Music Programme Notes
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
Sir Edward Elgar OM GCVO
When speaking about the main theme of this famous march, Elgar commented: âIâve got a tune that will knockâem â knockâem flatâ. Also, after the first performance at the proms, the conductor wrote the following:
âThe people simply rose and yelled. I had to play it again â with the same result; in fact, they refused to let me go on with the programme. After considerable delay, while the audience roared its applauseâŚmerely to restore order, I played the march a third time. And that, I may say, was the one and only time in the history of the Promenade concerts that an orchestral item was accorded a double encore.â
Frederick Delius, was born on 29th January 1862. While being fundamentally composing in an English Romantic style, due to his extensive travels across Europe and America, Delius is considered to be a truly international composer.
Â Opera House, Paris (Photo Courtesy of Bonjourparis.com)
La Calinda was written during Deliusâ timeÂ in Paris, whichÂ was known as his âBohemian yearsâ. La Calinda was originally written as a musical interlude to the opera âKoangaâÂ and in moreÂ recent times it has become famous in its own right as a classic work of British Light Music.
La Calinda an example of a style of music which is regularly played by the Bands of the Household Division at Buckingham Palace Garden Parties, summer bandstand performances and evening concerts.
To listen to a sample excerptÂ click here
Great and Glorious
Major Leslie Statham
Statham was born in December 1905 and served in the Army until 1962. Great and Glorious is one of the few marches credited to Statham, although military music enthusiasts will be more familiar with the many other marches written under his pseudonym of Arnold Steck, including Birdcage Walk, The Guardsman and the original Match of the Day theme Drum Majorette.
To Listen to the aMatch of the Day theme Click Here
Excerpts from Fantasia on British Sea Songs
The English Conductor, Henry Wood is best known for founding the world-famous music festival of promenade concerts âThe Promsâ which take place annually in the Royal Albert Hall, in London. His arrangement âFantasia on British Sea Songsâ was composed to mark the Centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. It is performed each year in âThe Last Night of The Promsâ.
Westminster Abbey,Â The Lady ChapelÂ
Crown Imperial is an orchestral march by the English composer William Walton. Walton derived the march's title from the line "In beawtie berying the crone imperiall" from William Dunbar's poem "In Honour of the City of London".
The march was first performed at the coronation of King George VI in 1937 and was substantially revised in 1953. Walton originally composed the march for performance at the coronation of King Edward VIII, scheduled for 12 May 1937, but Edward abdicated in 1936. The coronation was held on the scheduled day, with Edward's brother being crowned instead.Â Â
Crown Imperial was also performed at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, along with another Coronation March written by Walton, Orb and Sceptre.Â
Crown Imperial was performed more recently as a recessional piece to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
John Stanley arr. Collis-Smith
John Stanley was born in 1712. For the majority of his professional life he was the organist for the Society of the Inner Temple, where he worked until his death in 1786.
Trumpet voluntary was written as part of a three volume series of voluntaries for organ to highlight the trumpet stop. However, trumpet voluntaries work particularly well for military band and, due to their uplifting and fanfaric sound, are often used at various State and Ceremonial occasions.
The arranger, Major Collis-Smith, has enjoyed a long career in British Army Music, both within and outside the Household Division. He is currently the Director of Music of the Band of the Household Cavalry.
John Stanley (1712-1786): Trumpet Voluntary Opus 6 number 5
Conductor:Â Major Paul Collis-SmithÂ
Solo Trumpet:Â Lance Sergeant Nick Mott
Performed by the State Ceremonial Musicians of the Household Division
To listen to a sample excerptÂ click here
Theme from the 49th Parallel
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Vaughan Williams was already a most prominent composer having written several notable symphonies, choral works and much incidental music for theatre. The British war propaganda film â49th Parallelâ was his first cinematic score. Though the film itself has dated, the characteristic modal style and folk influence of his music still remains fresh today. This theme was later arranged (1943) into the choral song The New Commonwealth, with lyrics written by Harold Hannington Child.
Jupiter from The Planets Suite
Gustav Holst, arr. Barnwell
Gustav Theodore Von Holst was born on 21 September 1874. He was an English Romantic Composer who followed the stylistic approaches of Ravel and Stravinsky. Holst had tried to enlist at the outbreak of the First World War, but was rejected as unfit for military service due to his health problems. However, we wanted to contribute to the war effort and so volunteered to teach music to the troops under the direction of the YMCA.
In 1918, just as the war neared its end, he was posted to Salonika in Northern Greece to assume the post of Musical Organiser, helping to organise music activities in military training camps and hospitals. Morley College and St Paulâs Girlsâ School both offered him a yearâs leave of absence, but one obstacle remained â his name. The YMCA felt that his surname âvon Holstâ was far too Germanic to be acceptable in such a role, so a prerequisite of him taking up the post was a change of name. He formally changed it by deed poll to the less inflammatory âHolstâ
The Planets Suite was written between 1914 and 1916 and is a series of seven tone poems which were categorised as a collection of Planetary Portraits. Holst said of the pieces that they:
âWere suggested by the astrological significance of the planets. There is noÂ programme musicÂ in them, neither have they any connection with the deities of classical mythology bearing the same names. If any guide to the music is required, the subtitle to each piece will be found sufficient, especially if it be used in a broad sense. For instance, Jupiter brings jollity in the ordinary sense, and also the more ceremonial type of rejoicing associated with religions or national festivities. Saturn brings not only physical decay, but also a vision of fulfilment. Mercury is the symbol of the mind.â
The premiere of Holstâs 'The Planets;Â was at the Queen's Hall on 29 September 1918, conducted by Holst's friend Sir Adrian Boult, before an invited audience of about 250 people. The first complete public performance was finally given in London by Albert Coates conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 November 1920.
