In Flanders Fields

Nearly 100 years ago - but still apparent - the War to End All Wars, the “Great war”, was fought out for a great part in our Flemish “Westhoek”. On the former battlefields now cattle graze peacefully but hardly two spades deep under the grass time stood still and while tilling the land, bombs and shells are still coming to surface.

It was a four years lasting shambles, often with a gaining of just a few meters ground with the result of a worldwide 10 millions people killed.

The slaughter took place in unheard and severe circumstances. The only way of release from their inexpressible suffering was for some the writing of a last poem or the singing of popular tunes with often rough texts. This brought consolation and distraction in the trenches.

Grupetto literally started digging in the past and made a selection of dozens of these songs. Besides, and especially for this project, Valentijn Biesemans composed music, inspired by texts of British soldier-poets who gave their lives in Flanders’ Fields.

Notwithstanding the delicate subject, GRUPETTO gives a pleasant but penetrating and respectful performance. The leitmotiv of the performance is a multi-media presentation of authentic pictures (many thanks to the Ypres-Diggers) and of spoken texts by different nationalities. With this project the ensemble GRUPETTO wishes to highlight a dramatic event without precedent, of which it hopes the remembrance may never fade.

After several other successful projects of the ensemble, once more the purifying influence of music has been proven.

This program:
  • comes right out of the trenches (the “Trenchsongs”)
  • brings to life the tunes the soldiers liked most (Top Tunes)
  • contains also a few classical compositions inspired by the first World War by Debussy, Eisler, Stravinsky, Hindemith, the Anglo-Irish WW1-veteran E.J. Moeran
  • contains two new works of Valentijn Biesemans, especially composed for the occasion and inspired by poems of W.Owen and some trenchsongs.

duration: 75 minutes

Program and music examples
Grupetto vzw - Bergstraat 20 - B-9660 Brakel - Belgium-Europe - Grupettophone/fax +32(0)55/42.76.50 - email

Niemandslandsmarsch - H. Eisler

Armeemarsch 606 from “Minimax”  (= a parody on military marches) - P. Hindemith

Keep the Home Fires Burning  - I. Novello (°)

There’s a long, long Trail of Winding & Pack Up your Troubles in an Old Kit Bag - F. Powell & Z. Elliott  (°)

My Belgian Rose - G. Benoit, R. Levenson, T. Garton (°)

The Soldier’s March from “l’Histoire du Soldat” - I. Stravinsky

Berceuse Héroïque - C. Debussy

Indiana - J.F. Hanley (*)

It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary - J. Judge & H. Williams (°)

Poor Butterfly - R. Hubbell (*)

K-K-K-Katy - G. O’Hara (°)

The Rose of No Man’s Land - J. Caddigan & J.A. Brennan (*)

I don’t Want to Get Well - H. Jentes (°)

Adagio from String Trio in G - E.J. Moeran

Dulce et Decorum Est - V. Biesemans

Take me Back to Dear Old Blighty - A.J. Mills, F. Godfrey & B. Scott (*)

I Want to Go Home - Trench Song (*)

Roses of Picardy - H. Wood (*)

Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden - F. Silcher, L. Uhland (*)

Blighty Blues - V. Biesemans

The Last Post

(*):  arrangement Valentijn Biesemans
(°) : arrangement Jo Vercruysse