Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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opera, was specially composed by Handel as a parade slow march for the Grenadier Guards before it was introduced into " Scipio." This opera was composed in 1726, and we may reasonably infer (accepting the truth of the story) that the band of the Grenadier Guards at this date was certainly no "hole and corner " affair to attract the attention of Handel. The stately old march is still played by this band under the title of the " Royal Guards March." While speakĀ­ing of marches, it may be of interest to mention a march which Samuel Wesley composed when a boy, specially for one of the guards' bands, part of which was published for pianoforte in the " Musical Times," March, 1907. What the original arrangement was is not stated. It was probably the march composed in 1777 for horns, oboes, bassoons and serpent mentioned in the list of his works.4
Of the development of the bands of the foot guards, we have an account in the "Musical Memoirs" of W. T. Parke, one of the leading oboe players in London at the close of the eighteenth century. The author says: " The bands of the three Regiments of Guards consisted in 1783 of only eight performers, two oboes, two clarinets, two horns and two bassoons. They were excellent performers on their instruments, and hired by the month, being well paid. They were not attested, and only played from the parade at the Horse Guards to St. James's Palace while the King's
4 Grove, "Dictionary of Music," etc.
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