First World War Poet Commemorated by creating a violin named after him
2018-01-03 String Instrument News
The two historical poets, who happen to be friends with each other, now have two violins to remember them in their significant contributions to the history of humankind.
Just like Wilfred Owen, his good friend and fellow poet Siegfried Sasson also had a violin named after him. Luthier Steve Burnett created the instrument to remember the great poet of the First World War. The material used, especially the wood came from the same sycamore tree and the same branch from where the Wilfred Owen was crafted when it was created last 2014. Both Owen and Sasson have spent time during the First World War in Edinburgh hospital right inside the Craiglockhart building where the sycamore tree is growing. They both have shell shock treatment and became good friends in that place.
On August 15, 2017, the two instruments reunited like good old friends as they were playing together in public. It was a commemoration of the first meeting of the two poets at the hospital 100 years ago. It was 1917 when Owen came into the hospital for a shell shock treatment after serving in the front line battle in France. According to some related sources, it was between August 15 and 19 of that same year that Owen met Sasson who had just been decorated as a war hero during that time. The name of this 100-year-old event is the “Wilfred Owen’s Edinburgh 1917-2017.” It was an event filled with weeklong celebrations and remembrances.
According to Burnett the Luthier who crafted the violin said that he used the method called green wood to create the first violin (the Wilfred Owen). He adopted this kind of process wherein the branch that he used was taken out during winter time before its sap starts coming out.
On the other hand what Burnett used in the Sasson violin was a seasoned wood. It was different from the Owen because it was a more traditional way of making a violin. According to Burnett these two violins, the Owen and Sasson, are a symbol peace and reconciliation you utilize the power of music that comes from them. It was a tribute to the lost generation of two significant historical poets as both of them are being played.
The Owen violin has traveled for three years on different places, being played in schools and diverse variety of events that commemorate the First World War. Notable and respectable musicians like Maxim Vengerov and Nigel Kenedy have played these instruments.
When Neil McLennan who authored the book regarding the time of Owen in Edinburgh lectured in the Royal Society of Edinburgh at Craiglockhart, these two violins was played there. These instruments were also played on a radio program of BBC. The title of the program was “World War One: The Cultural Front.” It was heard on air last August 19, 2017, at 10:30 in the morning.
Catherine Walker, the curator of War Poets Collection based in Craiglockhart, said that the two violins were an excellent and fitting tribute. She added that these two great poets have something in common and that is their love and appreciation of music.