Nigel has also been commissioned to write a new work in 2009 for John Hutchins and Eynsford Concert Band based around a bronze sculpture by Sarah Cunnington entitled `Hope’ found in West Malling, Kent. His new composition is entitled `What Hope Saw’ (Heritage Suite). To go with this work is a specially written poem by Martin Westlake also entitled `What Hope Saw’.
The premiere performance will take place in the Tithe Barn, the Pilsdon at Malling Community in the town of West Malling, Kent (South-East England) on 10 October 2009, given by Eynsford Concert Band under the baton of John Hutchins.
Historians often focus on the big events that shape our world rather than the fabric of day-to-day life that makes up our shared heritage. It was suggested by Eynsford Concert Band that I should write a work inspired by the bronze sculpture by Sarah Cunnington entitled `Hope’, which is to be found on the Green in West Malling. The sculpture is in the shape of a woman running with a dove perched on her hand. The woman’s cloak billows out behind her and contains eight panels describing the town’s local history over the centuries.
The eight images on the panels are the following: 1. The sculpture ‘Hope’ depicted as another meeting point for today’s thriving community in West Malling, 2. West Malling Airfield and its Second World War Mosquito squadrons, 3. Hop gardens and local agriculture, 4. The first recorded game of cricket, which took place in West Malling in 1704, 5. West Malling’s long history as a market town, 6. Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion crushed by Mary Tudor in West Malling in 1554, 7. The Black Death (1348-49) when only 15 local town residents survived, 8. The founding of a community of Benedictine Nuns in 1090.
`What Hope Saw’ is a six-movement work that focuses on all eight subjects. To give the Suite a sense of unity, musical ideas from previous movements reappear in unexpected places implying that history often repeats itself! I have also hinted at a number of familiar pieces of music.