Sir Tim Rice
Artwork: Andres Landino
Renowned Author and Journalist, Frederick Forsyth, was listening to music in his car one day and began recalling the outbreak of World War I and its dreadful slaughter, then World War II, Korea, the Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan and the endless torrent of sacrifices made by armed forces worldwide.
He had a thought. Although there were several commemorative music pieces in existence it occurred to him there was no sung lament for the fallen that he could think of. Over a period of a month he composed a sixteen-line, four verse poem to fill the need. But he knew that it should be sung, not read.
For a year and a half he tried to find an existing piece of music that could be ‘twinned’ with the words of the poem but failed. Then fate took a hand.
At his village church he heard the voice of Melissa Alder, a Soprano from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and immediately knew that hers was the voice for his ‘Fallen Soldier’.
Melissa introduced Frederick to world class music arranger Gareth Ellis Williams and It was Gareth who came up with the melody that you hear today – haunting, plaintive, evocative – using violin, harp and pipes.
‘Fallen Soldier’ achieved global acclaim, reaching No1 on iTunes and has been performed at commemorative services, both on television and radio worldwide.
Born in Ashford, Kent in August 1938, the only son of two shopkeepers who encouraged him to spread wings, travel and see the world. A boyhood enthusiasm for aeroplanes and especially the fighters based near his childhood home, he lusted to join the RAF which he did at seventeen (after being rather imaginative about his real age - the joining age was eighteen). He received his ‘wings’ on single-seat jets at nineteen.
Eventually leaving the RAF, Frederick went into journalism, aiming to become a foreign correspondent and travel the world. He worked for Reuters in Paris and East Berlin, then the BBC in Europe and Africa, before parting company with them over the Nigeria-Biafra war. He stayed on in the rain forest as a freelance until the end two years later.
Returning home broke, Frederick set about completing his first novel ‘The Day Of The Jackal’. The rest, as they say, is history.
Daughter of an RAF pilot, Melissa Alder, was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire.
Classical crossover singer Melissa is blessed with a gorgeous, warm and captivating soprano voice. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Melissa’s versatility places her equally at home on the stage of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; singing anthems at international sporting events or providing that memorable moment at corporate or private functions.
Melissa discovered her passion for singing as a child and was just 17 when she performed her first solo at The Royal Albert Hall in London. After attending the Royal Academy of Music, she has gone on to perform at some of the world’s greatest and most prestigious venues including The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, The Salzburg Festival, the hallowed turf at Twickenham; as well as numerous television and radio broadcasts.
Melissa was honoured to work with Frederick Forsyth and recalls the first time they were introduced “I met Freddie when I put on a concert in my local Church to raise money to fix the roof! I performed, the church choir sang and Freddie kindly came to read the preface of his latest book. Together we raised more than enough money to fix the roof there is now no need to put a bucket on the organ when it rains!"
Gareth is a multi instrumentalist who studied trumpet, piano and voice from the age of 9, eventually attaining a Masters Degree in Music Composition from Bristol University. Now in demand as a record producer, sound engineer, arranger and performer he has worked on a diverse range of projects.
Credits for his specialist area of mixing orchestral productions for TV, film and video games include Emmy Award winning documentary ‘Hiroshima’, and award winning ‘The Battle of Britain’, plus numerous successful BBC dramas. Continued award winning collaborations with James Fitzpatrick have gained him an international reputation for classic film score albums and have seen him work with the some of the biggest names in the business such as Sarah Brightman, Katherine Jenkins and Gareth Malone, to name just a few.
He has produced two No.1 classical albums (Lesley Garrett and Rebecca Newman), was the co-musical director for BBC’s Children In Need for over 5 years, and has had his music commissioned by a whole range of programmes including the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup.