They Shall Grow Not Old (2014)
For this work I used just the verse that features prominently in Remembrance services. I wanted the piece to be gentle, almost as if the person was humming or quietly singing it under their breath. All voices rise and swell on ‘and in the morning,’ returning to the gentle ebb and flow of memories through the years.
I was honoured that Christ Church, Cheltenham, opened their Remembrance Day service on Sunday 9 November 2014 with my anthem and it has been performed on a few occasions since, most recently on Sunday 10 July 2016 at Woodchester Priory by The Thames Head Singers.
'It will, of course, accompany me to Flanders next Sunday, the 27th (the centenary date his death) and, with the aid of the trench map, I shall endeavour to get as close the approximate where he fell. As I write, I am not entirely sure what feelings and sentiments I shall experience as I gaze across The Steenbeek - though, undoubtedly, there will be spiritual element to the occasion. But I do know that I shall be paying homage to Ralph - and the musical score will add a significant poignancy to the visit.'
Peter Reynolds, Ralph's grand-son, 21 August 2017
1 September 2017: I have received an email from Peter: We have recently returned from Leper (Ypres) having marked the centenary of Ralph's death on The Steenbeek. I spent the entire day, 27th August, cycling across the area and I made full use of the trench map that you kindly forwarded and, although it was produced more than a century ago, the features on the map were largely still faithful to those on the present day landscape, especially the roads, tracks, military landmarks, etc. Your score accompanied my visit, and I deliberately waited for a 'special moment' gazing across the landscape of The Steenbeek before playing it. Thank you, Michael, for contributing to the occasion! (Peter Reynolds)
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Click on the film clip below to hear the music.