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New light on Wilfred Owen's musical inspiration
ORGAN music said to have provided inspiration for First World War poet Wilfred Owen has been recreated at a Wirral church following the discovery of forgotten sheet music.
The poet, who lived in Birkenhead between the ages of four and 13, was a regular at Oxton's Christ Church and served there as a choirboy.
It was there that he first heard the uplifting works of church organist Edward Townshend Driffield.
Now church officers have made a recording of Mr Driffield’s Cavatina – played on the same organ heard by Wilfred Owen early in the 20th Century.
Dean Johnson from the Wilfred Owen Story museum in Birkenhead, said that listening to the same music that the poet had heard has been a fascinating experience.
The church, he explained, had been a “significant influence” on the poet’s childhood.
Mr Johnson revealed: "Owen was devoutly religious – he would have seen God in every word that he read in church and in every note of music that he heard.
"The atmosphere at Christ Church is very powerful and the great organ reverberates as if from heaven itself. All of this would have had a profound effect of Wilfred’s sensitivity."
Edward Driffield was a local solicitor who composed and played organ music at Christ Church. Some of his compositions were found in the church basement when current organist Paul Broadhurst carried out a search.
Mr Driffield was also an organist at St Paul’s in Southport.
The quality of his work was reflected in the fact that he composed music for Liverpool’s 700th Anniversary Pageant in 1907.
• The Wilfred Owen Story is marking its second year as the UK’s only permanent exhibition dedicated to the Great War poet.
War poetry written 100 years apart marks the launch of the museum’s Countdown to 2014 – marking the centenary of the First World War. Pupils from Thingwall Primary School have produced a volume of new poetry inspired by Wilfred Owen’s work.
The exhibition now contains unique historical Owen family memorabilia, previously unseen. Admission is free.