A Brass Band Contest at Manchester Dr Stephen Etheridge The following page comes from The School Music Review: A Monthly Periodical Devoted to the Interest of Music in Schools, 1 October 1916. Like other London-based music journals the reporting is indicative of a style of writing that was anthropological in nature. In other words the brass […]
January the 21st will find me at the University of Durham where I will be giving a paper at the conference: A Great Divide or a Longer Nineteenth Century? Music, Britain and the First World War. This paper is based on research carried out for the Royal Northern College of Music’s project Making Music in Manchester during World War One. The paper will argue that the repertoire played in Manchester’s Public Parks during the conflict reinforced a Victorian ideal of nation and patriotism. The abstract is shown below:
Conference theme number four: In what ways did popular music—whether repertoire, performers, or the industry—change because of the war? In what ways did it carry on Edwardian and Victorian traditions?
Brass Band Music, Contests and Entertainment in Manchester’s Public Parks in World War One: Reinventing Repertoire, Patriotism and Tradition?
Manchester was the gathering point for brass bands in the industrial regions surrounding Manchester. From the 1840s the growth of brass bands in the region was rapid. In spite of being a national movement, by 1914, the British Bandsman stated that ‘it could not be denied that the cradle of the brass band was on the slopes of the Pennine Chain.’ During the war years Manchester was significant for bands because the British ‘Open’ Contest at Belle Vue Gardens was the only large contest that kept going. In addition, bands played regularly in Manchester’s public parks.
1913 was a watershed year for the brass band movement. Labour and Love, Percy Fletcher’s tone poem, was performed at the Crystal Palace Contest. Labour and Love was significant as it was composed music of some substance that was available to all bands. It was the first test piece that was composed for the standardised brass band line-up and that the sources can account for fully. Composers such as Elgar and Bliss would soon follow.
In spite of the brass band movement moving away from its standard repertoire I will show that not only did older working-class traditions of music-making reinforce Victorian and Edwardian values in the public space, but also that public performance encouraged patriotism by reinventing patriotic themes found throughout British history.
. British Bandsman (18 April, 1914), p. 349.
 Jack L. Scott, The Evolution of the Brass Band and its Repertoire in Northern England (unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Sheffield, 1970), p. 267.
 Paul Hindmarsh,’Building a Repertoire: Original Compositions for the British Brass Band, 1913-1998’, in, Trevor Herbert (Ed.), The British Brass Band: A Musical and Social History (Oxford,2000), p. 248.
‘The Man Fro’ Lancashire’: Prisoners of War and Lancashire Musical Donations Dr Stephen Etheridge Figure 1. French, Belgian and Russian Prisoners of War forming a band. Including, with the baton, ‘the man fro’ Lancashire’. (Rossendale Free Press, 3 June, 1916) On June 3, 1916, the Rossendale Free Press published this picture which included an unknown […]
By Dr Stephen Etheridge The Royal Manchester College of Music’s (RMCM) student records reveal two graduates who would become members of the Hallé Orchestra in a period when the trombone section built a reputation for excellence. When we examine the lives of these players what emerges is that the RMCM was the agency that […]
The First Manchester Children’s Society Concert, 1916: Royal Manchester College of Music (RMCM) Graduates, Children and Keeping Music-Making Alive? By Dr Stephen Etheridge Through an examination of the first Manchester Children’s Society Concert, which was held in 1916, this blog will show how the Victorian ethos of ‘Rational Recreation’ still existed, and, as an agency […]
The Belle Vue Brass Band Contest, 1914: Bandsmen, Contests, Genealogy & Social Networks Dr Stephen Etheridge Link to the Bandsmens’ Names and Addresses During the First World War ‘The Belle Vue Champion Challenge Cup’, more commonly known as the ‘British Open’, and which was known colloquially amongst bandsmen as ‘Belle Vue’, was the only large national […]
If you haven’t been to the Manchester District Music Archive website, then you must absolutely nip over. Share some of your Manchester music history whilst you’re there and you should definitely have a look at the RNCM Archive’s account. In fact, there’s one particular online exhibition that may interest you…
The Whit-Friday Band Contests: Tradition and Living History, by Dr Stephen Etheridge This Whit-Friday found me in the pretty Southern Pennine village of Diggle, near Oldham. The one defining element of the brass band movement is tradition. Perhaps this is shown in the persistence of the brass band contest from the earliest days of the […]
British singer and song-collector Sam Lee explores how archives and institutions around the world are looking to repatriate sound recordings. In what sense can a sound be ‘taken back’? And what is the impact on the families and communities reacquainted with the voices of their past? Definitely worth a listen… BBC Iplayer (UK- only) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b075p6n9
The Greater Manchester Sound Archive is the new collection of sounds at Archives+ , Central Library in Manchester. It is a rich sonic treasure trove charting the socio-political history of the city…