Royal Artillery Band

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The Royal Artillery Band is a British military band and orchestra originating in 1557, but granted official status in 1762. Consisting of woodwind, brass, strings, and percussion instruments, it represents both the Royal Regiment of Artillery, and the State. It was until 9 February 2014 one of eight State bands, based in London, and out of these was the oldest. It has the distinction of being the oldest military band in the United Kingdom in continuous service.[1] The Royal Artillery Orchestra (of the Royal Artillery Band) [disbanded on 9 February 2014] had the distinction of being Britain's first professional orchestra.[2]

It was announced on 30 July 2013 that the Royal Artillery Orchestra will cease to exist in favour of a forthcoming 'State String Orchestra', following the most recent cuts to Army Music.

On Sunday 9 February 2014, the Royal Artillery Band, and a specially formed 'Veterans of the Royal Artillery Band' paraded on General Gordon's Square for the last time in their home town of Woolwich, thus ending a 252-year era, before relocating to join their regiment at Tidworth Barracks, Wiltshire.[citation needed] They will move to a new barracks in Tidworth in April 2014. The Band spent Christmas 2013 in Afghanistan, where they carried out their wartime role,[citation needed] as well as continuing to entertain the troops, and accompanying such celebrities as Gary Barlow, and Katherine Jenkins. Its present accommodation in the historic Georgian Royal Artillery Barracks is due to become home to a forthcoming new 24-piece State String Orchestra.[3][citation needed]

History[edit]

The Royal Artillery Band is the oldest in Britain [4] with a history stretching back to the 16th century. It served as the musical arm of the artillery branch of the British Army (the Royal Regiment of Artillery).

The RA Band lyre, (No. 1 dress version) as worn only by the Royal Artillery's musicians, and on the right forearm (rather than the standard army 'bandsman's lyre' which is worn by all other Army bandsmen and musicians, on the upper arm)

In May 1660, the Lifeguards had their 'unofficial' kettledrums and trumpets. They also formed a band proper in 1763 after the end of the Seven Years' War. The Grenadier Guards had their 'unofficial' fifes and drums in 1685 (some accounts state 1665), but their band proper was not founded until 1783 along with two other "bands of the Foot Guards".[5] According to the St. James Evening Post in 1725, two French horns were added to the Grenadier Guards' fife and drum band. Prior to 1763, all bandsmen were civilian musicians who were raised as required, and released when not. The Artillery's 'unofficial' fifes and drums date back to 1557, since which time, they were in constant service. The Royal Artillery formed a band proper (i.e. 'official') in Minden, Germany in 1762 prior to the end of the Seven Years' War, with official approval granted. Unofficially the Band already existed in the regiment (we know this from the specially designed kettledrum carriage built for them in 1689 in Germany), consisting of a minimum of eight non-permanent musicians who were double-handers, performing on either oboe and violin, or bassoon and violin, and was augmented (often by musicians from the King's 'Royal Band, and civilians) as required. In 1717, twenty "Artillerie" string players augmented the Royal Band at the first performance of Handel's Water Music. From 1763 permanent bands began to be adopted by other British Army regiments, and gradually were given official approval. The Royal Artillery Band's first eight full-time professional musicians were drawn from their native Germany, and were required to play both wind, and stringed instruments as the Regiment had been accustomed to expect, and were known as 'double-handers' (a requirement that remained until 2013). Within their first two years at Woolwich, all of the eight musicians had been replaced by British musicians.

It was announced in a press release by CAMUS on 29 July 2013, that all orchestral capability in British Army bands would be terminated [3] in favour of a new 24-piece 'State String Orchestra'.[6] No mention was made of retaining Royal Artillery string players, except that the new orchestra would consist of ex-Guards string players (actually ex-Royal Artillery string players who had been retained by transferring them to the Guards).[citation needed]Press and MoD articles subsequently appeared from May 2014, stating that the first of the principal string players and leader had been appointed in the new orchestra, by now named the Countess of Wessex String Orchestra, and that they were from the Royal Artillery. Various positions were also advertised openly, in the hope of attracting established musicians from civilian sources.

The Royal Artillery Band and the Royal Artillery Orchestra (Britain's oldest orchestra)[7] are significant in the history of British music, and in particular, of British military music, as being two of the oldest permanent musical organizations in the world, and can trace their origins as far back as 1557.[5] The Band is closely linked to the English Artillerymen (Honourable Artillery Company), and the subsequent formation of the English Artillery regiments, which would eventually become the Royal Regiment of Artillery, and for the rise of the Royal Horse Artillery at the command of the Duke of Marlborough, and later also for the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery (formerly the Riding Troop).

Origins[edit]

The first documented accounts of music in the "English Artillery" date back to 1557 at the battle of St. Quentin, where the Artillery had their "drumme and phife (or fyffe)". Bands known as 'Hoboys' (Fr. hautbois = oboes) of the French Horse Grenadiers appeared throughout the English cavalry and foot guards regiments during campaigns, but were disbanded immediately afterwards, as "surplus to requirements". The regiment did however, appoint permanent drummers at least from 1751, because the Royal Clothing Warrant of that year states that the drummers "were clothed in red. lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with blue, and laced with the royal lace (i.e. 'royal livery' as still worn today by the Household Cavalry Band). The royal lace is a 22-karat gold braid with two thin purple stripes. The English Artillery's musicians expanded into an eight-piece ensemble consisting of 4 oboes and 4 bassoons, with each of the musicians required to also perform at Court on a stringed instrument, and increasingly at regimental dinners. The eight musicians were hired by the officers of the regiment, and disbanded after every event. It wasn't until 1762, that a total of eight musicians would be hired permanently by the Regiment. By 1717 twenty musicians from the 'Artillerie' augmented the Royal Band of King George II aboard a barge on the River Thames, situated "close to the Royal Barge" for the first performance of the 'Water Music', by George Frideric Haendel (Händel - later Anglicized to 'Handel'). The 'English' Artillery (the title 'Royal' was first used in the Regiment's appellation in 1720) raised additional musicians on ad hoc terms for occasions such as these, reverting immediately afterwards to the permanent eight. The composer Händel once again enlisted the musical services of the 'Artillerie' on 27 April 1749 at the Royal Fireworks in Green Park. [The number of musicians augmenting the Royal Band on that occasion is unspecified, but particular mention of the "Artillerie kettledrums (of a particularly large pattern)" is nevertheless well documented. Kettledrums were confined to royal events in those days, and only the Lifeguards otherwise used kettledrums, but of the standard size, or in battle. In Germany, all kettledrummers were licensed to play them, and had to belong to the Guild of Kettledrummers]. The King had also requested that "no fiđels (stringed instruments) be used", but the composer wrote on the score that all the oboe and bassoon parts should be doubled on strings (these players were again drafted from the Artillery) thereby confirming Handel's defiant intention to use string players regardless of the King's express wish.

Prior to those given by Handel, all public performances of music in England were arranged directly by the Church, with the exceptions of processional music (royal, and military), and music for recruiting purposes. These performances of Handel's music are the first recorded in Britain, that were not connected to the Church, and among the first in Europe. Their popularity gave rise to occasional concerts before fee-paying audiences, and eventually to the existence of the first civilian professional orchestras, and the building of public concert halls.

