SA music - minor or forgotten classics

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Red Elvis, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Evening All
    YBS and Grimethorpe ( Essays for brass, Alpha and Omega , History of brass) amongst others have recorded some of the classic larger scale SA repertoire in recent years , encompassing both older and modern SA works . The ISB's "origins" CD has covered a lot of ground where the "big" pieces are concerned as well.

    Having spent a couple of days trawling through my CD / tape collection , I'm wondering whether those of us with SA links past or present could suggest other works and composers that perhaps have not had as much exposure and would like to see get a look in ?

    Here are my suggestions for what they are worth .

    "Army of the brave " and "Horbury" by George Marshall . His marches are still rightly respected. these two pieces are perhaps a little dated by today's standards , but just as the likes of Percy Fletcher were the first to start writing original music for contesting bands , so Marshall did for SA , rather than just classical arrangements or marches.

    "King's Crusader" by Ray Bowes. This was one of his early compositions and considered quite avant garde at the time , so much so that I am given to understand that the SA told him not to write anything similar again ( willing to be corrected if I have that wrong).

    A setting of the hymn tune "University" by regular tmp contributor Brian Bowen . A fine piece of composition that deserves wider exposure.

    "Songs of the seasons" by Kenneth Cook - again, possibly a bit dated by current standards but a ground-breaker in it's time ( late 50's / early 60's I think ) and still worth a listen.

    Finally , two works by Ray Steadman Allen . "The Warrior Psalm" - has already cropped up in discussions on tmp and is surely in need of a definitive recording , and his marvellous trombone solo "The Eternal quest" . Again , this is writing of the highest standard that I think any band would be keen to study .

    (These are just my thoughts. In light of other threads I do not wish to imply that good SA music is in any way superior or should be approached differently to any other good brass band composition . Spent my formative years in the SA and now very happy in a contesting band ).
  2. Flick back a page to Symphony of Thanksgiving. I was pleased to see someone do The King of Kings recently ,a very nice recording on Fuoco Brass CD. I think in terms of the best , these CD's mentioned really do cover top works.
  3. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more, it's called "My Comfort and Strength". Brian also wrote a cracking march called "The Warrior".

    I think this is a great thread and could end up being an equally great concept for a CD. Although some of the music might be dated in style, the really good ones also have an element of the timeless too (imho). Here are some that come to mind:

    "The Old Wells" (Eric Ball); "Portraits from St. Paul's Epistles" and "The Divine Pursuit" by (Bramwell Coles); "On Active Service" (a tribute to George Marshall from Ray Steadman-Allen); and "Confrontations" (Dudley Bright).
  4. kiwiposaune

    kiwiposaune New Member

    How about:

    Canadian Folk Song Suite - Morley Calvert
    To Know Thee - William Himes
    Spirit of Joy - Herbert Rive
    Celebration - Leslie Condon
    New Frontier - William Himes
    The Canadian - Percy Merrit (sp?)
    The Southern Cross - Brian Bowen
    Pleasure in His Service - Bruce Broughton
    I Know a Fount - Tom Rive
  5. Very good choices there. Canadian Folk Song Suite is featured on Origins and seems to have made its way onto quite a few stands now; I saw ISB do it at Clowne too. The Canadian is no.76 in the Festival series and a fine march. New Frontier is rarely played over here I think. If you have heard Cause for Celebration ,this piece feels a bit like New Frontier. There is a certain style to Himes pieces which sometimes make them not so good , IMO I must state.I've only heard New Frontier on ASB cd and it's on an Easton one too I think.
  6. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I'm brain dead (that's why I'm in the office on a Sunday afternoon).....trying to think of the title of another Tom Rive piece in the FS and just can't think of it.

    There is also "Through the Blood of the Lamb" from Ken Downie and I'm also partial to "Lord of the Sea" and "Daystar" (Ray Steadman-Allen). What about "Sons of the Army" by George Marshall? I think that's a terrific march from the early years not heard too often.
  7. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    John, you probably mean his variations on the tune of Monks Gate, which I think he titled "The Pilgrim Song" (I'm feeling a little brain dead too). A New Zealander, Dr Thomas Rive was a world authority on the composer Tomas Luis de Victoria and wrote some very finely crafted music. His shamefully neglected symphonic variations "I Know a Fount" has long been one of my favourites -- to listen to and conduct. He also wrote a beautiful original choral setting of the Easter hymn, "Christ the Lord is risen today".
  8. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Thanks Brian, that's the one. I think both pieces are good examples of wonderful music that, for whatever reason, have been neglected. Now that you've reminded me of the title, A Pilgrim Song was on YBS Essays Vol.3. Tom Rive wasn't prolific but he wrote some "Masterful" music. Arrangements of Colne and Redeeming Love also come to mind.
  9. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Morley Calvert's music seems to be sadly unknown in the wider banding world. I've got a recording of Introduction and Allegro which I think was the test-piece at the inaugural Europeans. It's a great piece which would these days make a good concert item or second section test-piece - although for the purposes of this thread I know it's not a Salvationist work as such. Is there much more Calvert for brass band?

    Is The New Covenant by James Curnow an SA work?
  10. cujo_134

    cujo_134 Member

    Other Calvert works I can think of include For Our Transgressions, My All is On the Altar and The Festive Season.
  11. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    The full title of the piece you mention is Introduction, Elegy and Caprice and was commissioned for the first European Brass Band Championship in London, 1978.
  12. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick, 'Our Captain Cried "All Hands"' - nuffin to do with SA or brass bands, but a good trad folk song. 5/8, I think...

