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In Flanders

First line:
I'm homesick for my hills again
orchestrated 1917
author of text

With the coming of the war, the Royal College of Music – as other institutions – emptied of many of its students as they volunteered for active service. Hubert Parry, the director of the college, worried greatly for his students, and felt any losses very deeply. He tried, unsuccessfully, to dissuade Vaughan Williams from volunteering; and in April 1917 he wrote to Howells, ‘Gurney’s case I feel to be quite a special martyrdom. His mind is so full of thoughts and feelings far removed from crude barbarities that it seems almost monstrous. But war is monstrous and we have to take it as far as we can from the collective point of view.’

It was only whilst serving in France that Gurney began to write poetry in earnest, serving his apprenticeship in the trenches and behind the lines. It was more difficult to write music, but he did compose a handful of songs. Amongst these, In Flanders—a setting of a poem by his boyhood friend Will Harvey—is an expression of homesickness, composed in January 1917. Both In Flanders and By a bierside were orchestrated by Howells at the behest of Sir Charles Stanford, for performance at the Royal College of Music.

from notes by Philip Lancaster © 2018


A walk with Ivor Gurney
Studio Master: SIGCD557Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
English Orchestral Songs
CDA67065Archive Service


Track 12 on CDA67065 [3'01] Archive Service
Track 1 on SIGCD557 CD2 [3'15] Download only

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