Project information

A Foreign Field (Echoes 1914)

A joint anglo/german project with Chemnitz Oper to perform a new commission, a 45 minute choral work by German composer Torsten Rasch to explore the effect of war on those left behind. Two performances will take place; at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival in July 2014 and in Chemnitz in March 2015

July 2013 - March 2015

Charity information: The Three Choirs Festival Association Ltd

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  • Need


    With the centenary of the first world war in 1914, the first performance of our commission will remember both the men who died on both sides of the conflict and those in both communities left behind; it will acknowledge that war will always be with us and that we owe a debt of gratitude to those who fight on our behalf. Many references to war refer to waste and death. We wish to highlight the positive that can emerge from the horror.


    Chemnitz was obliterated by allied bombing in 1945. A joint project across such an historic divide, picks up elements that were common to both sides, recognises that there are no heroes in war and acknowledges the sacrifice made by each country and the long term and very similar effect on both our communities. Torsten has set the experience and words of the Dymock poets and Ivor Gurney to illustrate these themes.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    The first performance of this new commission for orchestra, choir & soloists


    » Perf 1: At the Worcester Three Choirs Festival in July 2014 to mark the centenary of WW1
    » Visit by the Three Choirs Festival Chorus to Chemnitz to perform Elgar 'Dream of Gerontius' prior to the 2nd performance of the commission
    » Perf 2: In Chemnitz on March 5th 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the allied bombing of the City.

    The staging of the performance with the Festival Chorus & Philharmonia conducted by Baldur Bronniman with soloists Kate Valentine and Matthias Goerne on July 31st, 2014

    Aim 2

    To ensure that the composition will have longevity and be performed beyond our 2 performances


    » The choral community in Chemnitz propose to perform the work annually to mark the anniversary of the allied bombing for the forseeable future
    » Confirmed interest from Radio 3 to record the 1st performance at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival for subsequent broadcast in September 2014.

    Success will be the ongoing annual performance by the Chemnitz choral community and the successful recording and broadcast by Radio 3.

  • Impact


    We hope to change the perception of war so that not only do we recognise suffering by the wider community on both sides but accept that we share the same experiences and losses albeit from a differing perspective. Good can come from all suffering and what we learn from our negative experience can only result in positive behaviour.


    1. Our audience may not like this work: Torsten Rasch is an established composer with a successful track record and we are very experienced in commissioning choral works with a strong track record of success.
    2. Our audience do not buy tickets to the performance: the commission will be programmed alongside Vaughan Williams 'The Lark Ascending' and Elgar 'The Spirit of England' to encourage our audience, who are accustomed to the inclusion of new works, to attend.


    Our Development Manager compiles a bespoke report to all donors annually following each festival so this is standard procedure for our organisation.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £54,175

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 Performance 1 Philharmonia Orchestra
      £12,500 Performance 1 Conductor and soloists
      £3,500 Performance 1 Cathedral hire
      £4,375 Performance 1 Seating and staging
      £3,800 Performance 1 TV Relay
  • Background


    The Three Choirs Festival is a 300 year old annual choral festival that rotates between Hereford, Gloucester & Worcester. The next festival in Worcester (July 28 to Aug 5th 2014) will include 80+ events in up to 15 venues with 800 participating artists over festival week. Our festival chorus, resident symphony orchestra and international artists perform every evening in the cathedral supported by a daytime programme of recitals, chamber music, masterclasses, theatre, jazz and workshops.


    We sell over 24,000 tickets annually to an international audience whilst ensuring the participation of our local community. Our festival chorus consists of 175 singers from the 3 counties and this commission will undoubtedly be broadcast by Radio 3, thus reaching a considerably wider audience. Members of Chemnitz Oper will be participating as part of our Festival Chorus, enjoying for the first time the choral genre.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    With a 300 year old history, we have a track record of successfully staging an international choral festival incorporating large scale orchestral/choral performances. Our central management team of General Manager, Development Manager & Ticket Office Manager have between them successfully delivered the last 6 annual festivals supported by a Board of Trustees all of whom have held committee positions in each City. Many of the established works in the repertoire were commissioned by the festival.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sir Michael Perry/Volunteer

    Chairman of the Worcester Three Choirs Festival and Trustee of the Three Choirs Festival Association.

    Dr Peter Nardone/Staff

    Artistic Director of the Worcester Three Choirs Festival and Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral, responsible for all artistic programming

    Dominic Jewel/Staff

    General Manager of the Three Choirs Festival Association

    Debbie Liggins/Staff

    Development Manager of the Three Choirs Festival Association and responsible for all fundraising and marketing