Sunday, July 26, 2009

An important anniversary

Back in 1909, band music was changed forever. A number of composers began writing for wind band, called Military Band at the time. The first big piece composed for band was done 100 years ago by Englishman Gustav Holst, the First Suite in Eb for Military Band.

Up to this point, band music was marches and orchestral transcriptions. Holst was the first to use the color and texture of the band instrumentation in his original music.

The Eb Suite is still one of the most widely played in band literature. One of the things I find amazing is that, given the number of times I've heard the piece, it does not grow old. To me, that is a true mark of greatness.

A number of British composers followed Holst and wrote original music for band. Because of this movement for band music in England, we have the Vaughn-Williams Folk Song Suite and Toccata Marziale, and we have so many pieces from Percy Grainger and Gordon Jacob.

My guess is that you will hear many of these pieces this summer at your favorite band concerts. The wonderful band music being written today traces it roots back to this movement in England a century ago. And we get to enjoy it all!

1 comment:

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