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On Commemoration

Global Reflections upon Remembering War

Edited By Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro

How, in the twenty-first century, can we do commemoration better? In particular, how can commemoration contribute to post-war reconciliation and reconstruction? In this book, a global roster of distinguished writers, artists, musicians, religious leaders, military veterans and scholars debate these questions and ponder the future of commemoration. They include the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz, the award-winning novelists Aminatta Forna and Rachel Seiffert, and the human rights lawyer and Gifford Baillie Prize-winner Philippe Sands. Polemics and reflections together with poetry and creative prose movingly illuminate a subject that speaks to our common humanity.

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Music and Memory (Jonathan Dove with Kate Kennedy)

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jonathan dove with kate kennedy

The composer Jonathan Dove discusses the creative process of choosing musical forms for war commemoration with the broadcaster and academic Kate Kennedy (Figure 21).

kate kennedy: Your piece For an Unknown Soldier was commissioned by Portsmouth Grammar School, wasn’t it?1

jonathan dove: That’s right, yes. It’s an extraordinary school. They had been commissioning a new piece for Remembrance Day every year, I think for ten years, and in 2013 they wanted to do Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (1962) because it was his centenary, so for the following year (which was, of course, the centenary of the beginning of the First World War), they asked me to write a piece.2 That particular piece, that subject: it was significant to be writing for people who were of, or just below, an age at which 100 years previously they would have joined the army. You look at them and you think, ‘they are so young’. That, I think, makes the piece more vivid for the audience.



Figure 21. Jonathan Dove in conversation with Kate Kennedy (© John Cairns).

kate kennedy: And so the school did Britten’s War Requiem the year before. There must have been some connection between that and your piece for the pupils, since they learned the parts for the Britten one year and the following year learned your piece, which sets two First World ←249 | 250→War poems by Wilfred Owen. What kind...

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