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The war poetry of 1914-18 burned away grandeur in an alembic of pity. These modern settings of verse by Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and Charlotte Mew (by David Bednall), Guillaume Apollinaire (by Frank Ferko), Ivor Gurney (by Richard Allain) and August Stramm (by John Duggan), among others, restore something of that quality to the experience. This may run counter to consensus about the war, and about war in general, but it’s a refreshing corrective. Cecilia McDowall’s Standing As I Do Before God reflects on Edith Cavell’s death; Susanna Fairbairn and Sospiri deliver it with exquisite simplicity and unforced grace. These are amateur voices, in the main, just as the conscripts of 1916 were not professional soldiers. It’s a fitting match.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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