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The Crown Imperial

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London Symphonic Concert Band, Tom Higgins, Director

Britain witnessed four coronations in the 20th century. Four new monarchs came to the throne whose praises were played and sung throughout the land, indeed throughout the world. The eleven marches recorded here display an excitement and grandeur appropriate to an important state and religious occasion. They also highlight some of the finest ceremonial music composed in the 20th century, while reflecting the changing styles in music over the years.

Some of these marches have never been recorded by a concert band before, despite transcriptions being made soon after their composition and this SOMM CD shows how, in times past, the public would have first heard these pieces. Many composers were either commissioned or inspired to commemorate these events, ranging from the ever-popular Elgar, Walton, German and Saint-Saëns to the less familiar Sir Alexander Mackenzie, the forgotten Percy Godfrey through to the more contemporary Bax and Bliss. John Philip Sousa, the celebrated American composer and conductor also caught the spirit of the moment with one of his legendary marches.

London Symphonic Concert Band

The newly formed London Symphonic Concert Band directed by Tom Higgins has been assembled by Tom Higgins, Hale Hambleton and Leslie Lake and marks a new venture in British symphonic wind music. It consists of experienced players who have played for years in leading British orchestras and relish the opportunity to perform and record repertoire that they obviously enjoy performing. Some of the Band’s members are also drawn from concert bands and from prominent Forces’ Bands.

Tom Higgins

Conductor Tom Higgins’ previous recording for SOMM (SOMMCD 243) was Elgar’s The Fringes of the Fleet with Roderick Williams and the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra. This was the work’s first professional recording since Elgar’s own in 1917. It drew wide critical acclaim and became Classic FM’s ‘CD of the week’ when it was released, in 2009.

This is a superb performance” — Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph.

Tom Higgins later directed a private performance of the work for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.  Higgins has also released through the BBC Music Magazine the world premiere recording of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s last completed work for the stage — The Rose of Persia. Chosen by The Observer as ‘Classical CD of the Week’, it features the Hanover Band.

During his early conducting career, Higgins was mentored by the late Sir Charles Mackerras whom he later assisted in the reconstruction of Sullivan’s Cello Concerto. He has also created a portfolio of solos for the international violinist, Midori. In 2011 he conducted the Sir Charles Mackerras Memorial Concert at the Royal Academy of Music.

On This Recording

  1. Imperial Edward
  2. Marche du couronnement: Marche du couronnement, Op. 117 (arr. M. Retford for wind ensemble)
  3. Coronation March: Coronation March, Op. 63 (arr. J. Mackenzie-Rogan for wind ensemble)
  4. Coronation March: Coronation March (arr. C. Godfrey for wind ensemble)
  5. Coronation March: Coronation March, Op. 65 (arr. T. Higgins for wind ensemble)
  6. Coronation March: Coronation March (arr. D. Godfrey for wind ensemble)
  7. The Crown of India Suite: The Crown of India Suite, Op. 66 (arr. F. Winterbottom for wind ensemble)
  8. Crown Imperial: Crown Imperial (arr. W.J. Duthoit for wind ensemble)
  9. Orb and Sceptre: Orb and Sceptre (arr. N. Richardson for wind ensemble)
  10. Coronation March: Coronation March (arr. G. Pollen for wind ensemble)
  11. Welcome the Queen March: Welcome the Queen March, Op. 95 (arr. W.J. Duthoit for wind ensemble)