Simon Hogan (organ), Onyx Brass (trumpet solo). With thanks to John Armitage Memorial Trust.
The text for this piece was inspired by two short poems by award winning poet Chloe Stopa-Hunt. The poems combine words that Edith Cavell is known to have spoken to the Anglican chaplain, the Reverend Stirling Gahan, including "In life, in death, O Lord", a quotation from the final verse of 'Abide With Me' that they repeated together on the night before her execution. A motif from that hymn is repeatedly sung by the choir towards the end of the piece.
The other part of the text is drawn from the authorised statement given by Dr. Alfred Zimmerman (German Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs) on October 24th 1915 in response to the international outcry about the execution of a woman.
During the research for this piece it struck me that in many instances Cavell and Zimmerman were saying the same thing. Both seem to say that she knew what she was doing and that she was aware of what the punishment would be if she were caught. Both imply that she was judged justly. The text reflects this by using shared words as pivot points between different sections of text.
We must remember and honour the men that died in World War I but let's not forget the women who also suffered in so many ways as a result of this terrible conflict. Edith Cavell, an ordinary woman who did extraordinary things.
We will remember them.