Jessica Curry

Multi award-winning composer and co-founder of renowned games company The Chinese Room


The Durham Hymns

A century on from the Battle of the Somme, we mark the anniversary with a major new work for brass band and choir. Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, inspired by the true-life experiences of County Durham people, has written lyrics for a suite of new hymns to commemorate their sacrifice, courage and endurance.

The Durham Hymns draws directly on the county's deep cultural roots in brass and choral music. The artefacts made available to the lead artists included personal letters, diaries, press reports and court records of the time, plus experiences recounted in personal memoirs written later and passed town to family.

The hymns reflect aspects of the war effort from both the home and battlefronts, using the stories of individuals and communities who were deeply connected with the county.

The performances will remind us not only of those who have died, but lead us into the everyday experiences of those left behind, their stoicism, courage and resilience. They also make us consider the hidden impact of the war on subsequent generations.

The Durham Hymns was commissioned by the Northern Regional Brass Band Trust in partnership with Durham County Council.

Among the many deeply moving commemorations of the Battle of the Somme, this was one that is likely to prove indelible, and it was delivered to a rapt audience in surroundings which seemed equal to the scale of the tragedy and loss. Kiss The Bairns Goodbye, with music by Curry was almost unbearably sad." The Chronicle