The Salvation Army has embraced wholeheartedly the use of classical art music. In initial efforts, arrangers wedded famous operatic tunes to sacred texts.
It is generally recognised that Richard Slater held the torch for the use of the classics as an edifying, enriching and refining tool in the growth of Salvation Army Bands. He soon expanded the options for bands to include medleys, the range of composers and sources used indicating a man well versed in operatic, chamber and symphonic literature. Bramwell Coles' famous Moments with Tchaikovsky and Treasures from Tchaikovsky led Salvation Army Bands music towards portions of symphonic or absolute music. This naturally provided more challenging musical experiences, an aspect that intensified after World War II.
Fortuitously, this recording appears in 2009, just as notable anniversaries for composers profiled on this recording are celebrated: Handel 250th (1685-1759), Haydn 200th (1732-1809) and Mendelssohn 200th (1809-1847). The choice of repertoire on this recording provides an excellent overview of the repertoire Salvationist transcribers have provided Salvation Army Bands since World War I. Each succeeding generation has uncovered, and then reshaped, many 'thoughts', 'gems' and 'treasures'.
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