Arts & Culture | Brass Bands | Late Romantic | Classical
While in the US and several European countries there is a tradition of mixed wind bands, Britain developed bands made up of brass instruments with saxophone and percussion. The repertory of such ensembles tended to be arrangements of dance music, opera overtures and marches. (Twentieth-century British composers have pioneered original music for brass band.) The brass band developed from civic wind bands, called ‘waits’, and military bands. It was the development of valved instruments that made the brass band possible, while the work by Adolphe Sax on the concept of a unified family of brass instruments laid the foundations for the modern ensemble.
In the north of England and in Wales, brass bands were an essential element in industrial culture, with large firms sponsoring bands that would bear their name. M. Blaina Ironworks saw the creation of a band in 1832; the Cyfarthfa Brass Band was formed in 1838, funded by coal and iron money and staffed with musicians from London’s theatres and orchestras. Amateur bands regularly met for banding competitions – and still do – the first on record taking place in 1818.
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