Korn Symphony

Wind Orchestra / Band
Rental product

i: Dirge – Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
ii: At the Cathedral Gate
iii: Cross of Nails

The 1940 blitz of the strategically important city of Coventry was as brutal as it was extensive. Over two thirds of the city’s buildings were destroyed during the waves of bombings by the Luftwaffe, and over 500 people perished in the raids. The Nazi code word for Coventry was “Korn”.

Many in the city believed that Churchill had prior knowledge of the raids, but in order to protect the Enigma machine – a machine that was able to break the Nazi’s codes, and that would ultimately go on to be a crucial tool in securing victory over Hitler’s forces – he made the choice to sacrifice Coventry and its citizens. It’s a belief that’s held by the city, and many historians, to this day.

The first movement takes its title from the W.H. Auden poem “Funeral Blues” a funeral dirge which mourns the loss of someone very close. The poem was written just before the Second World War, but it was echoed in startling reality during the Coventry blitz as the funerals of those lost in previous night’s attacks took place with the Luftwaffe circling overhead.

Growing up in a town (which also suffered bombings at this time) only a few miles away from Coventry, childhood visits to the site of the cathedral were not uncommon. The cathedral, which had stood since the early 15th century, was destroyed during the raids, the roof collapsing due to fire. A cross – The Charred Cross – was bound together out of two charred beams that had fallen from the roof and lay on the ground in a cross formation, a replica of which still stands at the altar of the remains of the cathedral, alongside which a new cathedral was built after the war.

To this day, The Charred Cross is one of the most recognised images in the UK. The second movement, At the Cathedral Gate, is an incessant movement intended to depict the brutal nature of the air raids, juxtaposed with the quiet burning of embers.

A second cross, formed from three nails that had fallen from the burned roof were also formed in to a cross, and can be found in the new cathedral. A further cross of nails was made from the remains of the cathedral and now sits in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin, which was destroyed in Allied air raids during the Second World War. The Cross of Nails has since become a symbol of peace and reconciliation, replicas of which appear in cathedrals across the world.

This final movement seeks to represent these themes of peace and reconciliation, combined with stark mourning – a final acknowledgment of Auden’s poem.

The work was commissioned by a consortium of 13 bands, led by the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble and their conductor Reed Thomas, to whom Korn Symphony is dedicated to in friendship.

The premiere was given by the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Reed Thomas, October 8, 2015.


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Rental price (for first rental performance)£150.00

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Product Information

PMM140 - Korn Symphony
Year composed: 2015
Difficulty: Hard
Duration: 22
Category:

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Program Note

i: Dirge – Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
ii: At the Cathedral Gate
iii: Cross of Nails

The 1940 blitz of the strategically important city of Coventry was as brutal as it was extensive. Over two thirds of the city’s buildings were destroyed during the waves of bombings by the Luftwaffe, and over 500 people perished in the raids. The Nazi code word for Coventry was “Korn”.

Many in the city believed that Churchill had prior knowledge of the raids, but in order to protect the Enigma machine – a machine that was able to break the Nazi’s codes, and that would ultimately go on to be a crucial tool in securing victory over Hitler’s forces – he made the choice to sacrifice Coventry and its citizens. It’s a belief that’s held by the city, and many historians, to this day.

The first movement takes its title from the W.H. Auden poem “Funeral Blues” a funeral dirge which mourns the loss of someone very close. The poem was written just before the Second World War, but it was echoed in startling reality during the Coventry blitz as the funerals of those lost in previous night’s attacks took place with the Luftwaffe circling overhead.

Growing up in a town (which also suffered bombings at this time) only a few miles away from Coventry, childhood visits to the site of the cathedral were not uncommon. The cathedral, which had stood since the early 15th century, was destroyed during the raids, the roof collapsing due to fire. A cross – The Charred Cross – was bound together out of two charred beams that had fallen from the roof and lay on the ground in a cross formation, a replica of which still stands at the altar of the remains of the cathedral, alongside which a new cathedral was built after the war.

To this day, The Charred Cross is one of the most recognised images in the UK. The second movement, At the Cathedral Gate, is an incessant movement intended to depict the brutal nature of the air raids, juxtaposed with the quiet burning of embers.

A second cross, formed from three nails that had fallen from the burned roof were also formed in to a cross, and can be found in the new cathedral. A further cross of nails was made from the remains of the cathedral and now sits in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin, which was destroyed in Allied air raids during the Second World War. The Cross of Nails has since become a symbol of peace and reconciliation, replicas of which appear in cathedrals across the world.

This final movement seeks to represent these themes of peace and reconciliation, combined with stark mourning – a final acknowledgment of Auden’s poem.

The work was commissioned by a consortium of 13 bands, led by the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble and their conductor Reed Thomas, to whom Korn Symphony is dedicated to in friendship.

The premiere was given by the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Reed Thomas, October 8, 2015.

Rental Information

Renting is an easy process. Simply complete and return the rental contract and, once you have purchased your rental, the parts are sent to you. The rental sets come with one of each part, and you may make as many copies as required for your ensemble (these should be destroyed/recycled after the performance). After the performance you have 14 days to return the parts.

PDF sets will be stamped with the name of the performing ensemble/institution/individual(s) name and the performance date, and as many copies as required may be made of each part. These should also be destroyed/recycled after performance. Each PDF set can be downloaded from a secure link that is sent to you within 5 days of payment.

A rental is for one performance only, unless additional performance rights have been purchased. I would always advise contacting me about the rental first – discounts may be available for further performances in certain circumstances.

Rental is for parts only – scores are available for purchase.

If you haven’t rented before and have any questions, or if your institution has special requirements or makes it difficult to rent, please contact me – I am happy to help in any way.

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Upcoming performances

Chicago, IL
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Thursday, 21 December 2017 11:30


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Saturday, 10 February 2018


Liverpool, UK
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Saturday, 10 February 2018 19:30


Fox Valley, IL
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Friday, 11 May 2018