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During all this, nearly a hundred primary school children were sitting in the audience, waiting to take part in the single work which was to occupy the second half. They were quieter, more attentive and appreciative of what was happening on stage than many an adult audience I've been part of; and it struck me that, quite incidentally, they were enjoying the best musical education they could possibly have.

Harvey Brough conducts his 'Requiem in Blue'. Photo © 2007 Helena Dornellas
Harvey Brough conducts his 'Requiem in Blue'. Photo © 2007 Helena Dornellas

Requiem in Blue is one of those pieces which is immediately accessible without any compromising of musical integrity; intensely personal yet universal in its appeal. It is dedicated to the memory of Harvey's older brother, Lester, who died while still at university in a totally avoidable road accident. An army Landrover, on the wrong side of the road, hit his motorcycle head-on. Harvey, meanwhile, was in the centre of Cambridge, waiting for the brother who would never arrive. At one point in the Requiem a bell rings loudly and discordantly, recapturing all these years later the college bells Harvey heard as he waited. He was seventeen at the time. As he has written elsewhere: 'For many years I think we all expected to wake up and discover that it hadn't really happened but so far that hasn't been the case.'

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Copyright © 13 November 2007 Rex Harley, Cardiff UK


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