At the formation of the now 'Royal Artillery' in 1720, a special unit of artillerymen which had been in existence since 1537 by royal charter, and which incorporated the Artillery Pikemen who date back to c. 1450 - the Honourable Artillery Company - was designated a ceremonial role, and in this capacity, they continue to exist, still maintaining their own band, the Band of the Honourable Artillery Company. The Honourable Artillery Company (now part of the British Army Reserve) is the oldest regiment in continuous service in the British Army (the Royal Militia of the Island of Jersey, were formed 1337 but had a break in service to the crown from 1946-1987). The Honourable Artillery Company have always maintained through their ceremonial duties, close links with the Brigade of Guards. The Regimental Band recruits a large number of ex-serving regular army musicians from Royal Artillery, Corps of Royal Engineers and Guards bands as well as those straight from civilian life. Apart from their source of musicians, there is no connection between the Honourable Artillery Company, and the Royal Artillery. In 1830 King William IV decread that the HAC's ceremonial uniform should be modelled on that of the Grenadier Guards. The HAC are regarded as a City of London regiment, being the closest Territorial Army regiment to the "Square Mile"'. All City of London regiments (the oldest of these being the Royal Fusiliers) are entitled to wear red tunic and pelt headdress on parade.

The origin of these pikemen in fact predates the formation, in 1485 under the reign of King Henry VII, of the 'Yeoman of the Guard of the State' (the Royal Bodyguard) and of the Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London (the Palace and Fortress Guard), whose identical livery is based closely on that of the pikemen of the period, from a time when helmets (rather than the Tudor hat), and breastplates were worn by all three bodies. The Yeoman Warders broke away from the body of the Yeoman of the Guard when the king gave up his residence at the Tower of London, which remained a royal palace, and therefore still required royal guards. One can readily identify the Yeoman of the Guard by their shoulder belts on an otherwise identical livery.

The original kettledrums of the Royal Regiment of Artillery were of a uniquely large pattern, and were mounted on a carriage, designed especially for the purpose, modelled on the already extant Prussian drum carriages, and which were drawn by six white horses. The first appearance of the carriage was during the Irish Rebellion of 1689. In 1751 the drums were described as being painted blue at the forefront, with rims in red, and carrying the arms of Great Britain. In 1772 the carriage was employed at the funeral of the first Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill. Until 1756 it remained in permanent use, and stored in the Tower of London (where the artillery guns were made), where it was eventually destroyed by fire in the mid-nineteenth century.

The uniform worn by the kettle-drummer, the driver, and the leader, was not the usual uniform of the Royal Artillery. Instead, they wore court livery, as is still seen worn by the drum majors and mounted musicians of the Household Cavalry, on royal and state occasions as of 2013. The entitlement of the Royal Artillery Band to wear court livery (or state dress) still remains, though nowadays it is never exercised, and is largely forgotten. A painting by J. Wootton, in the possession of Her Majesty the Queen and dated at around 1759, shows the drum carriage bearing the Artillery kettledrums, with the kettledrummer, driver, and rider dressed in state dress, and likewise, two mounted trumpeters halted behind the carriage. However, today's Royal Artillery [State] Band does maintain the distinction of being the only band in which each and every one of its musicians wears, as part of his ceremonial uniform, a band sword at the waist. These distinctive short swords were presented to the Band by the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria.

The Royal Artillery Band is also the British Army's only band whose members wear gold belts and gold crossbelts (all other bands wear white, where a crossbelt forms part of the uniform, apart from the Corps of Royal Engineers, the Royal Corps of Signals and now amalgamated Royal Corps of Transport who wear a crossbelt containing a high proportion of gold), as well as a uniquely styled musician's lyre badge, rather than the standard army bandsman's lyre. In 1994, because of the Royal Artillery Band's role supporting the ceremonial duties of the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, it was granted permanent "State" status, thereby becoming the eighth, and only non-Household Division band to carry that status. It is for this reason that the Band continued to remain at Woolwich instead of relocating with the Regiment to Larkhill - the new permanent home of the Royal Regiment. On 7 February 2012, the King's Troop relocated from St. Johns Wood, to Woolwich. The Royal Artillery Band had however, assumed temporary State status on a number of significant occasions during the past. The Band will cease to be a State band in 2014, when, owing to funding cuts announced in 2013 in Army Music, it will lose its string capability, be reduced in number, and relocate to Tidworth, in Hampshire.

Both the Royal Regiment and the Royal Artillery Band have always been particularly important to the British monarchs, since the Prince of Wales (later King George IV), first regularly sang with the Band. It was George IV who was responsible for the Royal Artillery Orchestra's regular concerts, given at Windsor Castle - the first concerts in Britain performed by a professional orchestra (leading to the famous Woolwich Town Hall concerts, which continued until 2011). Indeed, Her Majesty the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, as well as holding the honorary rank of Colonel-In-Chief of several other regiments, also holds the prestigious rank of "Captain General" both of the Royal Artillery and of the Honourable Artillery Company.

Fifers were added at the instigation of the officers of the Regiment to the Royal Artillery Corps of Drummers in 1748 on a permanent basis, and this unit continued until after the Crimean War, when it became a bugle band. It soon became apparent that the musicians were becoming bored with the limited five-note compass of the instrument, and so they persuaded the instrument maker, Henry Distin to supply them with sets of his newly patented chromatic attachments, to enable the bugle to have the same compass as the cornet. This proved very successful, particularly after the furore created on Woolwich Front Parade, when two buglers performed the Mess Call, playing 'The Roast Beefe of Olde England' in (inadvertent) two-part harmony. From that time, the 'keyed bugle' went into production. In Europe, and among the English troops, fifers, drummers (and pipers) have always been fighting soldiers, acting additionally as stretcher bearers as necessary. There is no record, however, that this was ever the case in the Royal Artillery.

Towards the end of the Seven Years' War (1756 - 1763), the 'modern' Royal Artillery Band was founded and formed by Lieutenant Colonel W. Phillips, at the Battle of Minden (1759) in Germany in 1762 and granted official status. Phillips had much experience of seeing and listening to the Prussian bands, on which he unsurprisingly modelled his band. The following year, the musicians were now permanent paid members of the British Army, stationed now at Woolwich, to the south east of London, at the home of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Prior to this period all bands (other than the RA Band) were raised only for special occasions and purposes, after which, they were disbanded. The bands were not paid for by the State, but by the officers of their particular regiments. Article 3 of the Band's 'Articles of Agreement' state that the musicians "will be looked upon as actual soldiers and cannot leave the regiment without a formal discharge." Immediately afterwards they were dissolved. In 1783, we see the first mention of "three Foot Guards bands, each of 8 performers." Woolwich has been the home of the Artillery since the fifteenth century, as an important defence position guarding the port of London, and the Tower of London - the original home of the Royal Arsenal, where everything associated with artillery and grenades was produced, before a new arsenal was built at Woolwich.

Development[edit]

The now officially recognized 'Royal Artillery Band' numbered eight players who "should be proficient upon the [oboe] and [bassoon] - four of each instrument".[citation needed] The articles of the band were written in German, but were also available translated into English, by virtue of the fact that the first eight musicians employed were German military personnel. The fact that the band was raised in Germany is by no means unusual, since many of Britain's senior military bands were also formed there. British bands were modelled directly on the Prussian bands, and according to the Duke of Cumberland (the son of King George III, and descendent of the House of Hanover) "It will be utterly impossible to form a brass band, because such instruments require Germans, who alone can play the trumpet as it should correctly be played".[citation needed] As was the custom of the Prussian, and South German bands, the eight musicians were required to play ten instruments, the instrumentation being: two bassoons; two bassett horns; two horns; two 'clarionets', and two oboes. Many of the greatest German composers wrote prolifically for this combination. The German composer W.A. Mozart wrote his Divertimenti for Wind, and his Wind Serenades specifically for these military bands. By 1783, the Honourable Artillery Company had nine musicians, and the Royal Artillery had twelve. This decreased to ten performers in 1794. Soon the instrumentation would include two trumpets, and two flutes.

