As a busy summer of marching looms again, a fresh set of marches have found their way into the repertoire. This one, ‘Great Big David’, has a predictably Welsh theme to it, and features the tune ‘David of the White Rock’ in the trio section. Tidy.
Nothing remarkable so far. It’s a march. It’s Welsh. Woop de doo. So are a lot of others we play.
So we get halfway through aforementioned trio, and then looked down the line to see what the 2nd cornets were up to…
If you’re unfamiliar with playing a cornet on the march, the two darker looking lines three from the bottom are every 2nd cornets player’s worst nightmare. The kind of part they aspire to avoid.
I reckon they were as shocked by this as I was, given their responsibilities are usually limited to offbeats. I doubt they were expecting to have to do any Herbert Clarke type studies in band practice that day anyway.
So I thought I’d steal the part and have a go at it on the hoof! It wasn’t until about halfway towards the Palace I noticed the text at the bottom left corner…
Caussinus Progressive Method for Cornet new and revised edition, 15/6 post free
After a discreet ‘laugh out loud’ moment, I vowed to look this up when I got home. I don’t know the book, but apparently it is along similar lines to the Arban method.
Either Mr Lotter is suggesting that 2nd cornet players should be doing more practice or it is a cunning marketing ploy by Hawkes & Son Ltd to make 2nd cornet players buy more study books in order to accomplish difficult marching repertoire. Either way I fully approve.
Perhaps in whichever band he was involved with at the time Lotter had a particularly idle set of 2nd cornets?… I can’t imagine that would have been the Welsh Guards would it?!
Apparently it is a possibility! According to this Dutch wikipedia entry, Lotter was born in Prague in 1871. He was trained in composition there by Antonín Dvořák, though he was principally a bassist. He moved to London in 1894 and joined the Queen’s Hall Orchestra, also playing with London Symphony and Glyndebourne amongst others. The March was written in 1919 whilst he was in London, not long after the formation of the Welsh Guards Band. Maybe then this was a response to provide them with more Welsh themed marching repertoire, and also it seems to get the cornet players working harder!
So thankyou Mr Lotter. 2nd cornets… standby! 😉