Houston Chamber Choir presents "Farewell to Arms"
The Houston Chamber Choir's program "Farewell to Arms" will include chansons by Maurice Ravel that the composer wrote between 1914 and 1915 while waiting to enlist in the French Army, as well as the Houston premiere of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's A Farewell to Arms for chorus and cello, a beautiful setting of the 15th- and 16th-century poetic meditations on post-war life as a veteran by George Peele and Ralph Knevet.
Also on the program is music from Francis Poulenc's masterful 1943 a cappella cantata Figure uHumaine and C. Hubert H. Parry's Songs of Farewell, which soulfully expresses the despair that overtook the composer at the end of his life as a result of The Great War.
Continuing with the concert's theme of remembrance, the choir will also perform excerpts of Karl Jenkins' mass for peace The Armed Man, and Canadian composer Stephen Chatman's setting for male voices of John McCrae's iconic war poem In Flanders Fields, a poem that has become an international symbol for remembrance of fallen soldiers. The choir's program will also include popular music that was sung both at home and by men stationed at The Front.
Uniting the program's subject with setting, Christ Church Cathedral has a special World War I memorial on the south window, opposite the altar. The window depicts the crucifix with a number of figures at the foot of the cross, four of which are in uniforms worn by various branches of the military during The Great War, with flowers spread out below. Among the flowers are red poppies- those referenced in John McCrae's In Flanders Fields. At the base of the window is a wooden screen engraved with the names of those members of Christ Church who served in World War I.