The officialization of all other already existing bands in 1763, following that of the Royal Artillery Band in the previous year, meant that individual regiments and corps were now responsible for paying to maintain their own musicians and bands. Except for the Royal Artillery Band, which was paid directly by the Government, all other bands were funded by their regiment's and corp's officers. In the cases of the other bands, their officers usually paid well, to ensure that their bands were well-equipped with uniforms and instruments, although 'undress' uniforms had to be paid for by the bandsmen themselves. The regiments and corps therefore set in place the idea of the 'band fund'. The Royal Artillery Band was therefore at a financial disadvantage, because Government funding and pay remained fixed, and according to budgets. This led to the necessity for the Royal Artillery musicians to advertise and accept private engagements, which were usually within marching distance of the barracks (at the time, there were no railway lines into London, and horse-drawn transport was both expensive, and time-costing to arrange, not to mention being unavailable when the regiment was deployed). For this reason, and until the present day, the tradition of the Royal Artillery Band has always been to stand down the musicians every afternoon and evening, when they are not required for regimental duties.

By November 1787, the Band (by now stationed at Woolwich) was under the command of its 'Master-Musician' Friederich Wiele, also an outstanding violinist. Among the eight musicians, there now numbered five Englishmen, and all of the musicians were capable of performing on stringed, as well as on wind, instruments. In 1795 the bandmaster George McKenzie described the band as possessing fifteen musicians. The rank of 'Musician' was still peculiar to the Royal Artillery alone; the rank of 'Private' was usual in all other bands, with the term 'bandsmen' used instead of 'performers' or 'musicians' (during the 'Options For Change' discussions between 1993 and 1996 it was finally decided to abolish the system of regimental bands of the line, and to retain only the staff- and corps- bands. Today, there are no 'bandsmen' in the British Army, as those remaining in service all hold the appointment 'Musician').

In 1802 the Band had recorded twenty one performers (the increase was probably owing to the absorption into its ranks of the Band of the Royal Irish Artillery, on its disbandment in 1801). The proficiency of the musicians led to the desirability of more bands to entertain the numerous artillery regiments of the day. King Louis 14th of France devised his own orchestra, the '24 Violinists of the King' based on the military orchestras of the day (in 1626) which infers that either those extant in Germany, or that of the still unofficial Royal Artillery Band were seen as models. Until the death of Queen Victoria, and for a great many years beyond, the standard of the Royal Artillery Orchestra remained unsurpassed in Britain. The Orchestra continued to be regularly engaged, by royal command, to play during and after state banquets at Buckingham Palace, and Windsor Castle. Many first performances were given by the Orchestra, including, in 1868, the overture to 'Die Meistersinger von Nűrnberg' conducted by James Smyth. This piece would not be performed in this country by a civilian orchestra until the Philharmonic Orchestra of London included the work in a programme in 1882.

For almost five years (1805–1810), the Band was under the charge of Colonel Charles A. Quist, the Commanding Officer, even though a Herr M. Eisenherdt had been appointed as Master Musician. Colonel Quist, who by 1810 had assumed the appointment of Band Commandant suggested the initiation of a series of vocal and orchestral concerts, known as the "Royal Artillery Concerts". These were held every week during the winters, at the RA Officers' Mess, and were conducted by some of the most distinguished musicians in London.

While under the direction of George McKenzie, Master Musician (1810–1845), King William IV, having heard the Band play at the launching ceremony in 1883, of a ship in Woolwich, commanded the Band to play at the royal palace within the very same week (George McKenzie was appointed at the insistence of King George IV to Lord Bloomfield). King William wanted to present the Band with a pair of sterling silver kettledrums, but was disappointed when they were instead made of copper, enamelled, and "beautifully painted", so he also presented the officers with a superb candelabra. The inscription on the kettledrums reads "Presented by His Majesty King William IV., 1833)." In 1815 the Band of the Coldstream Guards had risen to twenty-two 'bandsmen', while in 1812, it is also recorded that the Royal Artillery Band comprised thirty-eight 'musicians'. By regulations, all bands, except that of the Royal Artillery which was not controlled by the War Office, were restricted to ten players and a bandmaster in 1821. In 1823, regulations permitted fourteen players, by which time, the Royal Artillery Band numbered thirty-nine. At this time, the finest bands in the kingdom were the Royal Artillery Band under George Mackenzie, and the Court Military Band of George IV, directed by Christian Kramer. The nineteenth century was a period of experiment and refinement among the instruments of outdoor music. The most successful of these instruments, were the saxophones (c. 1840), patented by Adolphe Sax, which although are regarded popularly as 'woodwind', are actually single-reed brass instruments. The Royal Artillery Band were quick to adopt the alto and tenor members from the family of nine instruments, which became useful in supporting the clarinets.

William Collins was Master Musician of the Band from 1845 until 1854. His successor James Smyth (1854-1881) enjoyed many first performances, notably with the Orchestra of the overture to 'Die Meistersinger' by Wagner, in 1868. This overture was not performed by a civilian orchestra in this country until in 1882. One of the popular composers to be featured in programmes during this period was Ludwig (a.k.a. Louis) Spohr. Smyth was succeeded by Albert Mansfield in 1880. In 1852 the Royal Artillery Band was ordered to play in the funeral procession for the Duke of Wellington.

The halcyon days of the Band, and particularly of the Orchestra, began in 1881 under the baton of the eminent Moravian conductor, and composer, Ladislao Zavertal. His reputation had preceded him, and audiences swelled quickly at his Woolwich concerts, which included appearances by many distinguished guests, leading to frequent state banquet performances, by royal command of Queen Victoria. The audiences often included such devoted luminaries as Sir Edward German, Antonín Dvořák, and Sir Edward Elgar - the latter drawing inspiration from the Orchestra in some of his own compositions. Dvořák, a personal friend of Zavertal's visited him at his home in London on many occasions, and sought his advice on scoring for orchestra. His Symphony No. 9 ('From The New World') was rehearsed by the Royal Artillery Orchestra at Woolwich under the observation of the composer. Zavertal recommended he re-score the chromatic scale passages, originally designated to the strings, instead, for woodwind (in those days, string players performed chromatic scales by sliding between whole tones, which, at speed, was not always convincing. It was many years, before the now standard 'half-step' fingering system would be adopted by string players. The result impressed Dvořák greatly. The symphony was first performed privately in 1893 to an invited audience in the Royal Artillery Theatre. Zavertal introduced to Britain, music by Smetana (overtures and incidental music from 'Prodana Nevesta', and 'Vitava'). On hearing the band for the first time (at a church parade), Dvořák commented "It sounds like a beautiful organ." Zavertal became the most highly decorated military bandmaster (bandmaster = director of music) of all time [see 'Section 10' below]. On 22 November 1899 he was presented with a gold-mounted baton bearing the Imperial Crown, and inset with amethyst, garnet, sapphire, and diamond gem stones, as on the actual crown. Two years later, the Band would be required to play in the funeral procession for the late Queen, headed by the Royal Artillery Mounted Band, and would also become the first band (as both orchestra and band) to play at the Queen's Hall, on 21 March 1902.

