A new choral work to commemorate the centenary of the First World War has been commissioned for St Mary’s Opera Ensemble.

Mark David Boden’s Drifting in a Starless Space will be premiered at the spring concert at St Mary’s School, Calne, on March 22, with the composer conducting the ensemble.

Mr Boden, working with Mrs Bethan Dudley Fryar, director of vocal studies, created a piece featuring narrator, flugelhorn and upper voices based on texts provided by English students at St Mary’s Calne.

He was impressed by the quality of work provided by the English department and chose four poems by Imogen, Eve, Hannah and Phoebe. All the texts depict a woman’s view of the First World War with strength and poignancy, and the composition combines a powerful narration and use of a chorale-based theme to depict the horror of war.

Phoebe’s poem No More Dreaming inspired Mr Boden to take the line Drifting in a Starless Space as the title of the work.

St Mary’s Opera Ensemble started rehearsals of Drifting in a Starless Space last week and will present the winning poems and an excerpt of the work to the rest of the school on January 30.

Work will take place with the composer before it is premiered in March.