    Sorry, topic... ;)
  13. kiwiposaune

    kiwiposaune New Member

    The New Covenant is indeed an SA work. Jim wrote it (if memory serves) around 1980 when he was conducting the Asbury College Salvation Army Student Fellowship Band.

    A few others that come to mind are:

    The Good Old Way - Bruce Broughton (is that already on one of the YBS CDs?)
    Journey Into Peace - William Himes (I respect your opinion SADrummerJones, but he's a favourite of mine)
    The Suppliant Heart - Brian Bowen
    Song of Courage - Eric Ball
    Concertino for Trombone - Eric Leidzen
    None Other Name - Eric Leidzen
    Wonderful Words - Wilfred Heaton

    I should stop - I'm starting to feel quite old. It is giving me an advanced case of nostalgia, however.
  14. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    The Good Old Way has not, to my knowledge, been recorded by YBS or any other non-SA band.
    I have two recordings of Journey into Peace by Derek Kane and David Chaulk; I agree Dave, it's a good solo and I too like Bill's work.
    Concertino has been done a number of times; I think the best recording I have is by Ian Bousfield, recorded live at Roy Thompson Hall with the CSB.
    None Other Name is on Origins and Song of Courage was on Renaissance (both ISB). Talking of nostalgia, besides Roger Webster and David Daws at the Epic Brass Concert, Wonderful Words was included on the recent Derek Smith compilation in duet with Phillip.

    The one piece on your list I'm not at all familiar with is Brian's The Suppliant Heart. Are you aware of any recordings Brian?

    Also Morley Calvert's arrangement of St. Agnes is not used much (the only time I remember hearing it was back in the Norman Bearcroft - CSB days).
  15. craigster

    craigster Member

    I was glad to see Ray Bowes King's Crusader on the list. I would love to hear that again.

    My other additions would be:

    The Kings Minstrel (R.S-A)
    City of Three Spires (Condon)
    Heroes of the Faith (Skinner) - especially because he is my one year old son's great grandfather and I would love for him to have a goog recording of that!
    Kingsfold (Ballantine)

    While I have been glad to see and hear the non-SA bands record, it seems that they have all picked the same pieces. The literature is much deeper than that.

    There are also a ton of General Series numbers that I would love to hear again. (Remember when you used to have to carry around a music folder and piles of GS books?!)


    (BTW: heard London Citadel Band play Daystar live last night. Our corps band played To The Chief Musician)
  16. AdamJMoore

    AdamJMoore New Member

    It is sad as I have noticed a lot of SA bands starting to neglect a lot of these classics. A currently renowned bandmaster came to do a band weekend and was genuinely surprised when we asked him to take "The Old Wells" and "For Our Transgressions". He gave me the impression that pieces such as these should be resigned. I was a CD purist for many years until last year when I enherited 100+ classic army LP's. I spend a bout 10 hours a week now just taking them out and listening to each one as well as buying them at auction to expand my collection. There are some gems like anything by RSA(Warrior Psalm, Daystar, On Active Service and Lord of the Sea), The Lords Side(Bulla), Symphony of Thanksgiving(Goffin),Song of the Eternal(Condon). I worry that classics will be resigned to fellowship bands, old band reunions or even worse - lost for ever. I would be interested in funding a project to record some classics as I was involved in the original Fuoco Brass recording. I'm in work so I cant check my database but there must be loads of wee gems waiting to be discovered again.

  17. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    We're currently working on "For our transgressions" ready for Easter.

    Further to the comment about "New Frontier" not being played much this side of the Atlantic I'd have to disagree, having played it with at least three bands, particularly when I was depping with Sunderland Monkwearmouth on bass trombone, and found it was the first piece on the stand at practice!

    Other gems would include "Divine Communion", "Songs in Exile", "In wonder beholding" and Wilfred Heaton's "Martyn".

    From the march repertoire "Soldiers of Christ", "Scarlet Jersey", "In the King's service" and "Chalk Farm No 2".
  18. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    'The Crusaders' is a superb concert march by Sir Dean Goffin. Think I have heard it played once in a concert and I only know of one recording.

    Meditation on Sphor by Eric Ball is one piece I played a few years ago at TMS but have not heard it since. From what I remember, it was beautiful.

    'Song of Courage' is one of my favourites but with relatively recent recordings and airings by B&R, the ISB and Enfield...not sure it can be put in the 'neglected' category.
  19. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    The only two I know of are on the 1990 International Congress Recording (double album) put out by SP&S, played by Montclair Citadel Band (Phil Smith), and by Staines Band (Tim Parker) on a more recent CD "Aubade" (SPS 149 CD). Without wishing to sound ungrateful, I would say that on both recordings the tempos can sound dreary -- maybe that's my fault.
  20. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Thanks for all the replies since I started the thread !

    Certainly having some memories stirred here , and reminded again of the wealth of music in the SA repertoire that deserves a wider audience , both in terms of performers and listeners.

    Saw the mention of Bramwell Coles' "Divine Communion" - a few years back picked up a recording by London Citadel band of this along with two other pieces on the album that made a fine trilogy of easter-themed works ( think that "Trilogy" might have been the name of the album if memory serves ) .The other two works were "Road to Emmaus" (again a great piece , particularly the setting of the passion chorale at the beginning ) and another but am blowed if I can remember the third - any ideas ?

    Probably not the sort of thing that you would neccesarily programme for a concert normally , but might be useful material to use at the appropriate time of year.

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