At the International Music Festival in Le Havre in 1925 the Royal Artillery Band won three first prizes, plus the coveted Conductor's Medal.

Standardization of military bands, including instrumentation, sheet music, and drill, was an obvious requirement, if different bands were to perform together. Carlo Boosé, Bandmaster of the Scots Guards (himself German) recognized the need for uniformity of instrumentation. In 1845 he produced the first British publication of a military band arrangement, which was received with such great enthusiasm, that the firm Boosey & Co. provided the funds to establish 'Boosé's Military Journal'.

The number of musicians in the Royal Artillery Band had risen to over seventy, by 1856, and by 1890, there were over a hundred performers. In 1856, the Duke of Cambridge proposed the acquisition of Kneller Hall, at Whitton, near Twickenham, for the permanent use of training Army musicians. Approval was received from all commanding officers, by way of a circular, on 4 December, and the first music class was scheduled to take place on 1 January 1857. The Royal Military School of Music was initially supported well by the majority of military bands, but with only four pupils to represent the Household Cavalry and Foot Guards. However, both the Royal Artillery, and Royal Engineers Bands continued to train their musicians exclusively at the Royal Artillery Junior Musicians Troop, at Woolwich - a practice that would continue until the 1980s, later also including musicians from the Band of the Royal Signals (The Corps of the Royal Signals developed from the Royal Engineers Signals Unit, and was established in 1920). In 1894 there were a hundred and eighty-eight bands in the British Army, and this rose to a hundred and ninety-eight in 1926. It can be seen that for a small town to host this prestigious band was a big event, such as when Herne Bay invited the band to open its newly extended Central Bandstand in 1932.[8] Over the next sixty-seven years, the number of bands would decline.

During the Second World War, the Royal Artillery Band was allotted a war station in Yorkshire, where it was responsible for tours in the Northern and Scottish Commands, and also completed a single tour of Northern Ireland. Towards the end of the war, the Band returned to London to serve the South Eastern Command, where it also provided a small detachment at Watford. There even existed a 'Royal Artillery Travelling Orchestra', which was conducted by the composer Robert Still, to support the main band, by allowing them to concentrate on their regimental and ceremonial engagements. The war years saw many associations between the Band, and fellow Gunner celebrities, such as Max Jaffa, Eric Fenby, Harry Secombe, and Spike Milligan, as well as recordings, and broadcasts with the Orchestra, for Vera Lynn, which it shared with the RAF Concert Orchestra, Mantovani and His Orchestra, and Roland Shaw and His Orchestra. After the war, the Band resumed its enviable position of being the band of choice for the most prestigious of national occasions. One of the most notable occasions took place on 30 November 1954, when the Royal Artillery Band gave a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in honour of their great admirer, Sir Winston Churchill, on his 80th birthday.

At the height of Queen Victoria's reign, the number of band personnel in the Royal Artillery rose to over one hundred and fifty, including its 'symphony orchestra' of over eighty musicians. The massed bands of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, must therefore have been a truly formidable sight, particularly in the company of the Royal Artillery Mounted Band "The largest mounted band ever seen" - (reprinted in 1984 in The Times), and the various other minor artillery bands that also existed. By the end of the so-named 'British Empire', its size had reduced, but it continued to grow again, until, in 1977, the Band comprized one hundred and twenty musicians, and on special occasions could be seen on parade with the Regiment's massed bands - the Royal Artillery Mounted Band (forty-seven strong), and the (forty strong) Royal Artillery Alanbrooke Band). In 1980, the Army Board had come to the conclusion that the Royal Artillery Band, the Royal Artillery Mounted Band, and the Royal Artillery Alanbrooke Band, would be required to adopt a wartime role. At that time, there were sixty-eight bands in the Army, and apart from the Royal Artillery bands, all of them fulfilled the traditional wartime role as stretcher bearers. It was decided that in the case of the Royal Artillery bands, the musicians would be trained as drivers, and all three bands quickly ensured that their members were trained and qualified as HGV 2 drivers, with additional experience driving 10-tonn Monarch trucks, during Operation Lionheart, in 1982.

From 1993 onwards, the musicians would be retrained, not as stretcher bearers, but as qualified medical assistants. These included members of the by now disbanded Royal Artillery Alanbrooke Band, who formed the nucleus of the newly founded Band of the Army Air Corps (1993). The disbandment of the only surviving satellite band of the Royal Artillery, was one of several, owing to the Options for Change directive, as a way of cutting costs in Army Music, to reflect the 'downsizing' of the Army in general. This occurred partly for historical reasons (the Army Air Corps was born out of the Glider Pilots of the Royal Artillery), and partly because of the initiative and foresight of their director of music, Captain (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Geoffrey Kingston. A major consideration, however, was the orchestral capability that the Royal Artillery Alanbrooke Band had developed in Germany, beginning with its director of music, Captain (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Frank Anthony Renton. At the beginning of 1993, the total number of bands remaining in the Army was just sixty-three.[citation needed]

Two specific advantages that the Royal Artillery Band and Orchestra have over all other bands, owing to its unequalled long, and continuous history, are its music libraries, and collection of musical instruments. The two libraries, one devoted to the military band, and the other to the orchestra, are the largest private music libraries in the United Kingdom. Many rare publications are in the Band's possession, that were purchased upon, or soon after publication, during times when all new publications were purchased by them as a matter of course. The libraries have also included original manuscript scores and parts, by Mozart, Haydn, and C.P.E. Bach, all dating from the visits by these composers to London, and by Beethoeven through his London-based publisher. Later, printed scores by Smetana, Zavertal, and Dvořák were presented to the band. Among the orchestra's collection of stringed instruments, were complete quartets and sets of Italian instruments by Landolfi, Gofriller, Rogeri, and others, as well as by English luthiers, Norman, Banks, Craske, and William Forster - all commissioned by the band during the lifetimes of these makers. Several instruments purchased from the firm Hawkes & Son, during the early part of the Twentieth Century, have seen their labels be removed to reveal underneath them, that these were made by such makers as Pedrazzini, and Fagnola. Instruments by all of these makers are highly sought today. Nowadays, instruments are purchased by the Corps of Army Music, at Kneller Hall. Certain instruments owe their very development to the Royal Artillery, such as the modern French horn, and the cornet (developed from the keyed bugle [itself derived from the post horn], first designed, and manufactured for the Royal Artillery Brass Band).

Today's busy schedule includes regular public duties, such as the Changing of The Guard, and investitures at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, as the musicians continue to support Royal Artillery regiments throughout the country, appear at ambassadorial duties worldwide, and play at private engagements (necessary for providing an income towards instrument purchase and repairs, and new music scores and parts). Royal Artillery musicians have performed in the United States of America, Canada, South Africa, Africa, New Zealand, Hungary, China, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, throughout Scandinavia, and the Benelux countries, and more recently in Russia for the 2011 Moscow Tattoo. The military band has also performed on a number of occasions at the Edinburgh Tattoo to a worldwide television audience. Presently, owing to the present size of the Royal Artillery Band, it can no longer simultaneously provide an orchestra and marching band, however, the full orchestra continues to maintain symphonic capabilities. Until recently, and since 1993, the only other band capable of providing a full symphony orchestra, was the Band of the Royal Engineers, at Chatham. Other ensembles currently provided by the Band include a concert band, a brass quintet, a string quartet and sextett, a jazz quartet, a woodwind quintet, and a contemporary Rock orchestra called 'Voice of the Guns'. The Orchestra appeared in 2011 as 'House Band' at the first revival of the Royal Tournament (1884 as 'Royal' - 1999) at Earls Court, London. The marching bands taking part were those of the Household Cavalry, the Royal Marines, and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.

