Friday morning was an exciting one when the postman knocked at Dave’s door with a delivery that he’d ordered from Wright & Round of 10 pieces of George Allan composition that were otherwise missing from our collection. Dave has acquired them for the project.
Of course one of the sad things about acquiring a complete set of score is that it’s not like buying a CD or a record. It feels wonderful to get your hands on the notation, and always seems lovely to look at, and from a historical perspective there are often clues that help to place the piece in a timeline – however the big frustration is always wanting to know what they sound like. Even if you are a capable reader of music notation the polyphonic nature of it all (i.e. the need to visualise all the pieces at once) makes it hard to interpret. We’ll need to wait until we can progress a performance project to find out.
At the time of writing we are aware of 104 titles that George Allan appears to have composed, though there will certainly be more that we have not yet discovered. But of these one we know about we now collectively have 32 pieces – which equates to just over 30%, meaning there is a whole lot of music out there somewhere that is of interest to us. I wonder how much of it we’ll be able to find and how much is gone forever?
- Waverley (Lancers – Scottish air)
- The Wanderer (Quick March)
- Sons of Toil (Quick March)
- Rusticus (Fantasia)
- The Royal Festival (Fantasia)
- The Red Cross (Fantasia)
- Lyndhurst (Quick March)
- The Repulse (Quick March)
- The New Century (Fantasia)
- King Edward (Overture)
If the music of George Allan will prove a challenge to collect, then the music of T. E. Bulch will prove ten times as difficult. Firstly because there doesn’t seem to be anyone who knows all the ‘pseudonyms’ he used for sure. Secondly because much of it will only be in Australia, though the National Library of Australia has, it seems, been quite advanced in digitising score in its possession. We’d particularly like to see some of the compositions he created before leaving for Australia, during his time as bandmaster of the New Shildon Temperance Band. The search is on!