Men Marching is the first of two War Memorials for brass band. It was written during 1981-2 and commissioned, with funds made available by the Yorkshire Arts Association, for the Yorkshire Imperial Band; and first performed by them, conducted by John Pryce-Jones, in a concert to celebrate the re-opening of Morley Town Hall, Leeds, on 26 September 1982.
The Score is headed by some lines from the poem ‘All the hills and vales along’ by Charles Sorley, who was killed in action in 1915 at the age of 20:
On, marching men, on
To the gates of death with song.
Sow your gladness for earth’s reaping,
So you may be glad, though sleeping.
Strew your gladness on earth’s bed,
So be merry, so be dead.
Men Marching is a march-movement with two lyrical trios. The first trio is self-contained; the second grows into paragraphs so long that the original march becomes lost to sight. Its final extension is a broad return to the melody and cadence of the first trio; and after this the march does at last return, but briefly, rounding the piece off only as a ghost of its former self.
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer