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Band of the Grenadier Guards

Fields of Honour
Conductors: Major Mike Smith & WO1 Sarah Marinescu
Guards Chapel
Friday 28th July

'Fields of Honour' was presented by the Band of the Grenadier Guards to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

After the Gordon Jacobs setting of the 'National Anthem', the concert continued with 'Fanfare for Heroes', an extended piece for fanfare team and percussion by Sir Arthur Bliss. Kenneth Alford's rousing 'Voice of the Guns' preceded an arrangement of 'The Wasps', with effectively-scored buzzing introducing the bright and breezy overture.

Excellent finales

The two soloists featured were both making their final appearances with the band: The first, trombonist Sgt Lewis Henaghan, making light work of two sections of 'Dance Sequence', interlinking well and giving an impressive cadenza.

Bandmaster WO1 Sarah Marinecu took over conducting duties for more Jacobs; with 'Original Suite' displaying his renowned orchestration skills. 'Cole Porter - A Symphonic Portrait' concluded the first half, with several familiar melodies finishing with 'Wunderbar'.

Bandmaster WO1 Sarah Marinecu took over conducting duties for more Jacobs; with 'Original Suite' displaying his renowned orchestration skills. 'Cole Porter - A Symphonic Portrait' concluded the first half, with several familiar melodies finishing with 'Wunderbar'.

Fields of Honour

Sousa's 'Bullets and Bayonets' is not particularly well known, perhaps because it does not show him at his best, although in contrast 'Fields of Honour' by Thierry Deleruyelle, commemorating the Battle of the Somme, certainly did.

It opened with a call to battle, with horn and trumpet calls as well as church bells accompanying the strangely light-hearted scene. Descending scales warned of the impending disillusion and suffering, with trumpet, oboe and piccolo sounding in a bleak landscape.

A chorale led to a counter-attack with the lower brass dominant, as the battle settled into a deadly stalemate.

Good effect

C Sgt Mike Altree's smooth euphonium sound was heard for a final time to good effect in 'You Raise Me Up', whilst Martin Ellerby's 'Silent Movie Suite' gave the players an opportunity to explore its contrasting movements depicting Hollywood fanfares, chases, romantic interludes and a slap-stick finale.

'Mars' with its menacing driving 5/4 rhythm was relentlessly played before 'Grenadier Elegy' combined 'The Last Post' with 'The Grenadiers March' leading into the 'Camus March' and 'British Grenadiers' and the spirited encore of Stefan Wolpe's swing arrangement of 'Stars and Stripes Forever'.

Peter Bale

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