Bob Chilcott: Move him into the sun


I’ve written a piece for the hundredth
anniversary of the death of Wilfred Owen, ‘Move Him into the Sun’. The
focus of the piece is his wonderful but rather terrifying poem ‘Futility’, which
has the line ‘move him into the sun’, which is about moving a soldier who’s dead basically, into the sun to see if it’ll
bring him back alive again because, you know, it brings plants back to life,
it brings life back again. So everything that I’ve chosen uses the idea
of nature and the sun being an idea of rebirth, of the inevitability of it,
the sun coming up every morning and lighting up the world and so
that’s really my perspective on that piece. The difficulty, of course,
when you set music to something by a poet like Wilfred Owen,
is the power of the words as spoken words. And you kind of read them and
think ‘do these words need music?’ You know, because they’re very, very visceral in
their sense of the spoken word and so that was a challenge from the point of
view of writing the music and whether I’ve succeeded or not, I don’t know, but I found them wonderful words to deal with; very difficult to respond to
musically. I was fearful for this piece but I think I made something of it. It has two choirs in it. It has a main adult choir and it also has a
youth choir, an upper voice choir. And I think the idea of young voices is a very
important one and for me, you’re associated in this piece,
the young voices are associated with light and the sun.

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