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  • £25.00

    The Sword and the Star

    The Sword and the Star was written in 2006 for the Middleton Band at the request of their Musical Director, Carl Whiteoak. The inspiration for the work was the band's badge, which features a medieval archer. The town of Middeton's historical link with the symbol of the Archer came from the English victory at the Battle of Flodden in September 1513, where bowmen from Middleton and Heywood under the command of Sir Richard Assheton played a vital part in crushing the invading Scottish army. Sir Richard captured one of the Scottish commanders and presented the prisoner's sword to the St Leonard's church in Middleton in recognition of the town's contribution. As long time Lords of the Manor, the Assheton family crest was for centuries featured in the coat of arms of Middleton council, and when Middleton became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale the black star from the Assheton crest was used to represent Middleton in the new borough's coat of arms. Hence the title The Sword and the Star, for a piece which attempts to give an impression of the town as it was then and as it is now.The music is in three short sections – a fanfare, a lament and a bright scherzo – and simply aims to contrast the medieval hamlet of Middleton with the bustling urban centre it has now become. The central lament features a Scottish song called "The Flowers of the Forest", written to mourn the loss of so many of Scotland's young men on the field of Flodden; the song returns in a much more positive form at the end of the piece.To view a PDF preview of the score please click here, and to hear a preview of the opening played by Middleton Band click here.

    Estimated delivery 5-7 days

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  • £65.00

    Perseverance

    Perseverance was commissioned by Middleton Band to mark their 140th anniversary in 2016, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and featured on Middleton Band’s CD of the same name.The title is taken from the original name of the 1876 band, the Middleton Perseverance Drum and Fife Band. According to the band's historical records, the Drum and Fife band was formed by six Middleton youngsters eager to learn music but short of funds. Following a whip round, they visited a music shop in Oldham where they purchased a 'one key flute' for six shillings and sixpence, and ('later on') a drum.This determination to make music despite the odds has been a characteristic of the band ever since; at the end of the second world war the band was again down to six players, who rebuilt the 'Middleton Borough Band' back to twenty-six players. After a period of some considerable success throughout the sixties and seventies culminating in winning the National Third Section title in 1983 the band hit hard times again in the late eighties and was down to only four members in 1987 before again being brought back to life. In recent decades the band has built a strong relationship with the East Lancashire Railway, another organisation which has battled sometimes mighty obstacles in its struggle to survive, and has maintained a thriving and successful youth band.The band's will to survive through adversity is reflected in the music, which builds from a sextet of four brass and two percussion players three times, only to fall back to the sextet twice. In the central slow movement the bass drum plays a 'heartbeat' rhythm as the remaining players remember those lost in the war. The relentless pace of the final section culminates in the band triumphing over the adversity which has curtailed the previous two sections. As a former member of Middleton Band (and one of the team that regained the National Third Section title in 2007) it is my pleasure to dedicate this work to the 'Pop and Ale Boys', Middleton Band.To hear Middleton’s performance of Perseveranceat Rochdale Contest in October 2016 clickhereand read more about the piece here.To viewa PDF preview click here.To view the accompanying video by Andy Marshall, designed to precede the piece, clickhereand find out more about the link between the video and the music here.

    Estimated delivery 5-7 days

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