Eric Ball: Torch of Freedom
Eric Walter John Ball was born in Gloucestershire in October 1903 and was the eldest of 16 siblings. He discovered to play the piano and organ and by 1919 Ball began to work within the Salvation Military musical instrument division in London. Ball is understood for his in depth work as a conductor and composer, and it was within the Salvation Military that he developed these expertise. From conducting the Salvation Military Nationwide Orchestra, to turning into bandmaster, with the rank of main, of the Worldwide Employees Band, Ball was a dynamic and versatile conductor.
After immediately deciding to go away the Salvation Military in 1944 after the unlucky demise of his sister, Ball grew to become concerned in judging brass band competitions. Swiftly following this he additionally grew to become conductor of Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, successful the Nationwide Championships the yr after. Ball was additionally concerned with the CWS band, the place he gained the British Open with the Manchester primarily based band in 1948. Ball can also be remembered because the editor of the much-loved British Bandsman journal.
Through the mid-Fifties Ball stopped conducting competing brass bands in order that he may think about instructing and composing. By means of his invaluable expertise inside the aggressive brass band circle, Ball started to compose many check items for aggressive bands together with well-known works resembling Resurgam (1950), Event for Brass (1954), Journey into Freedom (1967) and The Wayfarer (1976). All through the years these works have been used at a large number of various contests and have been carried out by a variety of bands.
In addition to composing various tone poems and large symphonic-like works for brass band, Ball additionally wrote various contest marches. Torch of Freedom was composed in 1972 to be used in march contests. Maybe one in every of his lesser-known works, Torch of Freedom is a light-hearted march that resembles a few of Ball’s basic type.
The march begins with a theme performed in near-unison and led by the cornets. The decrease band shadow the theme throughout the small gaps the cornets cease taking part in. The bouncy primary theme of the march then settles in, with the snare drum including that march-feel to the music. Ball utilises chromatic motion and color flashes of concord that add to the musicality of the piece. The tempo is a snug tempo that doesn’t change at some point of the piece.
The bass theme is a variation of the principle cornet theme, with the nice and cozy bass sound including to the presentation. The slower central part sees a a cornet duet and euphonium mess around with a brand new theme, though is interrupted by a brand new full band part. Ball’s daring use of dynamic modifications creates pleasure throughout this march, because the listener isn’t fairly positive the place the music will go subsequent. Because the opening theme is revisited one final time, the conclusion of the march comes within the type of a small climax adopted by some tutti stabs.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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