CD cover - The Sound of BritainThe Sound of Britain

24-May-2002

The Household Troops Band of the Salvation Army
Conductor: Major John Mott
Soloists: Carl Saunders and Keith Loxley
SPS CD 156
Total Playing Time: 70 mins approx

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For those people who don't know much about the Salvation Army it may come as a bit of a surprise to know that the organisation has in fact got a Household Troops Band in addition to the usual Citadel and Staff bands that we have come to know so well.

Formed in 1885 as originally called "Life Guards" they were something of musical pioneers for the Army in the early years as they undertook gruelling oversees tours to Canada (in 1887) which lasted six months with no guarantee offered other than food and clothing. They were also actively involved in the historic occasion at Whitchurch in Hampshire where in 1889 over 800 Salvationists were persecuted for conducting open air services and as a result the Army won a landmark legal case where the right to play and preach in the open was established.

Some six years after this, the band was disbanded to make way for the new International Headquarters Staff Band that finally became the world famous International Staff Band we know today. This then is a band with a proud and famous history and on the evidence of this recording, one that has very high standards of musicianship.

Major John Mott has plenty of excellent talent at his disposal and makes the most of it throughout 14 tracks that show off the bands musicianship and technique to the full. In addition the band has two very fine soloists at its disposal and both Carl Saunders (who we have heard perform well on many occasions) and Keith Loxley show why they are so highly regarded by fellow brass players. Both give fine renditions of their chosen solos.

Most of the repertoire comes from the Salvation Army library cupboard, which overflows with gems and treasures, and so we get to hear some lovely arrangements from the likes of Erik Leidzen, Norman Bearcroft, Morley Clavert, Phil Catelinet, Peter Graham and Andrew Mackereth. The inspiration for many of the tracks is obvious, but it is still a delight to hear well-turned phrases, measured melodic lines and an intuitive understanding of the relation between the words and music.

The "Spitfire Prelude and Fugue" is also given a very neat airing, as is the "Sound of Britain" suite that is upbeat and lively and well controlled. The soloists we have already mentioned, and they are high class, whilst the vast majority of the ensemble work is competently handled.

The other tracks come across well with the Peter Graham track, "Ask!" and Robert Redhead's "Fanfare of Praise" two of the highlights for us. It's also nice to hear Morey Calvert getting a bit of airtime. There is also some lovely arrangements and playing in Kenneth Smith's "Britannia" and Andrew Mackereth's "Time to Shine".

Plenty of good quality playing and some lovely arrangements that make this a welcome and interesting release. It's a bit different and well worth taking the time to seek out.

What's on this CD?

1. Manhattan, Erik Leizden, 2.05
2. The Sound of Britain, Norman Bearcroft
a) Loudly Proclaim, Early one Morning, 3.44
b) Wi’ A hundred pipers, 2.42
c) The meeting of the Waters, 2.07
d) To mow a Meadow, 2.04
e) London Bridge is falling down, The British Grenediers, Ilkely Moor, 2.21
3. For our Transgressions, Morley Calvert, 7.42
4. Clear Skies, Eric Ball, Soloist: Carl Saunders, 7.34
5. Deliverance, Phil Catelinet, Soloists: Carl Saunders and Craig Snell, 3.40
6. The Spirit, Ray Steadman Allen, 4.41
7. Fanfare of Praise, Robert Redhead, 4.13
8. Britannia, Kenneth Smith, 4.29
9. Spitfire, Prelude and Fugue, William Walton
a) Prelude, 3.51
b) Fugue, 4.39
10. Ask!, Peter Graham, 3.12
11. The Holy Well, Peter Graham, Soloist: Keith Loxley, 4.24
12. Great Day, Norman Bearcroft, 3.07
13. Time to Shine, Andrew Mackereth, 2.49
14. Jubilee, Paul Drury, 2.38

Total Playing time: c. 70 mins

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