âJupiter: The Planetsâ for Symphonic Military Band which features on theÂ âGreat and Gloriousâ album, was arranged by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Barnwell. Lieutenant Colonel Barnwell had a long career within the Household Division Bands starting as a bandmaster of the Irish Guards Band from 1994-95. He returned to the division in 2005 as Director of Music of the same band. In 2008 he moved to the Welsh Guards as Director of Music where he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Senior Director of Music from 2011-2013. During his time as Senior Director of Music he led the massed bands through the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
The last hymn of this movement is commonly known as âI vow to thee my countryâ and has often been used for finale sequences in Beating Retreats and Military Tattoos.
To listen to a sample excerpt click here
Benedictus & Salvation from Songs of Peace
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Haw MBE
Songs of Peace was written to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Benedictus offers a heartfelt blessing for those many millions of souls who perished during the bitter war. A sense of relief and thanksgiving for the end of war is captured in the fourth movement, Salvation. Written in Baghdad,2019, is dedicated to James Jay Turner, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Special Operations Joint Task Force -Operation Inherent Resolve.
At the end of the Second World War, at least 11 million people had been displaced from their home countries, with about seven million in Allied-occupied Germany. These included former prisoners of war, released slave labourers, and both non-Jewish and Jewish concentration-camp survivors.
Sam Pivnik a Polish Jew from Bendzin was one of the many who had been displaced following WWII. During the war Sam was incarcerated in a number of concentration and extermination camps in Poland and Germany, including Auschwitz and he witnessed first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust. In 1945 towards the end of the war with the Third Reich vanquished and the European war almost over, Sam was taken on a SS death march to the west. Sam recalledÂ "there was no talking, just the clatter of clogs and boots on the crunching snow. The monotonous rhythm was punctuated now and then by the crack of a rifle and another heavy bullet, fired at close range, slammed into a fragile body. No bullet ever missed.âÂ Having survived the death march Sam was detained on the prison ship Cap Arcona, which was controversially bombed and sunk by the RAF. Sam was one of the few survivors who managed to swim ashore.
Eventually, Sam went to live and settle in London but it took decades for him to tell his story and when asked why that was he replied:Â
âthat's a simple question, but the answer is complicated. When I first came to London after the war, nobody wanted to know. They all had their own problems - the loss of their own loved ones, blitzed buildings, the 'age of austerity'. Part of me said, 'Forget it. Build a new life. Move on.' But of course, I couldn't forget it. And it is a fact, too, that one day I knew I had to tell my story - because every Holocaust story should be told. Edmund Burke said a long time ago 'those who don't know their history are condemned to repeat it'. The Holocaust happened. And in the terms of History, it happened just yesterday. My generation won't be here forever and one day all there will be of us will be words on a printed page. Sam Pivnik is nobody: just one of millions.â
May 8, 1945, Ministry of Health, London. During the celebrations that followed the announcement of the end of the war in Europe, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and his principal colleagues appeared on the balcony of the Ministry of Health in Whitehall.
âMy dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. Itâs a victory of the great British nation as a whole. We were the first, in this ancient island, to draw the sword against tyranny. After a while we were left all alone against the most tremendous military power that has been seen. We were all alone for a whole year.
There we stood, alone. Did anyone want to give in? [The crowd shouted âNo.â] Were we down-hearted? Â [âNo!â] Â The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle. London can take it. So we came back after long months from the jaws of death, out of the mouth of hell, while all the world wondered. When shall the reputation and faith of this generation of English men and women fail? I say that in the long years to come not only will the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, look back to what weâve done and they will say âdo not despair, do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straightforward and die if need be-unconquered.âÂ Now we have emerged from one deadly struggle-a terrible foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judgment and our mercy.
But there is another foe who occupies large portions of the British Empire, a foe stained with cruelty and greed-the Japanese. I rejoice we can all take a night off today and another day tomorrow. Tomorrow our great Russian allies will also be celebrating victory and after that we must begin the task of rebuilding our hearth and homes, doing our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance, in which all have a duty, and we must turn ourselves to fulfil our duty to our own countrymen, and to our gallant allies of the United States who were so foully and treacherously attacked by Japan. We will go hand and hand with them. Even if it is a hard struggle we will not be the ones who will fail.â
Professor at the Royal College of Music in 1924, Gordon Jacob is credited with over 700 compositions and arrangements, one of which is this arrangement of the National Anthem, which was written for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Front and Back cover photo credit Sergeant J Ellwood
The Queen Victoria Memorial is located in front of Buckingham Palace and comprises the Dominion Gates (Canada Gate, Australia Gate and South and West Africa Gates), the Memorial Gardens and a vast central monument commemorating the death of QueenÂ Victoria in 1901. The monument is 25 metres high and uses 2,300 tonnes of white Carrara marble. As well as Victoria, there are statues representing courage, constancy, victory, charity, truth and motherhood.Â
The central monument, created between 1906 and 1924, is by Sir Thomas Brock, but the whole design, including the Memorial Gardens, was conceived by Sir Aston Webb. The Memorial was formally unveiled by King George V in 1911.
The Memorial GardensÂ
The Memorial Gardens were created in 1901 as part of Sir Aston Webbâs overall design for a memorial to Queen Victoria after her death that year. The formal flowerbeds are laid out in a semi-circular design around the central memorial and are a familiar sight during the many of the famous processions and ceremonies that take place in this area. Replanting of the beds in summer requires approximately 22,500 plants, including geraniums, spider plants, salvias and weeping figs. Scarlet geraniums are used to match the tunics of The Queenâs Guard at Buckingham Palace. In winter time the beds are filled with about 50,000 yellow wallflowers and red tulips.