Battles was written for the restoration of the epic 1927 silent film The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands, and was commissioned by the British Film Institute (BFI) in 2013. The work presents eight contrasting scenes as a continuous sequence: War, Introduction of Admiral von Spee, German Banquet, Building Steam/Preparing, Islanders, Call to Arms, Great Battle at Sea and Victory. The original score was written for a small chamber orchestra, symphonic brass and a substantial batterie of tuned and untuned percussion. Battles has been edited for symphonic wind orchestra with percussion and harp.
Composer Simon Dobson says of his colourful score, “I wanted to keep things simple and clear, so there is a British theme, a fanfare march idea, often heard on trumpet, and a German naval theme, which is a more angular motif.”