Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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BANDS OF MUSIC.                             69
Guard was mounted, and back again from there to the Horse Guards. Lord Cathcart, an officer of the Cold-streams, desired the band to play during an aquatic excursion to Greenwich. This the musicians deemed incompatible with their respectable musical engage­ments and they declined to do it. The officers, who had to subscribe the pay of the band, became desirous of having a band which they could command on all occasions, and a letter to that effect was written to the Duke of York, colonel-in-chief of the regiment. The duke being at that time in Hanover, consented to the wish of his officers, and, with the approval of the king, a band of a much larger number than hitherto employed, and entirely composed of Germans, was sent over. It consisted of twenty-four members, and included clarinets, horns, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, trombones and serpents, whilst three black men were employed to beat the tambourine and carry a crescent."
Pohl, in his "Mozart and Haydn in London," gives an account similar to the above, adding that this Guards' band reached such a state of perfection as "to attract the public to St. James's Park," where it performed daily, and moreover gave the idea to the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV) of forming his famous court military band.
Parke and Pohl are wrong, however, in one particular. The regimental records show that this first band of attested soldiers for the Coldstreams was formed in 1785, when twelve (not twenty-four) musicians were enlisted in Hanover by the Duke of York, one
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