UK Release Date: 11th November 2016
US Release Date: 11th November 2016
CAT No: BMMAGG1608
℗ & © 2015 British Military Music Archive Ltd. Under exclusive license to Naxos of America, Inc.
Director of Music & Conductor: Lieutenant Colonel John Mackenzie Rogan CVO, Mus Doc, Hon RAM
Remastered Historical Recordings (1902-1922)
The Band of the Coldstream Guards was at the very forefront of recorded sound, having cut its first wax cylinder recordings on 1st October 1889 with the cornet solo La Sonnambula played by principal cornet, Bandsman Arthur Henry Smith, a flute solo by Bandsman Alder and a piccolo duet.
On 8th October 1902 the band began making regular recordings with the Gramophone, Typewriter & Sister Companies (three recordings from that date are held by the British Military Music Archive). These were issued as 78rpm records and over the years the band progressed through LPs, EPs, cassettes and compact-discs, meaning that it enjoyed a recording history spanning over 124 years until 2013 when the Ministry of Defence chose to prevent further recordings.
From long before the recordings started, the band had a proud history of playing to the general public as well as on the parade ground, and the music of the military bands on the bandstands in the parks or at the seaside presented the only opportunity most people had to listen to music, other than from the family singing round the piano.
From the earliest days the Regiment had drummers and its Band of Musik dates from 1685. This was in fact eight civilian musicians who were hired by the month by officers of the Regiment to provide music for the Changing of the Guard at St James's Palace. When, in 1785, the musicians were asked to perform at an aquatic excursion to Greenwich, they declined on the grounds that the performance was "incompatible with their several respectable and private engagements." This was too much for the officers who asked the Duke of York, Colonel of the Regiment, for a regular attested band. He agreed and from Hanover in Germany sent twelve musicians under the direction of Music Major C.F. Eley. The instrumentation consisted of two oboes, four clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, one trumpet and a serpent
In 1815, the total strength of the band was increased to twenty-two by the addition of flutes, keyed bugles and trombones. In the same year the band went abroad for the first time when it was ordered to Paris for duty with the Allied Army of Occupation, following the Battle of Waterloo. As was usual in the British Army at the time, the Regiment's early bandmasters were of German extraction. Christopher Eley (1785-1800), John Weyranch (1800-14), James Denman (1814-18), and Thomas Willman (1818-25). In 1835 the first British Bandmaster, Charles Godfrey, took over. This event anticipated the general replacement of foreign bandmasters in the Army by British musicians by about thirty-five years, and it was under his baton that the foundation of the musical and military expertise of today began. In 1863 his son Frederick Godfrey took charge of the band, followed in 1880 by Cadwallader Thomas who retired in 1896. By the end of the nineteenth century the band had grown to thirty-five in number.
In 1896 John Mackenzie Rogan was appointed as the bandmaster and it was he who directed the band on these recordings. His first parade with the Coldstream Guards was for Guard Mounting at St. James’s Palace on 15th May 1896 and he became Senior Bandmaster, Brigade of Guards, in January 1900. In that capacity, he was responsible for the music played by the military bands at the State Funeral of Queen Victoria (1901), the Coronation of King Edward VII (1902) and his State Funeral in 1910, as well as the Coronation of King George V in 1911.
During the First World War Rogan led the band for three visits to France and Belgium, each of three months’ duration, where they played very close to the front line to entertain the Guards regiments in their rest periods, and it was believed that he was the oldest man to serve near the front line.
Having first been commissioned in 1904, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel shortly before his last appearance conducting the Band of the Coldstream Guards, which was on 24th March 1920 at a dinner party at Buckingham Palace.
A few days later he was commanded to attend at Buckingham Palace where he was received in private by King George V, who spoke with him for half an hour, thanked him for his prolonged and unique service and wished him well. The King honoured Lieutenant Colonel Rogan by appointing him as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) and he remains the only soldier musician so honoured.