Notably, the Orchestra has toured with various musical celebrities in the recent past, including Nigel Kennedy, Sir Harry Secombe, Anne Shelton, Moira Anderson, Carlos Bonnell, John Ogden, Stephen Isserlis, Hayley Westenra, David Russell, and Semprini, to name a few. There is evidence that that the Royal Artillery Orchestra, or musicians from its ranks, are paving the way towards more involvement between military musicians and contemporary artists in a commercial capacity, including, so far, with Stanley Cornfield, and the Strawbs, with Rick Wakeman (Stanley Cornfield: 'The Seawall' [CD]; The Strawbs 40th Anniversary Volume 2 [CD & DVD]). This welcome trend is not however, completely unprecedented, as members of the Royal Artillery Band, and Royal Artillery Mounted Band, augmented the London Symphony Orchestra on their first 'Classic rock' album on LP, in 1976. The original gatefold album sleeve includes a photograph of timpanist John Keel in ceremonial dress.

The founder, director and conductor of the New Sousa Band, Keith Brion embarked on a series of recordings of the complete works of John Philip Sousa in 2000 on the Naxos Label. The series is expected to reach sixteen volumes, and encompass marches, waltzes, operatic, and concert works, by the finest military bands and orchestras. Volumes 1 to 8 were recorded by the Royal Artillery Band, conducted by Keith Brion.

Uniforms[edit]

The present uniform of the Band was created for the massed bands of the Royal Regiment of Artillery for the official birthday parade for Her Majesty the Queen, on Horse Guards Parade, in June 1986. The tunic replaced the No. 1 Dress Jacket, and was quilt-lined. More elaborate gold braiding was added, with emphasis on rank of the wearer. Patent leather boots were worn by the 'other ranks' for the first time. As the famous Royal Artillery Mounted Band had been disbanded in 1984, the only other regular Army band to appear on that parade, was the Royal Artillery Alanbrooke Band (disbanded in 1993). From the Territorial Army, the Regimental Band of the Honourable Artillery Company contributed to the massed Artillery bands on that occasion.

The Royal Artillery musicians' uniforms are based on the officers' pattern ceremonial uniforms of the past. From its uniform are derived (in some cases almost identically) the uniforms of the bands of the Royal Canadian Artillery, the Royal Australian Artillery, the Royal New Zealand Artillery, and the Royal Netherlands Artillery (indeed the latter even have their equivalent of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery). Slight differences are obviously evident between the nations, for example, the Band of the Royal Canadian Artillery wear white plumes, and do not wear spurs. The Royal Artillery Busby (based on the standard Hussars-pattern head dress) was also adopted by the Corps of Royal Engineers and the Royal Corps Signals, from the Royal Engineers, came the unusual busby as worn by the Royal Air Force Music Service until 2011.

Ceremonial dress[edit]

Head dress

RHA officers' pattern sealskin (formerly bearskin) busby (not to be confused with the bearskin cap, as worn by soldiers in the Guards, and Infantry), with tall white plume (ostrich feathers) attached to ferrule to the top of the front. Lanyard looped around cap. Red busby bag apparently, in during the Napoleonic period, the bag could contain dried fruit (raisins) for sustenance when times were hard. It is also said that the other ranks' horse hair plumes were used in place of a shaving brush. Black leather chin strap faced with brass links. Only worn by King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery officers, and Royal Artillery directors of music.

Tunic

RA officers'-pattern ceremonial tunic (worn only by Directors of Music) in navy blue felt, quilt lined. Standing collar, fastened with hooks, and cuffs in scarlet felt, with scarlet piping to front button-hole edge. Ornate edging, and 'Austrian knots' in 18K gold twine braide. RA officers'-pattern bomb badges sewn onto collar. Gold epaulettes. Worn on the right arm is the unique Royal Artillery musician pattern lyre, in 18K gold wire on a black felt background. All other musicians in the British Army wear the standard bandsman pattern lyre, with the exception of musicians from The Household Division who do not wear a lyre on their uniforms.

Accessories[edit]

Crossbelt

Leather, covered with 18K gold panel and braiding, attached to which is an RA officers'-pattern embroidered pouch at rear.

Waistbelt and swordbelt with sling

In matching pattern to the crossbelt (above).

Trousers

Navy blue cavalry-pattern tight-fitting cavalry-style pantaloons, with wide RA stripe in scarlet felt sewn onto outside of each leg. Leather straps with buckles are attached to the bottoms of the legs, which fasten under the arch of the boots.

Footwear

Cavalry officers'-pattern George boots in black patent leather, with box fittings in heels, for detachable silver spurs. Boots are secured by leather straps attached to hose.

Other ranks[edit]

Ceremonial dress[edit]

Head dress

Other Ranks: RA sealskin [sable] busby (often artificial nowadays), with six-inch scarlet plume (horse hair) slotted into brass plume holder, in the form of a grenade, with the old-patern RFA cap badge depicted on the 'bomb'. The plume (formerly scarlet cut-feathers) is held closed by a brass ring (a thicker ring is used on the Drum Major's headdress). No lanyard attached to cap. Red busby bag (as above). Black leather chin strap, faced with brass links. A similar busby is worn by the musicians of the Royal Engineers, and Royal Signals bands, with busby bags in their own Corps' colours, with the plume mounted in a similar plume holder to the side of the cap. The Bandmaster's busby is similar to that worn by the Director of Music, but the white plume is smaller. At various times during the Band's history, other forms of head dress were worn, according to fashion. These included the bearskin cap (similar to that worn by Guardsmen), the shako, and the pith helmet (identical in shape to the Victorian police helmet). Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, the RA No. 1 Dress peaked cap was worn as the sole form of ceremonial head dress. Unlike in all other bands, the Royal Artillery Band has always included a bandmaster as assistant to the Director of Music. Since the reorganization of bands, and the foundation of the Corps of Army Music, a bandmaster has been appointed to each band in the standard roll of Training Officer / Musician.

Tunic

Bandsman-pattern navy blue felt tunic, quilt lined. Standing collar, fastened with hooks, and cuffs in scarlet felt, with scarlet piping to front button-hole edge. Ornate edging (with emphasis on rank held reflected in gauge), and 'Austrian knots' in 18K gold twine braide (with emphasis on rank held reflected in gauge). Other ranks'-pattern RA bomb badges (gold twine) sewn onto collar. Worn on the right arm is the unique RA Musician lyre badge, in 18K gold twine on black felt (all other British army musicians wear the standard Army bandsman-pattern lyre badge).

Accessories[edit]

Crossbelt

Leather, covered with 18K gold panel and braiding, attached to which is a cavalry standard-pattern pouch at rear, onto which is mounted a brass RA gun badge. For other bands in the British Army entitled to it, a standard white unpatterned crossbelt is worn (except where mentioned above). Depending on the instrument played, a crossbelt may cause damage to the instrument, or be restrictive to movement. Therefore, not all musicians wear a crossbelt. Similarly, certain musicians will be seen to wear a protective bib, or apron, normally in a complementary colour to their individual band uniform.

