- composed symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores.
- collected of English folk music(over 800 songs) and used them in compositions.
- attended the Royal College of Music where he met Holst in 1895
- Served in WW I as stretcher carrier, named Director of Music, First Army.
- The bulk of his major works are his 9 symphonies, yet his contribution to the wind world is important.
- He is considered, along with Holst and Jacob, to be one of the British Band Masters
|The first page of the Score|
Major Wind Works:
English Folk Song Suite (1923) 10:30Min Grade V
- Full military Band Instrumentation
- 3 movements: March-Seventeen Come Sunday(title song, Pretty Caroline,and Dives and Lazarus), Intermezzo-My Bonny Boy(and Greenbushes), and March- Folk Songs from Somerset(blow away the Morning Dew, High Germany, The Tree So High, and John Barleycorn)
- Gordon Jacob arranged this suite for orchestra.
- Its world premiere was given at Kneller Hall on July 4, 1923 in London.
- Made known in the US by the 1957 Fennell Eastman WE recording.
- Most of the 9 melodies appear first in solo lines making it a great piece to showcase multiple players.
Sea Songs (1923) 4 min Grade III
- Originally part of the aforementioned suite as the second movement, there is some debate on this, but I believe it to be quite plausible..
- based on folk songs Princess Royal, Admiral Benbow and Portsmouth.
- written for the band of the Royal Military School of Music
Toccata Marziale (1924) Meaning “Martial(soldierly) Toccata” 5 min VI
- Full military band instrumentation.
- broke away from the concept of the military band original repertoire being mainly a vehicle for ceremonial purposes.
- extensive use of counterpoint and dynamic ranges(like Hammersmith, maybe an influence on Holst because of their relationship?)
- 158 measures based on one motive that is developed into 5 additional themes. Great study in balance of melody/counter melody.
- Fennell has a “Basic Band Repertory” essay on it(Instrumentalist 1976)
|Ralph as a Young Man|
- This an extracted movement(2nd) from Symphony #8 The first uses full orchestra, second winds, third strings, fourth all.
- Instrumentation: fl, pic, ob I/II, 2 clar, 3 bsn, 2 horns, 2 tpts, 3 tbns
Other Works of Significance:
- Variations for Wind Band (1957) arr. Hunsberger(1988) originally for orchestra 14Min Grade VI
- Rhosymedre (1920) Trans. Beeler(1972) 4min Grade IV
Oh, and by the way...make sure you pronounce it Rafe, not Ralph. It'll help you sound like a learned band nerd!
While it is not an in-depth scholarly article I hope it is of use. If you have suggestions for composers/conductors you'd like to see, or information you think it relevant feel free to comment or send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org I'm always ready to talk about the art of wind band.