This week Brian found something interesting which has us scratching our heads.
We’ve known for a good while that George Allan composed a march called “Cyclone”, and that he composed other pieces with a ‘wind’ theme such as “The Gale”. We also know that at least one of Thomas Bulch’s compositions, reputedly his first, was weather based; that being “The Typhoon”. We’d been wondering, was it all just part of the famous British obsession with the weather, and just a coincidence; or given that these two men, working only a couple of streets away from each other, and that had played together in the same band, were doing something deliberate with these pieces.
I suspect this is something we’ll never really know for sure, however is there some possibility that perhaps some early compositions were seen as a competition, friendly or otherwise, between the two as to who could create the best piece. Or perhaps it was the case that whichever composed their piece second was influenced by the first composer when they created their own piece and opted to name their piece similarly. It seems quite a coincidence unless there was some kind of rationale for it.
What Brian uncovered has confused us even more – which is that, unless there has been some failing in the journalism of the day, Thomas Bulch also seems to have had a composition called “Cyclone”. We didn’t expect to see this. From the timing of these two newspaper articles (see above) the pieces seem to have been available at a similar time in the late 1880s. We don’t know exactly when they were written, or whether Thomas Bulch’s piece was created whilst he was still living in New Shildon, but it is striking.
There is one other known case of Thomas and George having compositions of the same name, the pieces both called Federation, but with the ‘winds’ it’s striking that they are both quite early in the composer’s creative careers, which makes it tempting to think that it’s more than coincidence and exciting to speculate what was going on. Furthermore, we’d love to hear the pieces to find out what that would tell us. Unfortunately for now that opportunity eludes us as we don’t have the pieces, but….. maybe…..one day.