Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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allied army. No wonder a staff officer wrote after­wards that it " spoilt the fine effect" of the review. The British officers must have felt ashamed, and no doubt realised for the first time, what an amount of money they had been paying for very indifferent music. Out of about twenty regiments present, on this occasion, only three or four had bandmasters with them. It has been said that the Scots Greys was the only regiment of the heavy cavalry that could boast of a band in the Crimea. The French, on the other hand, maintained their bands in a high state of efficiency throughout the campaign, and it was their standing jest, that their music at lnkerman did as much to drive back the Rus­sians as the bayonets. (A doubtful compliment by the way.) The French, however, did not admit such a ridiculous system as that which found favour with us, into their service. They had their "Gymnase de Musique Militaire" for the training of their bands which had existed since 1836, controlled first by Berr, and then, 1838, by Carafa.
No one was more impressed with the disastrous state of our military music, than a certain bandmaster named James Smyth, a very practical musician, who was at the head of one of our best staff bands—the Royal Artil­lery. Brimming over with ideas for the betterment of our bands, he and another enthusiast, Henry Schallehn, late bandmaster of the Seventeenth Lancers, and then in charge of the Crystal Palace Band, had the temerity to petition the Secretary of State for War on the ques­tion of band reorganisation. They pointed out the
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