25 Pages

Chapter Seven: Instrumental Music (1): the Founding Generation

The orchestral repertoire written over the period 1870–1950 is the great glory of British light music. Within that period, few if any countries could offer a light music repertoire to stand comparison with it. Wind instruments are more effective in the open air than strings, and this was one reason why many resorts at first employed military bands or similar wind ensembles. The German bands appear to have been dominant: The German bands have now taken possession of the whole coast of Kent and Sussex, and wherever there are watering places. Sidney Jones Senior, who had much experience of the amateur movement in his early days, wrote in his memoirs: All the violins wanted to be first fiddles, and all other instruments must be first of their respective kind. In Britain, choirs and brass bands have been largely amateur, and for many years attained superior standards to those of amateur orchestras.