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First for two composers connected with military music. Victor H Hutchinson’s marches included the still-popular one entitled Strike Command dated 1970, soon after that Command was established as a successor to Bomber, Fighter and Coastal Commands. From a much earlier period, Handel Victor Phasey (1862-1913), whose father was a euphonium player with the Coldstream Guards and then a Professor at Kneller Hall, was a bandsman with the Royal Artillery and sundry civilian bands; later he formed his own. He settled in New York and ran a music publishing business there, but ill-health compelled his return to England, where he died. His marches included King Edward the Peacemaker, The First Life Guards Call, Beautiful Willow Grove and Honourable Artillery Company, but few, if any, of them are heard today.

Frank Perkins’ compositions included a Fandango from 1963 and an overture, The Falklands (1982, celebrating that year’s military events), both for orchestra.

Two brass band composers to finish with. Brian Bowen was responsible inter-alia for Euphonium Music and a rhapsody, Day of the Spiritual, the latter published in 1982 by the Salvation Army Publishing Co.; in 1984 he arranged for brass band Michael Tippett’s orchestral Suite For the Birthday of Prince Charles, thirty-six years after its composition. Peter Graham, born in Lanarkshire in 1958, is a more serious composer for brass, as the symphonic study Dimensions and Prisms show, but his Prelude to a New Age and perhaps The Essence of Time, twice recorded, are rather lighter in character.

Philip L Scowcroft

January 2001

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Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

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