Frank Bridge (1879 – 1941) was one of the leading English composers of his time. In October 1922 he adapted his popular string quartet Sir Roger de Coverley for full symphony orchestra and Sir Henry Wood agreed, at the last minute, to include it in the last night of the Queen’s Hall Promenade Concerts at the end of that month. This elaborate and colourful orchestral version has never been widely performed, but has now been brilliantly transcribed by Alastair Wheeler to provide a miniature dance poem for grade 5 level concert band. Bridge’s lively treatment of one of England’s most famous traditional dance melodies will make a fitting end to any concert, with the strains of Auld Lang Syne introduced by Bridge as a nod towards Sir Roger de Coverley’s traditional function as the final dance of a Christmas Ball, as it was in Old Mr. Fezziwig’s party in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Scaff! is an adaptation of the famous 4th movement of the Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz in swing style. The story of the March to the Scaffold is a tragic one where the subject, in a depressive state over a love interest, overdoses on opium. He dreams that he has killed his beloved and after his procession to the scaffold is now witnessing his own death. This arrangement doesn't really reflect those tragic circumstances but instead redresses this great tune into a toe-tapping big band number.
Wilfred Heaton's compositions have a worldwide appreciation and although his output was small it is work of the highest integrity and calibre. The history surrounding 'Celestial Prospect' is somewhat sketchy. The composer describes it as a re-casting of an earlier work written sometime in the 1940's, the score of which is now lost. The theme 'Come Comrades Dear' has been known from Christian Mission days and reflects the composer's penchant for old Salvation Army tunes which are simple and direct in character. The following 5 variations contain much interest and originality including a beautiful elegy to departed comrades.