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"In Flanders Fields" (2013)

The poem “In Flanders Fields” was written in 1915 by Canadian physician and soldier John McCrae. His earliest poetry had been published in the 1890s. It was inspired by the death of a friend in the second Battle of Ypres in early 1915, and after publication became one of the most popular and widely quoted poems of the Great War. He had seen how poppies quickly grew around the graves of the soldiers in the Flanders area. McCrae continued to serve in Europe during the remainder of the war, eventually succumbing to pneumonia and cerebral meningitis early in 1918.

Often used for propaganda purposes, it has been said that “Soldiers took encouragement from it as a statement of their duty to those who died, while people on the home front viewed it as defining the cause for which their brothers and sons were fighting.”

This setting of “In Flanders Fields” was written for a commemoration of the Passchendaele battle in October 2013 at which members of Auckland Choral were to sing. A request had been made for music which referenced the war and, if possible, Flanders. Not finding a suitable piece, I offered to write a new setting of this well-known poem. Originally for solo voice, it was re-scored for mixed-voice choir.



In Flanders Fields by David Hamilton (2013)

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