Arrangement of a song from the cycle The Kiss, written at the request of Tim Brown and the choir of Clare College, Cambridge for their Remembrance Sunday Service on 11th November 2007
The Dug-out started life in 1967 as the last song of The Kiss – a cycle of three songs for tenor and piano on poems by Siegfried Sassoon which I wrote when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge. Forty years later, I was back in Cambridge as Composer-in-residence at Clare College, teaching composition; and in autumn 2007 Tim Brown, Musical Director of Clare, asked me for a choral anthem for the college’s Remembrance Sunday Service on 11th November 2007, which was to be broadcast, and whose theme was war poetry in general and Siegfried Sassoon (a former student at Clare) in particular. I made this arrangement of the 1967 song, adding an introduction and epilogue in which a solo trumpet plays The Last Post.
Giles Swayne 2008
Why do you lie with your legs ungainly huddled,
And one arm bent across your sullen, cold,
Exhausted face ? It hurts my heart to watch you,
Deep-shadow’d from the candle’s guttering gold ;
And you wonder why I shake you by the shoulder ;
Drowsy, you mumble and sigh and turn your head . . .
You are too young to fall asleep for ever ;
And when you sleep you remind me of the dead.
Siegfried Sassoon; St Venant, July 1918