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Jazz Composition Competition – In commemoration of the end of WW1

 Jazz Composition Competition – In commemoration of the end of WW1
Summary:Jazz competition
Deadline: 15 June 2018
Date Posted: 01 March 2018
Details: For 16-18 year olds living or attending school/college in Hampshire

‘2018 – commemorating the centenary of the end of WW1’

This project provides a fantastic opportunity for young composers aged 16 – 19 to compose a piece of music inspired by one of the most memorable images of WW1. Compositions should be between 3 – 6 minutes long and be created in a jazz idiom for any combination of instruments, up to a maximum of 6.

A score and demo recording (which can be computer generated) needs to be submitted by 15 June 2018 to a panel of experts and there will be a cash prize for the selected composition plus the opportunity to hear your piece performed live at a venue in Winchester*

Do you remember 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red ' the installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London in 2014. It was inspired by the first line of a poem by an unknown WW1 soldier and was viewed by over 50,000 people.

This competition invites you is to respond musically not to a poem but to a painting. 'We are Making a New World' (Imperial War Museum ART 1146) is one of the most memorable images of WW1 - it was painted from sketches made at the front by a young and newly married war artist called Paul Nash. You are invited to create a piece of jazz music inspired by this painting &/ the words from the letter to his wife, which could be used as a narrative or vocal line to add drama to your work.

You can use any combination of instruments but please be aware that a public performance can only be given if an appropriate ensemble of players is available. Compositions should be between 3 – 6 minutes long.

Your Inspiration (painting and letter):
We are Making a New World, Paul Nash

Imperial War Museum link to the painting

Many of Nash's fellow officers had been slaughtered on the infamous Hill 60. He was at Passchendaele which saw the first use of mustard gas by the enemy and was witness to the total brutality of war. The title 'We are Making a New World' mocks the ambitions of the war and what might be described now as the 'fake news' that was presented to the public .He set out to show 'the bitter truth ' as he saw it. The painting shows a desolate landscape studded with potholes from shells and shattered trees, devoid of men, animals, weapons or action…

16 November 1917 Nash writes an impassioned letter to his wife which explains his motivation for the painting……..

'I have seen the most frightful nightmare of a country more by Dante or Poe than by nature, unspeakable, utterly indescribable. In the fifteen drawings I have made I may give you some vague ideas of the horror, but only being in it can ever make you sensible of its dreadful nature and what our men in France have to face.

We all have a vague notion of the terrors of battle....but no pen or drawing can convey this country- the normal settings of the battles taking place day and night, month after month. Evil and the incarnate fiend alone can be master of this war, and no glimmer of God's hand is seen anywhere. Sunset and sunrise are blasphemous, they are mockeries to man, only the black rain out of the bruised and swollen clouds all through the bitter black of night is fit atmosphere in such a land. The rain drives on, the stinking mud becomes more evilly yellow, the shell holes fill up with green-white water, the roads and tracks are covered in inches of slime, the black dying trees ooze and sweat and the shells never cease. They alone plunge overhead, tearing away the rotten tree stumps, breaking the plank roads, striking down horses and mules, annihilating, maiming, maddening, they plunge into the grave which is this land; one huge grave and cast up on it the poor dead.

It is unspeakable, godless, hopeless.

I am no longer an artist interested and curious, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on forever. Feeble, inarticulate, will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.'

Ref Paul Nash to Margaret Nash 16 November 1917 ' Outline' pp210-11, (Nash's autobiography)

Any queries, please contact