In Flanders Fields Music

In Flanders Fields is a poem which, in various musical settings, has become a traditional part of Remembrance Day services commemorating those killed in the First World War, 11 November 1918, and subsequent conflicts. It was written in 1915 (after the second Battle of Ypres, Belgium) by a Canadian medical officer, Lieut-Col John McCrae, "to pass away the time between the arrivals of batches of wounded, and partly as an experiment with several varieties of poetic metre" (a letter from McCrae to Sir Andrew Macphail). The poem was published first in the English magazine Punch (8 Dec 1915).

Musical Settings of In Flanders Fields

Musical settings of the poem include those by J. Deane Wells (Harris 1917), John Philip Sousa (G. Schirmer 1918, recorded by Joseph Phillips, Okeh 4013), Frank E. Tours (M. Witmark 1918), W. H. Leib (Summy 1918), Harold Eustace Key (McGill Song Book 1921), Charles Ives (G. Schirmer 1921, recorded in 1969 by Thomas Stewart, Col M-30229), Joseph Roff (unpublished 1948), William Ramsey Spence (Ditson, no date), Guelph musician Greta G. Hurley (Col J. McCrae Birthplace Society 1972), and Derek Healey (a commission for the Festival Singers; Chanteclair 1976). Among the best-known settings are those of J. Deane Wells and W.H. Hewlett. The latter's was published in the New Canadian Song Series IV (Canada Publishing 1934) and is used during Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa.