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ELGAR AND HIS PEERS: The Art of the Military Band. London Symphonic Concert Band / Tom Higgins. Somm

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Elgar And His Peers London Concert Band Tom Higgins Somm

Elgar and his Peers: The Art of the Military Band
Elgar, Beecham, RVW, O'Donnell


London Symphonic Concert Band / Tom Higgins

With the encouragement and support of the Elgar Society, Somm are pleased to announce the release of a recording devoted to music arranged or expressly composed by Elgar for Military Band. In addition, music by some of his contemporaries makes the CD an original and important addition to the catalogue. First recordings of Elgar's- With Proud Thanksgiving from 1920 and The Queen Alexandra Memorial Ode from 1932 with the London Symphonic Concert Band and the Joyful Company of Singers, are real gems.

In January 1920 Elgar began arranging, for Chorus and Military Band, a much-shortened version of For the Fallen from his Spirit of England. These were wartime settings of verses by Laurence Binyon. This new version had been commissioned to be performed at the unveiling of the Cenotaph in London on 11 November 1920 and was arranged, for Military Band, by Frank Winterbottom. As it was, the ceremony at the Cenotaph was curtailed and Elgar’s music never performed. Although he arranged With Proud Thanksgiving for orchestral accompaniment, this is the first time the listener can hear how Elgar originally conceived the piece. Twelve years later Elgar set, for similar forces, a poem by John Masefield, the Poet Laureate, written to commemorate the unveiling of the memorial to the dowager Queen Alexandra who had died in 1925. Unfortunately, the arrangement for Military Band has been lost and conductor Tom Higgins has made his own arrangement especially for this recording.

Arrangements of Pomp and Circumstance Marches two and five are also included as is the version for Military Band of Elgar’s Severn Suite from 1930 and his arrangement of two Bach Chorales originally performed from the top of the tower of Worcester Cathedral in 1911. Elgar’s contemporaries are represented by Vaughan Williams his well-known Sea Songs and the complex and challenging Toccata Marziale. The disc is completed by the premiere recording of Sir Thomas Beecham’s March from 1946 and Walton O’Donnell’s charming Three Humoresques from 1923.

SOMMCD0170

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