On November 11th, Alexander Shelley will conduct the German Youth Orchestra (Bundesjugendorchester, BJO) in the world premiere of The World Remembers, a song cycle commemorating the First World War. It is a co-commission by the NAC and The World Remembers, led by famed Canadian actor, R.H. Thomson. With this concert, it is Shelley’s hope for the music to have a voice in encouraging an understanding of the history of others, with a promise for the future.
Alexander Shelley and the BJO will be joined onstage by members of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, OrKidstra and combined local youth choirs from De La Salle and Canterbury High Schools, and the Calixa-Lavallée Chamber Choir from the University of Ottawa.
The song cycle is comprised of “Song of Poets” (composer Abigail Richardson); “Song of the Mothers” (composer Meiro Stamm) and the “Song of the Soldiers” (composer Jeffrey Ryan), each set to the words of war poets, mothers, soldiers and citizens from many of the WWI nations, reflecting the experience of multiple nations. The Songs share in music and in text, the voices of those who lived the immensity of WWI, the first global conflict, and underscore the reality that even from opposing sides, peoples’ experiences were often similar. The purpose of the Songs is to acknowledge the generation who lived through the war as well as commemorate those who were killed.
Other works on the program include “To Young Canadians” by James Wright, with text written by Jack Layton (from his last letter to Canadians), and “Udo Shalom” by Christine Donkin, with the text consisting of the word “peace” in 30 spoken languages and five sign languages.
The free concert follows the National Ceremony of Remembrance at the National War Memorial.
This concert is dedicated to the memory of Col. J. Ewart Osborne, D.S.O. and Col. Henry Campbell Osborne, C.M.G., C.B.E.
The NAC wishes to thank Sarah Jennings and Ian Johns for their generous support of this performance.