The International Staff Band Of The Salvation Army - Heritage Series Vol 3: Music From The 1950s

Published Friday 16th September 2011
The International Staff Band Of The Salvation Army - Heritage Series Vol 3: Music From The 1950s
The International Staff Band Of The Salvation Army - Heritage Series Vol 3: Music From The 1950s

STYLE: Brass Band
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 115457-18181
LABEL: Salvationist Publishing & Supp 21661
RRP: £13.95

Reviewed by Stephen Luff

After the war there was a general sense of optimism, despite many brass bands losing members. With the widespread radio airplay for Salvation Army brass bands at the time this was a healthy period for the music. The optimism is reflected in a number of the tracks here such as the opener "Motondo" and "Lord Of The Sea". Titles such as "Symphony Of Thanksgiving" and "Heroes Of The Faith" also set the time context for the album. Musically, the album is everything you would expect from the Salvation Army; - the track "For Our Transgressions" is a typical example of superb army brass music, full of emotion and energy. Interestingly, also included is an original 1957 re-mastered recording of "Wondrous Day" with cornet soloist Roland Cobb. However, the recording sound quality seems to suffer from a poor original master - I have heard better quality transfers of songs much older than this. Also featured on the CD is an interview with Staff Bandmaster Dr Stephen Cobb about the project.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Product Description

Post-World War Two, The Salvation Army music scene had an air of optimism. Whilst some United Kingdom corps had benefitted from nearby service camps, most had suffered depletion. Getting back to normality must have been even more difficult in occupied countries. So, by and large, there was a renaissance which led a heady time for many bands. In Britain, radio was allocating generous time to brass banding which included The Salvation Army. Recordings recommenced, and improved travel made tour possibilities at home and overseas more widespread. Audiences were open to new ideas and band programmes were popular.

From a repertoire viewpoint, the Festival Series recommenced with new composers appearing on programmes and sheet music. Established names like George Marshall, Bramwell Coles and many others continued to produce, although at the start of the 1950s Erik Leidzén and Eric Ball were not contributing. The International Staff Bandmaster at the time, Major Bernard Adams, enthusiastically encouraged new writers. On the crest of renewal, the 1950s amassed a large store of ‘immediate’ music, much of which was capable of survival. During the decade, both Eric Ball and Erik Leidzén returned with works like Sanctuary and Concertino for Band and Trombone respectively. Eric Ball’s ground-breaking symphonic variations The Old Wells was followed by Ray Steadman-Allen’s Go down, Moses. The eminent composer Ralph Vaughan Williams had penned Prelude on Three Welsh Hymn Tunes. These are just the tip of the iceberg!

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