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Bunker concert marks Cold War anniversary

22 Oct 2012

A classical concert at a nuclear bunker in the Cheshire countryside is to mark the fiftieth anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s famous speech on the Cuban Missile Crisis on Monday (22 October).

Bunker concert marks Cold War anniversary
Bunker concert marks Cold War anniversary

Dr Kevin Malone, Director of Composition at The University of Manchester, wrote two pieces which will be premièred at a once-secret bunker, where the country’s top decision makers would have sheltered during a nuclear attack.

Unmistakable Evidence combines a live sax quartet with video footage of the Kennedy speech broadcast on 22 October 1962, in which the President warns of the ‘clear and present danger’ of nuclear war.
 
The Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker concert will begin with a new 9/11 piece Requiem77, which combines a solo sax with unedited recordings of the American air traffic controllers looking for American Airlines Flight 77 on September 11, 2001.

Flight 77 was hijacked by five al-Qaeda terrorists who crashed it into the Pentagon near Washington D.C, killing all 59 passengers as well as 125 people on the ground at 9.37am.

American-born Dr Malone said: “Unmistakable Evidence is based on how Tchaikovsky structured his 1812 Overture, except his battle piece had cannons and my work deals with nuclear missiles. This is also the 200th anniversary of the battles of 1812, something which I didn't realise until I was well into composing the piece.

"The music reflects ordinary people’s anxiety and feeling of helplessness during two events which shaped modern history –  the 9/11 attacks and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“Kennedy's television broadcast about how close the world was to all-out nuclear war terrified the world – especially children.
 
“I remember as a school child we were taught to be scared: ‘duck and cover’ films were shown to us, and civil defence alerts would be broadcast randomly on the television – interrupting any programme we might be watching. It was very scary.

“The music of Requiem77, played beautifully by the Apollo Sax Quartet, also comments on the confusion and anxiety which heralded the new war of the 21st century.”

He added: “Requiem77 is the sixth piece I have written about the events of 9/11.

“It’s an obsession which can be partly explained by the fact that I very nearly caught the Lockerbie flight which crashed in December 1988.

“I was booked onto the Lockerbie flight on 21 December, but then changed my mind and rebooked it for a week earlier.”

Hack Green has played a central role in the defence of Britain for almost sixty years under Cheshire’s picturesque Cheshire countryside.

In 1976 the abandoned site was purchased from the MOD by the Home Office Emergency Planning Division to be converted into a protected seat of government for Home Defence Region 10:2.
 
At a reputed cost of £32 million, the bunker was converted into a vast underground complex containing its own generating plant, air conditioning and life support, nuclear fallout filter rooms, communications and emergency water supply.

Lucy Siebert, Director of Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker said: “"Both 9/11 and The Cuban Missile Crisis go hand in hand with Hack Green as we are a monument to the lengths to which humanity will go to fight for what it believes to be right in complete blindness of the consequences.

“The Cold War and the nuclear threat are an incredibly relevant and terrifying part of our recent past and if only more people could experience the fear of that era then perhaps events like 9/11 might not happen.

“What these events have taught is that just because there isn't a front line doesn't mean that there isn't a war, and sometimes it is the wars of threats and ideas that are the most potent.

“Kevin Malone's pieces pay tribute to these ideas and we are delighted to be a part of that experience."

Notes for editors

Media outlets are able to attend rehearsals from about 11am. The concert will take place at an aircraft hanger, which is part of the bunker complex, at 2pm and 4pm.

Images are available

Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker is situated off the A530 Whitchurch Road, near  Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 8BL.
 
Dr Malone is available for comment.

For media enquiries contact

Mike Addelman
Press Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881567
Michael.addelman@manchester.ac.uk

Or

Lucy Siebert
Museum Director
Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker
 01270 623353