The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks (IWM 1917 film by G Malins & JB McDowell).

Music by Laura Rossi

The digitally restored film with Laura’s new score was released on DVD Nov 2017 Buy Here.

Laura Rossi’s new score for chamber orchestra is in 5 movements, which accompanies the five parts of the film. The music depicts the varied emotions conveyed throughout, reflecting the more poignant moments as well as echoing brighter scenes of the high-spirited soldiers.

Cardiff Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrea Quinn.

The sister film to Battle of the Somme, Battle of the Ancre was filmed between September and November 1916 and released in 1917.  The film drew big audiences and was a critical success. Box office takings were even higher in the first three months of release than for its predecessor Battle of the Somme. Many consider The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks as the better film cinematically and it contains haunting images of trench warfare, notably of the mud that beset the battlefields, the waves of troops advancing into no man’s land, the use of horses and the first views of the ‘Tank’; the secret weapon which it was hoped would break the military deadlock on the Western Front.

Dr. Toby Haggith from the IWM has written about the restoration here

The film was screened at the Imperial War Museum with the premiere of Laura’s score performed by the Ealing Symphony Orchestra and conducted by John Gibbons. Here are some clips of ESO performing it & some photos:

The music was recorded at Pinewood Studios and the film digitally restored. Here are some photos from the recording with conductor John Gibbons and engineer Steve Parr:

ancre studio steve
Recording of the score for 'The battle of the Ancre"

This newly restored film and recorded score premiered at the BFI London Film Festival at the National Film Theatre. The DVD with Laura’s score was released November 2017 with a live orchestral screening at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, by Cardiff University Orchestra conducted by Andrea Quinn. You can watch clips of this performance below:


To mark the Armistice Centenary, from September to November 2018 there will be a 6 date live orchestral tour of Battle of the Ancre. Details below:


The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks

IWM 1917 film by G Malins and JB McDowell

Performed live with a new score by Laura Rossi


Waltham Forest Youth Orchestra, conducted by Michael Whittaker

  • Date: Sat 15 September 2018  Time: 19:30pm 
  • Venue: St Mary’s Church, Walthamstow, London, E17 9RJ

Ealing Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Gibbons

  • Date: Sat 3 November 2018  Time: 19:30pm 
  • Venue: Musical Museum, Brentford, TW8 0DU

Bristol Ensemble, conducted by William Goodchild

  • Date: Fri 9 November 2018  Time: 19:30pm
  • Venue: Redland Hall, Redmaid’s High School, Bristol, BS9 3AN

Skipton Camerata, conducted by Ben Crick

  • Date: Fri 9 November 2018 Time: 19:30pm
  • Venue: Skipton Town Hall , Skipton, BD23 1AH

Orchestra of Square Chapel, conducted by Robert Guy

  • Date: Sun 25 November 2018 
  • Times: 14:30pm & 19:30pm (2 performances)
  • Venue: Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax , HX1 1QG

Running time 65 minutes
Scored for Chamber Orchestra: Flt, Ob, Clnt, Bsn, Timp./Perc, Piano, Strings