John Baird  
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The Flowers of the Forest

The ancient Scots melody "The Flowers of the Forest" is best known for its performance on the bagpipes at the Whitehall Remembrance Service every year.

John's work was written to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden. The piece has its origins in the poem "The Flowres of the Forrest" which was given its present form by Jean Elliot around 1758.

The poem recalls the tragic consequences for Scotland of that Battle. The Scots had in 1513 invaded England to support their allies, the French.
The battle that ensued was ferocious and bloody. Around 14,000 men died, including James IV, the last British king to die in battle.

What unites the musical and literary fragments that have survived from the 16th and 17th centuries is the desperately sad line "The Flowres o' the Forrest are a' wede awae" (withered).

In this short dramatic piece, which includes a part for the Highland bagpipe, the many versions of the tune are woven together.

The first performance of this work took place in London on 30th November, St Andrew's Day, 2013.