H.M.Farrar remembered for his war compositions by the BBC
(H.M. Farrar second from the left) 51st Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery.
Earlier this year de Wolfe Music were approached by the BBC with regards to covering the unique story of one of their composer, H M Farrar for the series The People Remember.
It had only recently come to light that Harry Farrar had written in his diary an unnamed piece of music whilst in the trenches during World War One and it wasn’t until August 2014 that it had its first public performance, played on the organ in the local family Church, St Elwyn's, Hayle, Cornwall.
De Wolfe Music and the BBC felt that a more fitting orchestration should be added Farrar’s composition, bring the work to life in all its splendour and for it to be recorded for posterity.
A decision was taken not to inform Harry’s son John Farrar and grandson Nick Farrar that the orchestration and recording would be taking place, so as to surprise them at the inaugural recording session at Angel Recording Studios to which they would surreptitiously be invited to.
HM Farrar's War Diary and Composition
The unnamed piece was then given the title ‘Hymn to the Fallen’, in memory of those who lost their lives in World War One and composer Paul Lawler who has worked closely with de Wolfe over many years was contacted and asked produce a full orchestration.
The piece now turned from what was originally 35-second piece into a fully scored 3-minute work. Viola virtuoso Levine Andrade was invited to play the lead part which brought an extra emotional dimension to the already passionate piece. It was now ready to be recorded.
At a pre-arranged meeting with senior music consultant Frank Barretta, the Farrar family were brought up to London by the BBC and were invited to talk about Harry’s working life with de Wolfe Music. It was during the filming of this interview that presenter Richard Van Emden sprung the surprise that the family were also there to witness the first ever recording of ‘Hymn to the Fallen’.