As the opening of our First World War exhibition “For King and Country? The Jewish Experience of the First World War” draws nearer, our preparations have been gearing up and getting quite exciting.
Last week Roz and I spent two evenings at Limehouse Recording Studio with the fantastic Elbow Productions recording the audio for the exhibition.
On day one the brilliant actress Kate Lock read out extracts of Florence Oppenheimer’s diary. It was so exciting to hear Florence’s words read aloud. Elbow Productions’ Creative Director Jan Lower helped direct and guide the voice artists to achieve the best possible recording.
Roz and I learnt a lot about how a slight change in tone or pace could create a completely different feeling to the diary extracts.
Next up was the recording of ‘Onward! The Hymn of the Jewish Legion’ by Pinchos Jassinowsky. We found the sheet music of this hymn in the British Library and after carrying out due diligence to find the copyright holder we were given permission to record it.
I can read music and tried to work out the tune of the hymn but it wasn’t until we came to record that we found out what it truly sounded like!
We were absolutely thrilled when the London Jewish Male Choir (http://www.ljmc.org.uk/) agreed to perform and record the hymn for us.
Accompanied by a pianist the choir performed and recorded the hymn in English, Yiddish and Hebrew. It sounded fantastic, a true martial, regimental song! The choir brought the hymn to life and I was still humming it when I went home that evening.
We were also very privileged to have Robert Davis from the LJMC sing a prayer for us – The 1918 Memorial Prayer. It was absolutely beautiful and really moving, Robert has a remarkable voice.
On day two we recorded poems by Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon, read by Sean Tyrell and Robert Nairne. Jan Lower did a fantastic job to direct the interpretation of the poems, a difficult task.
Finally actor Tom Barratt read eight letters written by Marcus Segal. Unfortunately I was unable to stay for the recording but Roz told me how Tom captured Marcus’ spirit perfectly.
All the audio we recorded will be played in our exhibition (opening on 19th March) and I am so excited to hear it all brought together.
I would like to thank all the voice artists, the LJMC, Jan and Sultana from Elbow Productions and the studio Engineers Joel and James for such an amazing experience.
PS this was Roz’s favourite part of the studio!