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"These Days - The Manchester Peace Song Cycle"
World Premier
Wednesday 21st November, 7.45pm
RNCM Concert Hall

Specially commissioned classical Song Cycle to commemorate Manchester’s 100 yrs of war and peace. Preceded by unveiling of the Heaton Park War Memorial in the park. Featuring a libretto by celebrated Manchester poet Tony Walsh and music by nine distinguished North West composers.

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 in this centenary year.

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.  


With additional poetry and words by kind permission of Simon Armitage and the Wilfred Owen Association, Lindsay Williams and Cathy Crabb.  


Sung by tenor Christopher Littlewood, soprano Jenny Carson, Cheetwood Primary School, the Hallé Training Choir and played by a specially commissioned chamber ensemble, consisting of Danny Mills on trumpet, Paula O'Malley on percussion, Adam Riding on violin, Amy Surman on Cello and Emily Wilson on clarinet. With performances from Jasmine Perkin and Joseph Jordan. Sound Designer Karen Lauke.

This is a first for Manchester and the songs will be gifted to the community. 

Sun 18th Nov 2018 - Private Preview, Heaton Hall


"Fly kites, not drones ..."

The Making of 'These Days'
Wednesday 21st November, 4.15pm
RNCM Concert Hall - Free Event

Discover how the performance of These Days was created.

Free event, no ticket required.

This round-table discussion brings together some of the distinguished composers to talk through the creative process; the ten songs that create the whole, the suturing musical and dramaturgical links and the delicate nuances of site-specificity.


The performance itself, showing later on in the evening, is a site specific piece set in Heaton Park and told through the eyes of iconic and cherished lions. These Days takes you on beautiful and visceral journey from sunrise to sunset, sharing the tears of war and the joy and laughter of peacetime over the last 100 yrs. From Suffragette rallies, the First World War Army Camp and the RAF base, to Pope John Paul II’s visit, family picnics and Oasis concerts.

Set for chamber ensemble, tenor, soprano, and children’s choir.


Cheetwood Primary School Choir

Halle Youth Training Choir

Meet the Creative Team

CLICK for Press Release

Sponsors & Supporters:
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