"An important piece of music for our time"       Lancaster Sunday News
ELEGY FOR THE FALLEN
A TRIBUTE TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
Audio excerpt from live performance
LANCASTER SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, CONDUCTOR STEPHEN GUNZENHAUSER
SOME COMMENTS FROM LISTENERS"Hauntingly beautiful. A perfect tribute to the fallen."          johnston45 "Absolutely beautiful. I have played this wonderful piece for my family - they also loved it. It is so appropriate to honor the fallen in Iraq. Thank you, Andrew, for doing it so flawlessly."      Joann Leavitt "Very moving and deeply felt."          Marc Urquhart "This work is so, so moving...I absolutely love the contrast between the soaring sections and the rich, lush and lower register use and then the contrast with more harrowing ideas that come forward. I find the music very filmic and as such I think it is very accessible to a wide variety of listeners."           Xander Hough "Quite the most moving piece I have heard for a long time. I was particularly taken by the crescendo towards the end, which gave me a feeling of hope, indicating that the lives lost were not in vain."         Ann de la Grange Sury "A very beautiful composition - haunting and melodic (it moved me to tears). A truly fitting piece of music which reflects its title perfectly..."          S.Dean "Memorable, melodic and moving. There should be many a fitting tribute to the men and women who have died in Iraq and this is a worthy one. While works of the "In Memoriam" sort are often better after the event, this one is all the more poignant because the event is still with us. However its poignancy will remain and grow even more after the events it so brilliantly conveys to us are long gone. A marvellous piece of work worthy of the highest praise anyone can muster"          Frank Mcgillion "Beautiful and fitting to the title. I was especially pleased to hear the theme take a more positive turn, reflecting perhaps, a celebration of the lives taken and the memories they leave behind."          J M Blakeston "I believe this work is a masterpiece in anyone`s book."          Anthony Wakefield""Conservative", of course, but beautifully turned, and by no means unoriginal. I'd like to hear more by this interesting composer."          David Murray "It's good to hear a contemporary composer who is not afraid to write tonal music with proper tunes... expected it to be derivative, but was pleasantly surprised to be totally wrong about that - it sounds original."           Michael Kennedy "This adagio fuses the spirit of the most poignant aspects of the English tradition from Elgar with a truly original intensity of feeling and consummate craftsmanship"           John Mason "I was much moved by the sense of a terrible beauty - and also the feeling of both birth and death. Thank you Andrew for creating a piece that so beautifully and fittingly creates those tensions together."           Elizabeth Meakins "We had the fortunate opportunity to not only listen to this beautiful piece, we were also honored with Mr. Watson presence and introduction this Sunday at the Chicago Cultural Center. The Chicago Chamber Orchestra played Mr. Watson's piece with such beautiful haunting emotion. It took our breath away for quite a while. Words are not fitting to explain how this moved us other than to say, Thank you Mr Watson for your gift to us and for the fallen."           Nancy and David "Watson was at the Fulton Opera House for this world premiere of his composition (it's on to Chicago next) dedicated to those who have lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He received a standing ovation when the last notes of his tribute died away. "For the Fallen" created a picture of the deep sorrow experienced by those who face death. You could almost see the fierce moments of combat, the explosions of fire, the ache of a lost life and the sad funerals of the soldiers, as the rising and falling themes layered one over the other. While Watson had stated very clearly that his piece was not meant to be a political statement, it was impossible for the audience to not be affected by the passionate vision and the solitary viola that spoke of the utter anguish of another life lost."       Laura Knowles, Lancaster New Era "Friday night's program was not totally free of care. It included the world premiere of "For the Fallen," an 11-minute work for strings by English composer Andrew Lowe Watson. The piece is a tribute to those who have been killed in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. Given the subject matter, "For the Fallen" is an important piece of music for our time, and it's quite a coup for Lancaster to hear it first. Watson explained in a preconcert lecture that he wanted to speak directly to those who've lost loved ones in these "tragic conflicts" and to focus on what the fallen have given to the world in their short lives and the love they've inspired in others. However, he didn't want to write a piece that made people feel too depressed. Although pain and suffering are very real, he said, there are other things like love and bravery and human endeavor that are very real, too. "I wanted to celebrate those bits as well as the sadness." That may have been his intention, but there's no denying that "For the Fallen" is an extremely sad and moving piece. Opening very softly, the strings gradually gather in intensity until they sound like a multitude of voices calling out to the departed. At one point, there's an outpouring of love from the cellos, at another a yearning plea for compassion from a solo viola. It is beautiful music."           John Jascoll, Lancaster Sunday News "The audience was very moved by the work, and there were many wonderful comments. Thank you so much for the work. It needs to become a standard part of the repertoire world-wide."          Stephen Gunzenhauser
PROGRAMME NOTEA short introduction leads to the main theme, a simple rising and falling motive on the cello which is then taken up by the other strings. This is in turn developed into a more openly expressive theme, also led by cello, which builds to a climax with upward rushing scales and soaring violins. The music becomes more urgent and a long climb ensues with overlapping layers of falling phrases in the upper strings. As the highest point is reached a sudden plunge down brings us to the return, fortissimo, of the main theme. A new, more intimate theme in solo viola is combined with the cello melody and reaches an impassioned climax before a return of the mysterious introduction and a final farewell from the solo viola.