YOUNG musicians will tonight commemorate the centenary of the First World War – with a piece written by a schoolboy.

The 60-strong County Youth Orchestra are to perform Symphony No.1, by Cherwell School student Matthew Holmes, in Headington’s Centre for Music.

The 17-year-old sixth-former’s composition will be conducted by Ed Liebrecht, of Magdalen College School, and form part of a charity concert starting at 7pm.

Matthew said: “I’ve written a few compositions before, so Ed suggested I do something to commemorate the First World War.

Our top stories

“We all felt it was a good idea, as we realised that had we been living 100 years ago we’d have been called on to fight or to hold the house together while family members put themselves in harm’s way. It’s a very sobering thought when you consider the sacrifices that people of such a young age had to make.”

The symphony, which took about a month to write, has two movements of 15 minutes each and incorporates a rendition of The Last Post, performed by Matthew himself.

The famous bugle call is followed by a two-minute silence, before the music continues.

The performance has been planned by sixth-form musicians from Oxfordshire with support from Oxfordshire County Council’s music service.

Council cabinet member for cultural and community services Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said: “As an act of remembrance this is a hugely poignant gesture as well as a tremendous artistic achievement.

“I would like to wish them all the best of luck and encourage people to go along to the performance.”

The concert programme will include include Finlandia by Sibelius and Heroic Elergy by Farrar.

Farrar’s work is a notable choice because the English composer conducted the premiere of his final work in Harrogate while on leave, just days before he was killed on the Western Front after being redeployed.

He died on August 1918 during the Battle of Epehy, after serving in the Grenadier Guards for three years.

Fellow composer Gerald Finzi – a student of Ferrar – was so shocked by this that he became a lifelong pacifist.

The concert performance tonight starts at 7pm in the Centre for Music, in Bayswater Road. There is no parking at the venue.

Refreshments will be available from 6.30pm and entrance will be paid for by a donation, with proceeds going to Help For Heroes.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.