Graeme Stephen – Letters for Peace
Letters For Peace is a new work Composed by Graeme Stephen and is performed by Graeme Stephen and ??? Chamber string Trio as part of the SOUND festival in collaboration with Jazz at The Blue Lamp.
“The conscientious objector does not believe that violence can cure violence, or that militarism can exorcise the spirit of militarism. He persists in feeling solidarity with those who are called “Enemies” and he believes that if this feeling were more widespread among us it would do more than armies and navies can ever do to prevent the growth of aggressive imperialism, not only among ourselves but also among potential enemies.” – Letter from Bertrand Russell to the editor of the Manchester Guardian
Letters for Peaceis Graeme Stephen’s new work composed for string trio and guitar
Letters written by conscientious objectors who refused conscription to fight during the First World War inspires the music. The work is intended to show the futility of war through the words of objectors who refused to fight and kill for a cause they did not agree with. Their grounds were personal, philosophical or religious. These performances will engage with the public perception of war and highlight the sacrifices made by objectors in the name of peace.
The piece use’s text from letters from conscientious objectors as well as anti-war poetry and images to create a multi-media work which celebrates peace and displays the futility of conflict. Conscientious objectors made a huge sacrifice for their beliefs. They refused to kill their fellow man and, as a consequence were taken from their families and imprisoned in the harshest of conditions. Their stance highlighted the very futility and madness of war: through this new work we celebrate these values.
Today we are regularly bombarded by positive imagery of the military. It has become so normalised that it’s hard to question it. This work is intended to counter this image and challenge public perception of conflict by looking at an often-overlooked part of war’s history. The work is intended to celebrate peace and display the madness of war.
“There is no doubt many kinds of reasons which lead men to become conscientious objectors but I am convinced that the chief reason and the most valid is precisely that sense of the “the solidarity of Mankind’ of ‘Our membership one of another”. – Bertrand Russell