picc.18.104.22.168 – 4331 – timp – perc(4): tam-t/BD/2 SD/ cyms/TD/t.bells/glsp – harp – strings
Commissioned by the Trades Union Congress for the 100th anniversary of its first meeting
7.6.68, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Malcolm Arnold
Peterloo is the derisive name given to an incident that happened on August 16th, 1819 in St Peter’s Fields Manchester, when an orderly crowd of some 80,000 people met to hear a speech on political reform. On the orders of the magistrates they were interrupted by the yeomanry attempting to seize the banners they carried, and to arrest their speaker, Henry Hunt. Cavalry were sent in, and eleven people were killed and four hundred injured in the ensuing panic. This overture attempts to portray these happenings musically, but after a lament for the killed and injured, it ends in triumph, in the firm belief that all those who have suffered and died in the cause of unity amongst mankind, will not have died so in vain.