The composer writes: Between 1914 and 1918, an astonishing amount of poetry was written about “The Great War” – the largest and bloodiest conflict the world had yet seen. This body of poetry is diverse in the extreme: including both works of pro-war patriotism and glorification, and anti-war poems about the horrors and futility of the conflict. Laurence Binyon was too old to enlist in the British Army, but he served as an orderly in field hospitals in France. Excerpts from his poem “For the Fallen” are often presented under the title “Ode To Remembrance.” Here, I have chosen the second, third and sixth stanzas. This piece is also the fifth movement of my Five Poems From the Great War (2018). TEXT 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. 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.