The purpose of the crossbelt pouch, was so that an officer or senior rank could post an important message into the courier's pouch, by unhooking the leather tab, inserting the note, then securing the flap, in the briefest possible time. The courier would then ride off at speed to deliver it. In some bands - a tradition still held by the bands of the footguards, larger pouches were used to store march cards (cards measuring approximately 180 mm x 130 mm on which the individual instrumental sheet-music parts are pasted). The march cards are held, to enable the player to read his part, in a heavy duty clip (known as a 'lyre') which is attached to his instrument. At the back of the lyre, but facing forward, is placed the 'backing card', to hide the music from the view of the public. The backing card normally shows the 'cap badge' of the regiment or corps.

Swordbelt

In matching pattern to the crossbelt (above).

Band sword

A unique-pattern short sword hooked onto the swordbelt. The hook protrudes through the tunic, allowing the sword to hang visibly. Only worn by the Royal Artillery Band. The sword has never been worn by other Royal Artillery bands. The Bandmaster, Drum Major, and Band Sergeant Major carry the standard British Army sword, as worn by warrant officers.

Trousers

Navy blue cavalry-pattern tight-fitting cavalry-style pantaloons, with wide RA stripe in scarlet felt sewn onto outside of each leg. Leather straps with buckles are attached to the bottoms of the legs, which fasten under the arch of the boots.

Footwear

Cavalry-pattern George boots in black leather (nowadays patent leather), with silver spurs screwed into the heels of boots. Boots are secured by leather straps attached to hose.

Drum Major[edit]

The Drum Major, as the figurehead, and leader of the marching band, historically always wore a more flamboyant uniform to emphasize his special status. Today, in the Royal Artillery, this is shown by the amount of gold braid and facings on his uniform, an elaborately decorated crossbelt, and a heavier plume ring, holding closed a taller scarlet cut-feather plume. He carries a mace, which is used to signal his commands to the musicians, in conjunction with vocal commands as required. The signals are closely observed by the bass drummer, who then administers a drum signal which is audible to every musician. This is necessary, because the musicians must concentrate on reading from their [sheet music] parts. There was a period when the RA Drum Majors wore, contrary to the rest of the Band, a tall bearskin cap (similar to that worn by the Guards regiments), with a plume rising up one side of the cap, and draped round the crown, and down the other side.

Following the Drum Major's command a mace signal indicates to the drummers (bass and side drums)when to commence the drum rolls. In the tradition of most regiments, Royal Artillery troops step off after two sets of three-pace drum rolls are sounded, in quick march time. Guards regiments traditionally step off after one set of five-pace rolls. When the Royal Artillery Band appears on parade at the same time as troops and bands from the Guards and other regiments, a seven-pace drum roll is sometimes used to differentiate between themselves, and all other bands, with the Royal Artillery taking precedence. With the exception of the Guards' five-pace roll, which equals six beats, all other combinations of rolls consist of eight beats (or two bars in quadruple time).[9]

Master Musicians, Band Masters, Directors Of Music (1762–1994)[edit]

In 1994 the Royal Artillery Band and Orchestra were absorbed in the new Corps of Army Music, which meant that, as with all the bands in the Corps, its musicians could be borrowed by other bands, or be posted to other bands as the need arose. Likewise, musicians from other bands could find themselves playing in the Royal Artillery Band. Effectively, this spelt the end of individuality of sound of all bands, and for this reason, only directors of music, and bandmasters from the original Royal Artillery Band are below.

  • 1762: 'Officially recognized' band is founded by Lieutenant-Colonel W. Phillips at Minden
  • 1771–1774: Anthony Rocca is appointed Master-Musician, or Band Master (not to be confused with the later-designated role of 'Bandmaster' at Warrant Officer Class 1 level)
  • 1774-1777: Georg Kühler, Master-Musician (who later styled himself as 'George Kealer')
  • 1777-1802: Friederich Wiele, Master
  • 1802-1805: Herr G. Schnuphass
  • 1805-1810: Herr Eisenherdt, Master (but with the Commanding Officer, Colonel Charles A. Quist in charge)

1810-1845: George McKenzie, Master Of The Band (a former orchestra leader, Mackenzie was devoted to the development and success of the Orchestra)

1845-1865: William George Collins, Master Of The Band (a corporal in the Royal Artillery Band)

1865-1881: James Smyth, Band Master (pronounced 'Smith'. Smyth conducted the premiere British performance of the overture to 'The Master Singers of Nuremberg' by Wagner in 1868)

Smyth possibly felt that the style 'Master of the Band' was old-fashioned, and could have been influential in effecting its change to 'Band Master.

1881: - An interregnum under Albert Mansfield, Acting Bandmaster following a directive to appoint an established conductor of outstanding reputation

1881-1907: Cavaliere Ladislao Joseph Phillip Paul Zavertal, Bandmaster (Zavertal introduced the 'New World Symphony' by Dvorak, and Smetana's overtures and incidental music to 'The Bartered Bride' and 'Vitava' to British audiences, and raised the standard of the Orchestra to an unprecedented high level, leading to frequent royal command performances by Queen Victoria, whose mother, the Duchess of Kent, composed the majestic 'Royal Artillery Slow March'). Zavertal received the following honours: the Jubillee Medal; the Royal Victorian Order; Cavaliere of the Crown of Italy; Order of the Redeemer (from the King of Greece); Knight Commander Royal Order of Takoya (Serbia), the Commander's Star of the Osmanieh (from the Sultan of Turkey), Society of St. Cecilia of Rome (elected member) and the Saxe-Coburg- Ernestine Order of Art and Science

A conductor of international fame. Prior to his appointment, the Duke of Cambridge, 'Commanding-in-Chief' had issude a Horse Guards letter to every commanding officer praising Kneller Hall's work in producing British bandmaster for the Army: "I am gratified at finding that the system of training regimental musicians for promotion to the situation of Bandmaster - to the exclusion of civilians and foreigners - has worked so well..." The appointment of Zavertal was in fact permitted by the Duke of Cambridge, who was not actually 'Commanding-in-Chief', but rather 'Colonel-in-Chief'. For the first time, we see the term 'Bandmaster' applied to the Master of the Band, which is similar to the current appointment in appearance only. Today, 'bandmaster' is an auxiliary position, held by a Warrant Officer, Class 1.

1907-1936: Major Edward C. Stretton, Director of Music

Appointed for the "continued prestige he will bring the Band" (under Cavaliere (Sir) Zavertal's command, the Orchestra became internationally known, and little emphasis was given to maintaining the standard of the Wind Band. Zavertal was not himself, keen to appear on parades, and was happy to leave this side of the organization to the command of his SNCOs. In 1918, Stretton was awarded the MVO, by King George V.

1936-1955: Lieutenant-Colonel Owen W. Geary, Director of Music

1955-1966: Major Sidney Victor Hays, Director of Music

The recordings made by the band under the directorship of Major Hays are among the most sought-after by collectors of military band music worldwide.

  • 1966-1976: Major Robert Quinn
  • 1976-1985: Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley William Patch

Under Colonel Patch's baton, the Band excelled at light music in particular, and his authoritative knowledge of the music and life of the Strauss family was popularly regarded.

1985-1988: Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Anthony Renton

Colonel Renton later became Principal Director of Music, British Army. An ex-director of music, of both the Royal Artillery Mounted Band, and the Royal Artillery Alanbrooke Band (the only director of music to hold the distinction of having served in all three bands of the Royal Regiment), who is widely regarded as one of the finest conductors to have served in the British Army.

