Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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one officially recognised in the "Army Estimates," in which allowances were made for one bandmaster, one sergeant, two corporals and eighteen musicians (who received a special rate of pay) together with one hundred pounds per annum for the supply of music and instruments. It must not be thought that the Artillery were specially favoured. The explanation is to be found in the fact that prior to 1855, Horse Guards had nothing to do with this branch of the service, which was controlled by a Board of Ordnance.
At this time, the "grovelling superstition" as Glad­stone called it, was abroad, that none but foreigners knew anything of musical matters, and so we find the majority of the bandmasters, and not a few bandsmen in our service were either Germans or Italians, a circum­stance which reflected little credit on our national enterprise, to say nothing of assisting the popular delusion about "unmusical England."
Some officers actually selected their men personally when abroad, others would approach some distinguished musician to recommend bandmasters to them, just as a certain colonel of the Fourth Dragoon Guards impor­tuned Mendelssohn for this purpose. The majority, however, were supplied by the various firms of instru­ment makers.
Although the government allowed a sergeant in each regiment as bandmaster, the latter invariably refused to be enlisted except perhaps in a corps whose officers had short purses, when an attested man meant less ex­pense, and therefore insisted upon. Occasionally we
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