In the Midst of Desolation - Full Score & Parts
The main source of inspiration for In the Midst of Desolation arose primarily from famous 20th century English poet, Robert Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen. The poem was written in mid-September 1914, just after the outbreak of the First World War, and describes not only the psychological effect instilled in people, but its impact on all of England. In the Midst of Desolation strives to musically capture this fear and trepidation through its daunting and enigmatic beginning (portrayed by the low strings and winds), its violent and chaotic middle (represented by unison low strings/woodwinds playing chromatically furious lines that coincide with brass hits), and finally, its sacred and heavenly close, as all sections commence to play a chorale style melody leading to a brass fanfare. It is this fanfare that transcends all sorrow, anguish, and loss, knowing that “we will remember them” and that “to the end, they remain” in our spirit.
"With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, England mourns for her dead across the sea. Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, There is music in the midst of desolation And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young, Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound, Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night; As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, To the end, to the end, they remain.