Behind the scenes at Classic FM Live: The Great War Symphony

9 October 2018, 18:08 | Updated: 11 October 2018, 11:55

Get a sneak-peek behind the scenes of a very special Classic FM Live with Viking Cruises, featuring the premiere of a major new work from Patrick Hawes.

Tonight at the Royal Albert Hall, we’re hosting the world premiere performance of what promises to be an unforgettable new piece: The Great War Symphony.

The piece, written by former Classic FM Composer in Residence Patrick Hawes, marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

Here’s what’s been going on backstage at the Royal Albert Hall…

The Great War Symphony will be performed tonight by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a massed choir of singers – including the Invictus Games Choir, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and the Berkshire Youth Choir.

In total, nearly 300 performers will be on stage, including many young musicians.

“We wanted it to be an inclusive project,” Patrick Hawes told Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor. “It was important to me that we involved young people, because we want young people to remember the First World War, as it goes further and further into the distance.”

The spectacular concert will also include performances from the State Trumpeters and Band of the Household Cavalry, the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force, and the Corps Drums and Bugles of the Royal Marines.

This very special Classic FM Live will be held in aid of SSAFA, the armed forces charity supporting military families.

We spoke to soprano Louise Alder, who will be performing the symphony tonight with tenor Joshua Ellicott.

She said: “There’s certainly a sense of history. I think when you step on the stage and you look out at this huge auditorium, it’s so beautiful – our view is so beautiful. You can imagine all the people who’ve been there before.

“It’s good to rehearse and rehearse and rehearse and cry it out early on and then later you can remember the feeling, but not delve so much in. Because then the emotion hopefully will come out stronger to the audience, and it won’t be stuck inhibiting you.”

We also had a quick chat with violinist Clio Gould, leader of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who is playing a violin that was played by a soldier at the Somme.

She even played a bit of Vaughan Williams on it for us…

Classic FM presenters John Suchet and Margherita Taylor will also introduce a range of other orchestral and choral music, including Parry’s I Was Glad, Elgar’s 'Nimrod' from the Enigma Variations, and favourites by Holst and Vaughan Williams.

Hear Classic FM Live: The Great War Symphony on the Full Works Concert at 8pm tomorrow – listen live here.

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