1988-1992: Major Clarence Roberts Collier Garrity

Ex-Director of Music, the Royal Artillery Alanbrooke Band. A consummate composer, arranger, and dance-band performer (saxophone & keyboard).

1992-1996: Major Terence Sean Davis

The final director of music to command the band before its absorption into the Corps of Army Music (CAMus) in 1994.

The 'Bandmaster' in today's British military band is the 'Assistant Conductor' to the Director of Music, and represents him in his absence. Among the performers of the band are the instrumental section leaders, whose job it is, to ensure a cohesive style of playing within their own sections, and where applicable, to be able to play solos. In an orchestra, there is the addition of the Leader (Principal First Violin), who on occasion must be able to direct the orchestra (from the violin), or conduct. An unusual aspect of military bands is that, by necessity, a leader or section leader is selected for being the best exponent on his chosen instrument. The situation arises therefore, on a day-to-day basis, that an ensemble, band, or orchestra, must perform under the command of a musician of any rank, notwithstanding the fact that there may be senior-ranking musicians playing within the sections. The musician in charge is also completely responsible in rehearsal. Such a situation is often difficult to comprehend or accept, even from fellow servicemen. However, it should be remembered, that the musician in charge is representing the Director of Music. Senior-ranking members of the band, although in this case under the command of the lower rank, nevertheless remain at all times in control, in such areas as attitude, discipline, and presentation, leaving artistic control, and interpretation firmly in the hands of the leading musician.

Formation of The Corps of Army Music (1994)[edit]

On 13 August 1994 the Queen signed a warrant to allow the formation of the Corps of Army Music. It was her will and pleasure that all officers who were directors of music in the various corps and regiments, and all army musicians should transfer to the Corps of Army Music. The transfer took place on 1 September 1994. From that time, all bands were accorded a director of music, and a bandmaster. The latter's role being concommitant with that of Training Officer. The 'Private' rank of 'Bandsman' was abolished, in favour of 'Musician' of the former staff bands. Individual bands continue to wear the uniforms and cap badges of the regiments and corps which they support, but their personnel all belong to the same corps. This allows for musicians to be posted to, or borrowed by bands in such cases as a shortage of a particular instrument. It also facilitates the designation of a director of music, or a bandsmaster to a particular band, rather than them being chosen by the senior officers of those regiments and corps. Thereby a long tradition of selection, by the officers of the Royal Regiment has now come to pass. It is perhaps all the more significant then, that the Royal Artillery Band continues to maintain its prerogative in displaying various historical details of identity, such as the wearing of the Royal Artillery Musician's lyre badge, when all other bands have adopted, by order, the various traits of the Corps of Army Music, where a certain uniformity somehow exists among a wide rang of different uniforms. It is by no means uncommon to find that musicians who are temporarily borrowed by other bands to cover, for example, a gap in instrumentation, continue to wear the uniform of the regiment they currently serve, within the other band. This is an anomaly that does not exist in the Royal Marines, or the Royal Air Force, where across each service, the bandsmen's uniforms do not differ in design. It should nevertheless be remembered, that regardless of the uniform worn by a musician, whether that be Coldstream Guards, Royal Artillery or other, he is nowadays a member of the Corps of Army Music, and may find himself serving anywhere within the British Army, and at any time.

The Royal Artillery Band, does not take a direct role in the Trooping of the Colour parade. The Trooping of the Colour as seen on Horse Guards Parade is a ceremony, which involves the whole of the Brigade of Footguards, the Household Cavalry, and nowadays, also the King's Troop (as head of Her Majesty's Household Troops). While other regiments and corps hold similar trooping-the-colour ceremonies, that of the Guards is held annually to celebrate the official birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. The Royal Artillery Band is nevertheless always very much in evidence on the day of the Trooping of the Colour, by taking part in the Royal Birthday gun salute given by the King's Troop in Hyde Park.

The total number of bands remaining after 'Options for Change' was twenty-nine. By 2013, there were just twenty-three.

State Bands

The Royal Artillery Band is the oldest band in the British Army, but the most recent to be accorded 'state band' status. Because bands represent their regiments and corps in public, their order of priority on parade is therefore designated according to the seniority of the regiments and corps represented. Thus, in the unlikely event that all of the following bands should appear together simultaneously, the order of seniority for the state bands would be as follows, based on the troops participating:

Although the Blues and Royals have only existed since 1969, they were formed by amalgamating two of the oldest regiments - the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues), and the Royal Dragoons (the Royals), thereby retaining their seniority.

Regimental music[edit]

British Grenadiers March[edit]

The tune 'The British Grenadiers' was first adopted for use as a regimental march by the Honourable Artillery Company (the oldest British regiment), during the English Civil War. Although grenades were first launched by artillerymen in 1643, the term 'grenade' was only first documented in 1688. Originally a Dutch song, the melody now known as 'The British Grenadiers' was brought to England by King William III of the Netherlands. Soon after the melody became popular in these islands, a version of it, titled 'The New Bath' appeared in a '17th Century Dance Book' by Playford. In the Netherlands, it is known as 'De jonge prins van Friesland' ('The Young Friesian Prince') after Prince Johann Willem Friso. In 1716, the march became the regimental quick march of the Royal Artillery, and was known as the 'Royal Artillery Grenadiers March', but was not declared 'official' until 1882. It first appeared in print, as 'The British Grenadiers' in 1740.

In 1763 the 'British Grenadiers' became the regimental march of both the Grenadier Guards, and the Royal Fusiliers. During the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1713) a text was added, which remains to this day in publications of the tune as a British folk song.

As a regimental quick march, the short duration of the melody has always resulted in unwanted repetition, but in 1983, Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Patch (then Director of Music) provided a suitable solution, by adding the Trio section of another favourite artillery march, 'The Voice of The Guns', composed by Major F.J. Ricketts under the pseudonym 'Kenneth J. Alford'. The popularity of the tune 'The British Grenadiers' during the Napoleonic Wars rivalled that of its contemporary 'Lilliburlero', and subsequently led to its adoption by all regiments who wear as their cap or collar badges, the symbol of the grenade.

The Trayne Of Artillery's Grenadiers March[edit]

Prior to the Royal Artillery adopting 'The British Grenadiers' in 1716 as its regimental quick march, 'The Train of Artillery' (as it is now known) was the rather elegant (medium-) original quick march of the royal regiment. The march later appeared in print for the first time, published by Thompson & Son, London, in 'The Compleat Tutor for the Fife', circa 1760. The first grenadiers, or grenade-throwers were artillery soldiers.

The original military march is scored for eight players, comprising 2 piccolos (in two-part counterpoint), 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, and 2 drums. Two updated recordings exist by the Royal Artillery - one conducted by its director of music Major Robert Quinn (in 18th Century style, albeit for full modern military band), and a contemporary version, arranged and conducted by Lt Colonel Malcom Torrent.

In Georgian times, the musicians ('bandsmen') would walk, rather than march, ahead of the fighting troops onto the battle field in order to help boost morale, and in case of the battle pipes (large bagpipes) even strike terror into the hearts of the enemy. As, one by one, they succumbed to the enemy fire, one must have wondered about exactly how morale-boosting they really were.

The Minden Rose[edit]

The origins of this march are obscure. The piece was first documented as 'Mindener-Marsch', and possibly came into being during the battle of Minden. In style, it is a ceremonial 'Reiter-Marsch', or cavalry march, and probably adapted to accompany the horse-drawn guns of the Artillery, from a German regional folk song.

