Rhapsody in Brass is in three movements and was written for the British Open Championships in 1949, held at Belle Vue in Manchester. The contest winners were Fairey Aviation Works Band under the baton of Harry Mortimer. Eric Ball came second with Ransome & Marles and Stanley Boddington 3rd with Munn and Felton Band. Rhapsody in Brass had the unusual distinction of being written as a test piece by a Salvation Army composer. Eric Ball’s Resurgam was the only other piece to achieve that dual personality in that era.
Dean Goffin was born in 1916 in Wellington, New Zealand, son of Henry Goffin, a Salvation Army officer and composer. At 19 he was appointed Bandmaster of the Wellington South Band and when World War II started, he enlisted in the New Zealand Armed Forces where he became Bandmaster of the 20th Infantry Battalion and later the 4th Brigade Band. During the time he served with them in the Middle East and Europe, he composed and arranged numerous pieces among which Rhapsody in Brass and the march Bel Hamid, later adapted for Salvation Army use and renamed Anthem of the Free.
After the war, Dean kept on composing and his work was featured by the Wellington South Band. Later he transferred to Timaru for another job and became Bandmaster there. He was studying music at the time and as he wanted to take part in a competition for devotional selections for Salvation Army use, he sent some of his compositions to the International Headquarters. When Rhapsody for Brass was chosen as the test-piece for the British Open Championships, people at the Salvation Army started asking questions about the lack of publications of his work. It was discovered that the pieces submitted for the competition didn’t meet the exact criteria. Among these pieces was one of his most appealing works The Light of the World which was published a year later, in 1950, the same year as he completed his Bachelor of Music studies at Otagu University.
After entering the Salvation Army Training College in Wellington with his wife, Marjorie, Dean was in 1956 appointed National Bandmaster in the British Territory. Later he became National Secretary for Bands and Songster Brigades and in this period he organised the yearly festival in the Royal Albert Hall and was responsible for the national music schools in the UK. Dean returned to his home country in 1966 and to mark the centenary of the Salvation Army in New Zealand he was knighted by the Queen in 1983. Sir Dean Goffin died on 23 January 1984.