Remembrance Day, The Battle of the Somme – Worthing Symphony Orchestra, cello Leonard Elschenbroich, conductor John Gibbons at Assembly Hall, Sunday November 11

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ARTISTIC director and conductor John Gibbons made Worthing Symphony Orchestra history and legend in a remarkable double fell swoop on Remembrance Sunday afternoon.

Not only did he join forces with a German cellist to produce a world class – yes, I did say it: world class – performance of a great and appropriately chosen concerto, the Elgar. He then threw aside the cushions of comfort and consolation to which regulation Remembrance Day music normally takes us.

How? By making us visually confront war in the raw. He staged the showing of the 79-minute Imperial War Museum silent film The Battle of The Somme, comprising digitally restored documentary footage shot around the front line, which half the British population saw on cinema screen across the nation in 1916. It was the first glimpse most non-service citizens had seen of killing fields in action and changed their view of the value of war.

 

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