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Pro Patria was commissioned by Christchurch City Choir, Music Director Andrew Withington, with funding from NZ Lottery Grants Board for performance with Addington Brass at a World War I commemoration concert, Wigram Airforce Museum, Nov 2015. The SATB and piano version prepared for a retrospective concert by the Jubilate Singers of choral music by Philip Norman's 30 Oct 2022. The following was part of the programme note for the original brass band and choir version:
“I never knew my paternal grandfather. He fought in the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in human history, with over 1.2 million people killed or wounded. He survived, but only because the bullet that hit him passed cleanly through his abdomen. Even so, the wound was sufficiently severe for him to spend a year in army hospitals before discharge. It never stopped troubling him, and ultimately shortened his life.
He was wounded at Pozières Ridge, 23 July 1916, possibly the scene described by poet Mary Borden in ‘Where is Jehovah?’, for the fighting there was of biblical proportions. A memorial at the village of Pozières describes the carnage wreaked as “a reminder not only of courage and a commitment to duty but also of the wanton waste of life and the futility of war”.
Commissioned by Christchurch City Choir, Music Director Andrew Withington, with funding from NZ Lottery Grants Board
- No-one cares less than I (text: Edward Thomas)
- The Empire Calls (text: Robert Pope)
- Suicide in the Trenches (text: Siegfried Sassoon)
- Winter Warfare (text: Edgell Rickword)
- Where is Jehovah? (text: Mary Borden)
- The Messages (text: Wilfred Gibson)
- All Clear! (text John Oxenham)
- Paris, November 11, 1918 (text: May Canaan)
15 Nov 2015: Performed by Christchurch City Choir, Addington Brass, conducted by Andrew Withington at Airforce Museum of New Zealand, Wigram, Christchurch
11 Nov 2018: Performed by Christchurch City Choir and Woolston Brass conducted by Tyme Marsters at Airforce Museum of New Zealand, Wigram, Christchurch
30 Oct 2022: Wit & Wisdom the music of Philip Norman | Concert and book launch