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"These Days - The Manchester Peace Song Cycle"

"Fly kites, not drones ..."

Specially commissioned classical Song Cycle to commemorate Manchester’s 100 yrs of war and peace. 

World Premier

Weds 21st November 2018


Concert Hall

Private Preview

Sun 18th November 2018

Heaton Hall

Remembrance Sunday

10th November 2019



Since its remarkable collaborative creation in 2018, featuring original work from 9 composers and a libretto by 'Manchester Poet', Tony Walsh, this unique and inspiring piece has been hailed as an example of what music and  theatre can do, to celebrate the best of our past and learn from it too. Set in Heaton Park and told through the eyes of the iconic and cherished lions, ‘These Days’ takes you on a beautiful and visceral journey from sunrise to sunset, sharing the tears of war and the laughter and joy of all that we value in peace time.

From Suffragette rallies to William Grimshaw’s joyous gramophone concerts of Caruso, to the Manchester Pals First World War army camp and the 1939 RAF base.  From Pope John Paul II’s visit, to family picnics, boat rides, Oasis concerts and generations of photos beside the lions.  

This piece creates a legacy for our times and revels in the sunshine days of childhood whilst commemorating our universal quest for peace and all that we cherish across our region. 


Fusing music, poetry and drama, ‘These Days’ is a modern classical song cycle with libretto by the acclaimed Manchester poet Tony Walsh, dramaturgy and direction by Caroline Clegg and musical direction by Thomas D Hopkinson. It is especially composed for solo voices and choirs by a team of outstanding composers, all based in the north, whose combined experience covers over five decades: Nicola LeFanu (lead composer), Emily Howard, Ailis Ni Riain, Anna Appleby, Lizzy Gur, Lucy Hale, Freya Ireland, Grace-Evangeline Mason, and Carmel Smickersgill.  


Songs of warmth and humour revel in the sunshine days of childhood alongside reflective poignant harmonies that commemorate our universal quest for peace. With additional poetry and words by kind permission of Simon Armitage and the Wilfred Owen Association, Lindsay Williams and Cathy Crabb. 

By popular request following its world premiere in 2018, we were delighted to perform this special show once more, and we were so glad to welcome those of you who were able to join us at Manchester's Cathedral on Remembrance Sunday 2019. In this unique space, projected images shine against the ancient cathedral organ, completing the journey.

When ​'These Days' previewed in Heaton Hall in 2018, the Lord Mayor then, Councillor June Hitchin accepted it as a gift to the City of Manchester for use in schools and community groups with any future profits going to the Forever Manchester charity.


Halle Youth Training Choir, 2018


Cheetwood Primary School Choir

Director and Dramaturge: Caroline Clegg.  
Musical Director: Thomas D Hopkinson                                                                                                                                                  
Composed for chamber orchestra, solo voices and choirs by a team of outstanding composers whose combined experience covers over five decades.  With additional poetry and words by kind permission of poet laureate Simon Armitage and Century Films and the Wilfred Owen Association.

Meet the Creative Team:  

Performed by Joseph Jordan, Christopher Littlewood (tenor), Jenny Carson (soprano), Cheetwood Primary School, the Hallé Training Choir (2018), the Xavarian Chamber Choir (2019), and special prologue by students at CAM the Co-Op Academy (2018).  Played by chamber ensemble; Danny Mills, (trumpet), Amy Surman (cello) and Emily Wilson (clarinet), Paula O'Malley (percussion 2018), Adam Riding (violin 2018), Peter Mitchell, (percussion 2019) and Madeleine Fitzgerald (violin 2019).

Sponsors & Supporters:
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