Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Duncan Rock to be featured at Petworth Festival in WW I program

Duncan Rock
Australian barihunk Duncan Rock will be featured at this year's Petworth Festival in the U.K., performing music related to WWI.  The centerpiece of the concert will be George Butterworth's setting of A.E. Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad, which comprise eleven settings from the original sixty-three poems. The concert also includes music by Gerald Finzi and Ned Rorem. Tickets are available online.

Butterworth was killed in the Battle of the Somme and was posthumously awarded the Military Cross. His brigade commander, Brigadier General Page Croft, only learned after Butterworth's death that he was one of England's most promising young composers. Butterworth's body was never recovered and his name appears on the Thiepval Memorial, honoring the 72,246 British and South African soldiers missing in action during WWI.

John Brancy sings Butterworth's "The lads in their hundreds":

Petworth was also impacted by war, having suffered a horrible tragedy in World War II a generation later.  On September 29, 1942, a lone German Heinkel 111, approaching from the south over Hoes Farm, aimed three bombs at Petworth House, the stately 17th century home of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset. The bombs missed the house, but one bounced off a tree and landed on the Petworth Boys' School killing 28 boys, the headmaster and an assistant teacher.

American barihunk John Brancy also has toured with a popular program of WWI songs with pianist Peter Dugan. The recital. "A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song," is also available on CD.

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