Isabella (9M) has won third prize in the Never Such Innocence competition 11-14 song category, with her stunning folk song 'Pray for Me'.
''Pray for Me' evolved following a visit to the battlefields of Belgium. I was struck by the shocking fact that these beautiful landscapes had once witnessed such violent bloodshed. I thought about the many men who had gone to fight, leaving behind their loved ones, but never to return. I wanted to capture the feelings of a particular soldier who, in his letters, tries to reassure his wife. Unfortunately, despite all his best efforts, the cruel reality of war gradually unfolds and intervenes. By the end of the piece, we appreciate the tragedy that the soldier has in fact been killed, leaving behind only his words and the memory or ‘echo’ of all those that have died.
The folksong idiom is deliberate as it is a form that has often been used to tell tales of war and hardship. It also allows for immediacy and intimacy in its simple and unaccompanied form. The verse-chorus structure provides contrast between the tenderness of the soldier’s words to his wife, set out in the verse, with the steadfast fear and brutality of war represented by the chorus.
‘Pray for Me’ started off with an idea of some lyrics for a verse and a melody. I then wrote some more lyrics for other verses and had my verse structure. I then wanted to add a chorus to get the verse-chorus structure of a song. I thought up some more lyrics and wrote another melody that fitted with it. I really enjoyed writing ‘Pray for me’. It could, however, be developed as a far larger piece, for example, involving other voices and introducing percussion to the chorus.'