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Martin Cooke

Remembrance

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I'm sure that church organists on the forum have lots of ideas for First World War composer items for Remembrance this year. In amongst other things, you may like An Eton Memorial March by CH Lloyd available on IMSLP, and don't forget Air from Serenade in G by EJ Moeran in that pink Novello Wedding Miscellany album - (it's the one with the Percy Fletcher Festival Toccata in it).

 

Do share other ideas please!

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Vaughan Williams - Prelude from Phantasy Quintet arranged by Marco Lo Muscio and available from him. Lovely piece!

A

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There is a collection of Four Pieces by Ernest Farrar who was killed in the First World War in 1918. The volume contains his Fantasy-Prelude Op.5, Prelude and Variations on a Ground Bass Op.22, Elegy Op.13 and A Wedding Piece Op.18. Farrar was taught by Stanford and he himself taught Gerald Finzi. The collection is published by fitzjohnmusic@btinternet.com Please forgive the commercial!

 

DKP

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An army firend of Farrar was the writer J. B. Priestly who was also present at the assault in 1918 when Farrar was killed.

 

A

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I found a rather good transcription of the first Wind Band Suite by Holst on imslp, composed in 1909 and first performed in 1922 so it kind of covers that era. The first movement, Chaconne, does work well. More in the marching vein but none the worse for that and if you have uniformed organisations then that sort of thing does strike a chord. The other two movements are also good.

I know I mentioned it before but if anyone still wants a transcription of the Royal British Legion March then please pm me for a free and legitimate copy.

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Elgar Solemn Prelude from For the Fallen (1915); Parry Elegy (1913); the little Bridge piece if the Parry Volume (comp 1918); Theres also three chorale preludes by Farrar - including a short blazing treatment of St Ethelwold.

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My copy is entitled "Two Preludes and a Postlude" published OUP 1926. Allegro offer it (at £6.50) as part of their archive print service.

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The 'Sunset' bugle call might be considered, following Capt Green's arrangement for military band. I realise it is not contemporaneous with the first world war, having been composed somewhat later (I think) in the early 1930s, but it is used widely by the UK's armed forces bands on a range of occasions commemorating various conflicts. Unsurprisingly, given its title, it is particularly effective in the evening in my opinion, and it does not need to be played loudly. In fact it can sound very beautiful with the opening solo played quietly on an enclosed and 'distant' reed. If you use it, be aware that congregations might stand, following the lead of any military people who may be present. So do not be disconcerted by this!

 

CEP

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The 'Sunset' bugle call might be considered, following Capt Green's arrangement for military band. I realise it is not contemporaneous with the first world war, having been composed somewhat later (I think) in the early 1930s, but it is used widely by the UK's armed forces bands on a range of occasions commemorating various conflicts. Unsurprisingly, given its title, it is particularly effective in the evening in my opinion, and it does not need to be played loudly. In fact it can sound very beautiful with the opening solo played quietly on an enclosed and 'distant' reed. If you use it, be aware that congregations might stand, following the lead of any military people who may be present. So do not be disconcerted by this!

 

CEP

This is indeed a very beautiful and poignant little piece, dating from 1932 and based upon the Retreat call, renamed Sunset as Colin rightly points out. A couple of years back I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find this music, to no avail (the Royal Marines forum even proved fruitless as they said that the army bands all have their own copies and it was never officially published). However (!) - I sat down and transcribed it as best I could from a BBC broadcast as I wanted it for our school band for a very special occasion; the presentation of a Battle of Britain Memorial Plaque to an old boy who was still alive and kicking very well indeed. He was also, to my great delight, in the same squadron as my uncle (219 squadron, Bristol Blenheims, their motto was 'From Dusk to Dawn'). I have just dug this band arrangement out as I am sure Colin might find this of use and interest (it is reduced for Organ by the way). If anyone else would like one then please send a pm.

Simon Gregory

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I am most grateful for Simon's response and interest (Simon - I'll be replying personally shortly - thank you). As to the piece itself, it is one of those which has the power to move me as much as any. For reasons which are unimportant here, I once stayed at a military establishment where it was played outside every evening by a sole bugler, the sun behind him (weather permitting), an experience which I still carry with me and shall never forget.

 

Like Simon, I found it extraordinarily difficult to track down, and in fact never succeeded. So I was delighted many years ago to find a member of a local organists' association during an organ crawl (events not regarded highly by some members of this forum!) had transcribed it much as Simon describes. He kindly sent a copy of his manuscript to me and I have used it many times since.

 

CEP

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