Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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BANDS OF MUSIC.                             67
describe in a pompous manner merely the effects of wind instruments in martial music, there had been no occasion to quit London; for at St. James's, and in the park, every morning, we have now an excellent band; and hitherto, as I had not seen more soldier-like men in any service than our own, so the music and musi­cians of other places, exceeding ours in nothing but the number and variety of the instruments; our mili­tary music, at present, must seem to have made great and hasty strides towards perfection, to all such as, like myself, remember, for upwards of twenty years, no other composition made use of in our foot guards than the march in ' Scipio,' and in our marching regi­ments, nothing but side drums."
Frederick Nicolai (1733-1811), another musical litterateur who visited Vienna in 1781, speaks in terms of high praise of a military band which consisted of two shawns (? oboes), two clarinets, two horns, one trumpet, two bassoons and a side and bass drum, and expresses astonishment at Burney who heard it while he was collecting materials for his great history, yet did not think it worthy of mention.3 After reading Burney's encomium of our bands, we can quite under­stand why he failed to notice the Viennese band.
Burney's reference to the march in " Scipio/' is ex­tremely interesting, since it partly confirms the tradi­tion which Rockstro mentions in his " Life of Handel," that the well-known strains which open the first act of
' Kappey, "Military Music."
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