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The World War I Sanctuary is a public space, but also a very personal one for the many people who have their family name inscribed on the walls. The dignity of the space, the sense of light which streams through the skylight and windows, contrasting with the sombre nature of the lists of names that surround you, all suggested to Chris Adams an orchestral piece.
In Echoed Memorie he draws on several musical pieces that would have been significant to the soldiers; The Last Post, the popular tune It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, and I Runga o Nga Puke, written by Paraire Tomoana and used to farewell the Second Maori Contingent in 1915.
At the same time he was conscious of the fact that his own life has been much distanced from the experience of war. “I wanted to write something that did not try to diminish or trivialise the experience of those who have gone through the pain of war,” he says. “I wanted to create a piece that, drawing on aural fragments of our collective past, might allow us to reflect and contemplate what the World War I Sanctuary actually means.”
Recording available from the Sonic Museum
Written for the World War I Sanctuary at the Auckland War Memorial Museum as part of the Auckland Philharmonia Composer in Residence 2009
18 May 2014: Canterbury Philharmonia | 2014, Concert 1