Just hearing word tonight that Lt Col Ray Steadman-Allen has been Promoted to Glory. A sad loss to those of us from an SA background, although he was a good age . A true giant of SA brass banding.
Sad news. As with Jim Y., parallels with Arthur Butterworth spring to mind. Both were a similar age, and both wrote intriguing music for band that didn't tend to pander to the tonal blandness desired of brass band music, though coming from different places to do so. Because of that, the works of neither have been given the performance opportunities that they richly deserve. Both are musical voices that are sadly missed and not easily replaced. Brass bands as a whole have shamefully neglected both RSA and AB, preferring to stick to the unthreatening tonalities of those composers that have seen favour in recent years.
The basic truth is that both were writing quality music for band 30-40 years ago that bands still reflexively shy away from today in the main. And this is not 'difficult' music to listen to - to pick an example, Seascapes is excellent music that is broadly tonal, very underplayed, and as always with RSA, requires everyone around the stand to think a bit in order to bring off a good performance. It would be a great tonic to have a year's area pieces selected from the works of either composer, in tribute. For RSA, I would suggest: Ch: Seascapes; 1: The Beacons; 2: The Holy War; 3: [not sure as don't know the candidates - how about Amaranth? Or Chorale?] ; 4: Stantonbury Festival. I'm sure there are plenty around here with a more extensive knowledge of his works who could point to other good candidates.
Seascapes and Chorale. Played the latter at one of the early first section Nationals (about 20 years ago?) and really enjoyed it, but it's never been seen since as far as I know. Such a shame.
A sad loss, although as Elvis says, a fine innings and a great legacy of music left.