The Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra under the baton of Mark Heron has just recorded `Fields of Remembrance´ on the Polyphonic label. Other composers featured on the disc are Martin Ellerby, Kit Turnbull, Bruce Fraser, Rob Wiffen and Peter Meechan.
`Fields of Remembrance´ was originally dedicated to Major Barry Wassell and the members of the Band of the Grenadier Guards in support of the Colonel’s Fund, Grenadier Guards. The premiere was given in a private performance to the patron of the Colonel’s fund, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT.
The Colonel’s Fund was created at the end of 2007 to help the families of those killed and wounded in action by promptly responding to problems of bereavement and hardship and to supplement existing charitable funds. In their recent tour of duty in Afghanistan the Grenadier Guards suffered 5 fatalities, with 32 guardsmen seriously injured. Last year `Fields of Remembrance´ was toured by the band throughout England to raise money for the the Colonel’s fund.
I composed `Fields of Remembrance´ as a symphonic portrait in honour of the Grenadier Guards’ great history. Though my work is, in the main, optimistic, the central section portrays in music the recent military operations undertaken by the Regiment. I have based `Fields of Remembrance´ on one of the most important pieces of music associated with the Grenadier Guards, the regimental slow march `The Grenadier’s Return´, which is performed at memorial and funeral services of Grenadier Guardsmen. It is also performed when the regiment returns to camp or quarters after tours of duty. `The Grenadier’s Return´ is also played at ceremonial occasions such as the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham, Windsor or St James’ Palace and most famously by the brigade of Guards at the Queen’s Birthday parade `Trooping the Colour´.