Laura Rossi’s new score please go to www.iwmshop.org.uk

26th February 2012