As with many of The Salvation Army's early day innovations, brass bands were an unplanned grass roots development. Indeed, the Army's founder William Booth confessed, 'Captains...and bands of music were not in my mind'.
It began in 1878 with a local brass quartet supporting Booth's evangelistic visit to Salisbury. The experiment proved both an attraction and an aid to the singing. The idea speedily caught on, often assisted by local teachers. Hymns and religious songs were the staple diet.
The taste for further material was catered for by established band publishers but soon the emphasis on Salvation Army purposes led to the setting up of a music department and in-house publication. In its infancy, Salvation Army music was largely a stringing together of three or four tunes and initially bands did not play other than to assist congregations. The concept of 'performance' was frowned on but there was a growing understanding of the functional value of instrumental music. As amateur composition was encouraged, by World War One there was a respectable library of fairly developed music. The 1920s saw the appearance of names which subsequently became notable and flowered fully as evidenced by the representative items on this CD.
The traditional Salvation Army method of journal publication often leads to the neglect of older music and this series, played by the modern day ISB, is designed to preserve works which deserve survival well beyond their heritage interest.
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