General’s Command – Norwich Citadel Band, Bandmaster Douglas Beattie Not a new recording, this one, but one I’ve recently come across, having missed it when it was released in 2007 to mark the band’s 125th anniversary. The band is joined by two professional trombonists, both of whom have connections with the band and corps, James Maynard and Alwyn Green. John (Jack) Gisbon was bandmaster at Norwich for many years, composing many works for the band and its soloists (some may recall a setting of “Michael rows the boat ashore” being featured on one of the Councils Festivals lps). Here he contributes a fine opening march, “General’s Command”, written for the band’s 1985 tour f the USA & Canada, as well as the reflective cornet solo “The name of Jesus”, sensitively played by David Woodrow. Several of the pieces included have particular connections with the band, such as Charles Skinner’s “Heroes of the Faith”, which was included in the band’s first radio broadcast in the 1950s, and Albert Drury’s march “Norwich Citadel”, written in the 1930a but still standing up well. At the other end of the spectrum is Martin Cordner’s “The name”, a rock/contemporary setting of “Blessed be the name of the Lord”. Three more of the band’s own soloists are included, the silky sound of David Winch’s horn being heard to good effect in Norman Bearcroft’s “Green Hill” – associating the familiar words with the melody “My love is like a red, red rose” – whilst current Principal Cornet Richard Woodrow produces a fine rendition of Erik Leidzen’s “A Happy Day”. Dean Jones wrote the euphonium solo “High Above” especially for Daniel Beattie, basing it around the chorus of a song by Darren Bartlett, “A song of love”. It is an effective piece that deserves to be more widely known. James Maynard, who was offered a position with the London Symphony Orchestra whilst still a student, brings Brindley Boon’s classic theme and variation solo “Count your blessings” and Ray Steadman-Allen’s Tchaikovsky transcription “A Pilgrim Prayer”. Alwyn Green, whose professional career has included positions as bass trombone with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the City Of Birmingham Orchestra, brings his warm, full sound to Ray Steadman-Allen’s arrangement of Steven Foster, “My story & Song”. I was particularly pleased to hear once more his interpretation of Les Condon’s tuba solo “Celestial Morn”, which I first encountered when sharing a platform with him at Norwich in the 1970s. Choosing tempos with allow him to clearly articulate the phrases, it seems to invest the music with a suitable air of dignitas that can sometimes be missing when tuba players treat it too much as a display vehicle. To my mind, it is worth obtaining this recording for this track alone. The band and soloists are all in good form, to my mind more so than in the recent tracks included in their other anniversary offering, “Fine City Gold”. The cd is currently available from Norwich Citadel Band via ebay at a reduced price, should you wish to explore its treasures.