They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.*
The Royal New Zealand Ballet was honoured to collaborate with the New Zealand Army Band and distinguished New Zealand composers and choreographers Dwayne Bloomfield, Gareth Farr, Neil Ieremia and Andrew Simmons, in this special programme of works to mark the centenary of World War One.
Alongside classic pieces by Johan Kobborg (Salute, New Zealand premiere) and Jiří Kylián (Soldier’s Mass, last memorably performed by the RNZB in 1999), Neil Ieremia and Andrew Simmons created two world premieres.
Neil Ieremia’s work was inspired by Warrant Officer Dwayne Bloomfield’s tone poem Passchendaele, premiered by the New Zealand Army Band on Anzac Day 2009. Andrew Simmons, whose haunting works for the RNZB, Through to You, A Song in the Dark and Of Days, have made such an impression on New Zealand and international audiences, returned to New Zealand to work with composer Gareth Farr (The Wedding, Smashing Sweet Vixen) on his fourth commission for the RNZB.
The New Zealand Army Band performed live in all venues throughout the tour.
*Laurence Binyon For the Fallen, September 1914