The Marquess Of Granby's March[edit]

This is the original slow march of the Royal Artillery, and it first appeared in print, published by Thompson & Son, London, in 'The Compleat Tutor for the Fife',[10][unreliable source?] 1765. The Marquess of Granby (the Earl of Rutland) was Master-General of the Regiment (1763–1772), and was preceded by General Ligonier (1759–1763) after whom, a now forgotten slow march 'General Ligonier's March' was named. The appointment 'Master-General' is nowadays known as 'Master Gunner, St. James's Park' (not to be confused with 'Master Gunner', which is a Warrant Officer special skills appointment).

The Royal Artillery Slow March[edit]

The Royal Artillery Slow March was composed by Princess Louisa Victoria, Duchess of Kent, and mother of Queen Victoria (herself "a most competent musician"), circa 1836, and first used in 1843. It is also the regimental walk march of the Royal Horse Artillery, and is also used (but in a different version) by the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Until 1843, when the first 'regimental marches' were officially chosen (at the suggestion of George Mackenzie, Master of the Royal Artillery Band), regiments became accustomed to those marches that were played regularly for representation and recognition purposes, which had usually been composed by the current masters of their bands. With each change of master, marches lapsed into disuse, to be replaced by newer ones.

Regimental Trot 'The Keel Row'[edit]

The Royal Horse Artillery (and cavalry regiments) adopted this Tyneside air in 1903 on its publication by the War Office. This march is one example of the Regiment's intention to cater for all of its troops, drawn, as they were, from all regions of the United Kingdom. By comparison, almost all other regiments have traditionally recruited locally (e.g. the Devon & Dorset Regiment, the Durham Light Infantry,the Royal Hampshire Regiment, the Green Howards, etc.).

Regimental Canter 'Bonnie Dundee'[edit]

The melody of 'Bonnie Dundee' dates back to the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. By 1600 the melody was certainly known all over Scotland and England. It appears in 'The Beggar's Opera' and was used by Robert Burns. It is also associated with a poem by Sir Walter Scott, which commemorates the Viscount of Dundee's bravery in the 1689 rebellion. It is believed that the title of this melody refers to the Viscount of Dundee, rather than to the jute-, and marmalade-producing city of the same name.

Fanfare 'The Royal Regiment'[edit]

The composer Frederic Curzon(b. 1899 London - d. 1973 Bournemouth) was at one time, a Gunner officer. Curzon wrote this fanfare for the opening of the Royal Artillery Association Rally in 1952. Its masterful use of both the RA's and RHA's 'Trumpet Call' typify the composer's penchant for incorporating melodies that he associated with his personal experiences in life.

Of his many lasting compositions, perhaps the most perennial are the suites "Robin Hood", "In Malaga", "Dance Of An Ostracized Imp", "Galavant", and "The Boulevardier", all of which continue to be performed, and recorded by orchestras worldwide. Frederic Curzon frequently performed as an unofficial band member at the Royal Artillery Officers Mess in Woolwich, playing violin, cello, piano, and organ. He was an honorary member of the Royal Artillery Band.

Other notable composers who wrote specially for the Royal Artillery Band include Zavertal, Dvořák, C P E Bach, and Sir Arthur Bliss, Master of the Queen's Music.

The 'Eton Boating Song'[edit]

The 'Eton Boating Song' is not connected to the famous British public school of the same name. It was composed in 1863 by one Captain Algernon Drummond, and transcribed by T. L. Mitchell, and the piano accompaniment was arranged by Evelyn Wodehouse. The words of Kipling's 'Screw Guns' from his 'Barrack Room Ballads' are well known to RA officers and soldiers. Screw guns were so-named, because the barrels could be broken down into pieces, to be carried on mules in mountainous regions. They were last used during the Second World War, by RA Mountain Regiments in the campaign in Italy. The piece was arranged for orchestra, with a transcribed edition for military band, by Karl Kaps, as an 'English' (='slow', with 3 definite beats to the bar) waltz, and published by B. Feldman & Co. London.

First performances[edit]

  • HÄNDEL: 'Music For The Royal Fireworks'*
  • HÄNDEL: 'Water Music'*
  • DVORAK: 'A Symphony To The New World' (World Premiere)
  • WAGNER: Overture, and orchestral music from 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' (British Premiere)
  • SMETANA: Overture to 'Prodana Nevesta' ('The Bartered Bride') (British Premiere)

*Royal Band of King George II/strings and kettledrums of the Artillery Band

See also[edit]

[11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

[18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Ordnance Office Records
  2. ^ Groves Dictionary of Music & Musicians
  3. ^ BBC News London http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-26111473 Retrieved: 12 June 2014
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b Henry George Farmer (1904). History of The Royal Artillery Band. London New York, Boosey & Co. 
  6. ^ "Changes to the Corps of Army Music". British Army. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Frank Renton - Profile". bbc.co.uk. 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Town and Around Herne Bay, issue 61, May 2013: Back from the Brink: The Central Bandstand.
  9. ^ "The Royal Artillery". The British Empire. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Corps of Army Music". British Army. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Kneller Hall Museum". British Army. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Home". Firepower - Royal Artillery Museum. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Band of The Life Guards". British Army. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Band of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers". British Army. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "The Band of the Army Air Corps". British Army. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "The Band of the Royal Logistic Corps". British Army. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Farmer 1904, p. 00.[page needed]
  19. ^ Farmer 1950, p. 00.[page needed]
  20. ^ Farmer 1951, p. 00.[page needed]
  21. ^ Farmer 1954, p. 00.[page needed]
  22. ^ (A)Turner 1996, p. 00.[page needed]
  23. ^ (B)Turner 1996, p. 00.[page needed]
  24. ^ Slonimsky 1990, p. 00.[page needed]
  25. ^ Cassin-Scott, Fabb 1978, p. 00.[page needed]
  26. ^ Fox 1967, p. 00.[page needed]

[24] The Royal Borough of Greenwich

  • The Rotunda Museum, Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich, London

Bibliography[edit]

  • Farmer, H.G. Memoirs of the Royal Artillery Band. London, UK: Boosey & Co., 1904.
  • Farmer, H.G. Military Music. Max Parrish & Co Limited., 1950.
  • Farmer, H.G. Cavaliere Zaverthal and the Royal Artillery Band. Hinrichsen Edition Limited, 1951. ASIN B0007IUBWM.
  • Farmer, H.G. History of the Royal Artillery Band. London S.E 18, UK: Royal Artillery Institution, 1954. ASIN:B000J2ZMY8
  • Turner, G. The History of British Military Bands v2. Spellmount Publishers Ltd, 1996. ISBN 978-1873376089.
  • Turner, G. The Trumpets Will Sound. Parapress, 1996. ISBN 978-1898594383.
  • Cassin-Scott, J, Fabb J. Military Bands and their Uniforms. Poole, Dorset, UK: Blandford Press, 1978. ISBN 978-0713708950.
  • Fox, L.M. Instruments of Processional Music. London, UK: Lutterworth Press, 1967. ISBN 978-0718804497.
  • Slonimsky, N. Lectionary of Music. Anchor Books, 1990. ISBN 978-0385414210.
  • "The Grove Dictionary of Music"
  • "The New Grove Dictionary of Music"
  • "The Oxford Companion to Music", edited by Percy Scholes
  • "The New Oxford Companion to Music", Edited by Denis Arnold
  • "The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music", Edited by Stanley Sadie
  • Sleeve notes from various Long Playing Records, Extended-Play Records, and Compact Disc booklet notes

External links[edit]