Whether it be a breakdown of diplomacy or simple aggression, war is a period of conflict wherein opposing sides fight for superiority until one party is broken and the other claims victory.
WAR starts at that point where war is declared. No melody, just an explosion followed by the shock of silence.
Soon, the chattering classes begin to argue the pros and cons but louder voices silence them up and reiterate that war is inevitable. A voice of reason (Solo Cornet) softly but with some authority, explains the cause. A dissident voice (Solo Oboe) begs to be heard but dies away.
And so, the opposing forces mobilise and the battle begins. Eventually, one side builds to the inevitable “coup de grace” - the final blow. All that is left is exhaustion, desolation, the realisation of the futility - and one final death.
To appease the conscious of the living, the dead need to be honoured and so they are paraded in a cortège building from grief to glory, before a mother cries out in despair and all goes quiet as she questions “why?” to which there is no answer. Her voice is quietly pacified and all that is left are the mother’s tears.
But the victor must be seen to be victorious and parade their superiority for all to see.
Suddenly they are halted by those louder voices yet again and the implication to the mother’s question of “why?” is once again reiterated by the voice of reason but this time the dissident voice is no longer heard.
With the dissident voice silenced forever, the superior force can revel in its glory and so the victory parade continues to the end.
WAR was written as a test piece for the Band of H.M. Life Guards. Director of Music – Captain Kevin Davies
Tone Poem for Symphonic Band
Robert Alan ELY
Grade : 3+
Duration : 11:40
Reference : EMP - EC 005