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the other relics (1995)

I visited Hiroshima with my family in 1985, the Fortieth Anniversary of the bombings there and in Nagasaki. In 1989 I discovered a poem by James Kirkup which vividly encompassed my feelings during our visit to the Park of Peace and to the Peace Tower -

a museum containing atomic-melted slates and bricks, photos showing
what the Atomic Desert looked like, and other
relics of the catasrophe.

It was chance, though, that prompted me to set this text ten years after my visit to Hiroshima; apt in its coincidence with the Fiftieth Anniversary.
The other relics was first performed on 20 November 1996 at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, by Anna Burford (mezzo), with the New Ensemble conducted by Baldur Brönnimann.
I am grateful to James Kirkup for his support, and his grace in allowing the use of his poem.

The other relics:
The ones that made me weep;
The bits of burnt clothing,
The stopped watches, the torn shirts,
The twisted buttons,
The stained and tattered vests and drawers,
The ripped kimonos and charred boots,
The white blouse polka-dotted with atomic rain, indelible,
The cotton summer pants the blasted boys crawled home in, to bleed
And slowly die.

Remember only these.
They are the memorials we need.

extract from No More Hiroshimas by James Kirkup © 1960. reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

mezzo-soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, contrabassoon, bass trombone, percussion (one player: temple block, small bass drum, tam-tam, gong (E2)), 5 violas, 3 cellos, contrabass.

duration: 8 minutes ~