A blog by Philip Ashworth, RSNO Composers’ Hub 2016:17
The “unmaking” of a deer was a ritualised process of butchery during the middle ages. Hunting wild animals was an activity widespread across Europe. This was no longer about sourcing food to eat; it was a stylised ceremony serving almost no practical purpose save for cementing the status of the aristocracy.
Over five months in 1916, over one and a half million men were slaughtered during the battles of the Somme. Without question the bloodiest battle in western history, the Allies achieved almost nothing save a six mile incursion into German-occupied territory.
Death was almost certain for soldiers on both sides. These were men sent for sacrifice; they were “unmade”. My piece attempts to deal with this process of unmaking; all that a person was or could be, ultimately splintered and defragmented, shot through with the instruments of destruction.