First World War poetry set to music at Reading Concert Hall

Published: 20 Mar 2014 07:300 comments

THE classic verses of a First World War poem will be sung by a Reading choir to commemorate the centenary of the conflict.

Three of Wilfred Owen’s poems have been adapted for stage by the Reading A440 Choir’s conductor, Stephen Tyler, to celebrate the poet’s connection to the borough and the 100th anniversary of the war’s outbreak.

It is the first time the three poems – Anthem to Doomed Youth, Futility and The Next War – have been performed to music and the event will take place as part of the The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace concert at the Reading Concert Hall on Saturday, April 5.

The poet lived in the Vicarage at Dunsden, near Caversham, from 1911 to 1913 where he worked as a lay assistant, but his stay ended with a physical and emotional collapse and he returned to Shrewsbury before the war broke out.

Mr Tyler said: “Owen’s poetry shines a bright light on how the context of a war fought in trenches and with chemical weapons, pushed at the limits of humanity.

“He is writing about the experience of the people in those trenches in a way that lets you directly into their thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears, and frustrations, and in that I find a sense of connection and contemporary relevance to the act of remembering the

Great War.”

The South Chiltern Choral Society, Reading Festival Chorus and Tamesis Choirs will also be performing at the concert which begins at 7.30pm. Tickets are £16, call Nicola Woodman on 0118 989 1606 or visit www.south chilternchoralsociety.org.uk

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