This Jerusalem is thus positioned between the words from the Bible, and a text associated with the outbreak of the 1914-1918 war. In Greater Love Hath No Man, Johnn Ireland sets the crucial phrase for solo baritone (Gareth Brynmor John), "that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness". Ireland was writing in 1912, before the onset of war, when the sacrifice meant Christian sacrifice. Jesus died for all men (and women) regardless of place and time. For the Fallen, reflects the way the message adapted after the impact of war. The piece was written in 1971 by Dougas Guest (born 1916). Though much of Laurence Binyon's original is belligerent, Guest, who served in the Second World War, sets only one verse, placing emphasis on the sombre, humbling line the words "We shall we remember them".
Sir Edward Elgar's setting of They are at Rest, to a text by John Henry Newman, is an elegy marking the ninth anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria, while O Valiant Hearts by Charles Harris, a friend of Elgar, is a postwar reflection on loss. I Vow to thee, My country is Gustav Holst's adaptation of Jupiter in The Planets as the anthem. Its serenity links earthly death with concepts of eternal life, on another plane. Holst's Ode to Death is heard here transcribed for choir and organ (James Orford), as is Gabriel Fauré's Requiem in D minor arranged by Iain Farrington. Ian Venables's Requiem Aeternum (2017) completes the set, a timely reminder that death is a part of the cycle of life.
Please also see my review of Earth & Sky - choral works by Ralph Vaughan Willaims, also conducted by William Vann, for Albion Records.