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The Cries of London

Duration: c. 18 minutes








Programme Notes:

THE CRIES OF LONDON was commissioned by, and is dedicated to, the Regimental Band of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards and their Director of Music, Major Graham O Jones MBE. The work was completed in early 2005 to a given brief that the piece should celebrate the City of London. As the band is based at Wellington Barracks in Westminster and I had myself both studied and lived in London for many years I have endeavoured to capture both historic aspects and the contemporary spirit of Londinium into the final product. Although the work is cast in six movements, two of them form introductions to movements proper, therefore it could be argued that the piece is effectively in four movements. The reasoning behind the two 'preludes' is to personalise the work for the commissioning band. All British Army Regiments have their own bugle calls and I wanted to incorporate the Coldstream Guards' signal into the composition.


1. Dawn Watch

Opens enigmatically with an atmospheric texture that leads into four trumpets echoing the 1st Battalion Regimental call. A chorale in the lower brass plays against this building towards the celebratory second movement which is played without a break.


2. Westminster Chimes

The famous bell motif is subjected to much majestical manipulation before a bright and unexpected cadence concludes its overture status.


3. A Dream or Two (A Song for London)

Makes use of the band's male vocalist and is cast in the manner of a popular song celebrating London Town. The traditional text of  'London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady' provides the impetus for the song's structure. The words themselves describe the movement, the 'fair lady' being the City itself:



       London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.

       London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.

       London Bridge is broken down, broken down, broken down.

       London Bridge is broken down, my fair lady.


       I could dream a dream or two,

       One for me and one for you.

       Then I'd make them both come true,

       My fair lady.

       Mirrored in her face,

       Magical with grace,

       Everywhere around her story.

       Through her misty eyes,

       To the distant skies,

       Nothing can destroy her glory.

       As the sun comes shining down,

      On the life of London Town:

       Let the sunshine shine on you,

       My fair lady.


4. Catch that Catch Can

A scherzo based on a series of rounds written in the 17th and 18th centuries by composers living and working in London.  The opening catch forms a ritornello (returning motif) and the words are appropriate: 'Row the boat, Whittington, thou worthy citizen, Lord Mayor of London'. Various ensembles from within the band are then featured playing other rounds the order being 'The Watchman's Catch' (anon.) for clarinets, flutes and a bassoon with a jazz influenced string bass; the Ritornello; a repeat of 'The Watchman's Catch' for saxophones and flutes with Gaelic percussion; the Ritornello; a Henry Purcell round (1701) for the percussion section; the Ritornello; a second Purcell round (1701) for euphoniums and tubas; a third Purcell (1686) for flutes and clarinets with jazz string bass; a catch by William Lawes (1667) which curiously alludes itself to the Westminster chimes motif and has some humorous additions! The Ritornello makes a final appearance to close the movement in robust fashion.


5. Evening Watch

A minor key working of the initial Dawn Watch movement with an air of sadness to it. This leads into the final movement without a break.


6. Hymn

A creative arrangement and composition on the British National Anthem. At first the melody is not present but gradually enters the process as the movement builds to an epic and glorious conclusion


The Regimental Band of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards gave the first performance under their Music Director, Major Graham O Jones MBE, at St John's Smith Square, London in September 2005. The same forces also gave the first broadcast performance on the BBC Radio 2 series 'Listen to the Band' in April 2006.



Male Vocal (or Solo Bb Trumpet)

Flutes 1.2 (1 db. Picc.), Oboe, Bb Clarinets 1.2.3, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bassoon,

Eb Alto Saxophones 1.2, Bb Tenor Saxophone, Eb Baritone Saxophone,

Bb Trumpets (opt. dbl Bb Bugles), F Horns, Trombones 1.2.3, Euphonium, Tubas 1.2,

Double Bass, Keyboard (or individual Piano & Harp),



Percussion Requirements:


Performance Notes:

Due to the special circumstances of the commissioning of this work there are some points that conductors and performers need to be aware of:


  • The 4 bugles in movements 1 and 5 can be played on normal B flat trumpets.


  • The original commissioning forces had B flat Bass Clarinet doubling E flat Baritone Saxophone. This had an effect on the orchestration that I would at times not wish to lose. Therefore although there are now separate parts for both these instruments sometimes one or the other is marked tacet in order to maintain the particular colours and contrasts as first envisaged.


  • Movements 1 and 5 are in effect preludes to movements 2 and 6 and should be played without a break in both cases. This is self evident in the markings in the score.


  • The vocalist in movement 3 will have to be amplified ('miked') as the orchestration is conceived in a 'commercial' studio scenario. It is possible to play this movement as an optional instrumental solo. To this effect a separate additional (optional) part is included for solo B flat Trumpet as this is possibly the only instrument able to cut through the texture without being amplified. However it is desirable that this movement uses a vocalist.


  • In movement 3 the keyboard part can be performed on a synthesiser with Piano and Harp facility. However it is better realised with separate Piano and Harp performers. With regard to this the parts set includes two Keyboard parts. There is only one instance of a crossover of lines which only concerns one bar.


  • The original number of Percussion parts was 3 but these have been distributed more conveniently over 4 parts to facilitate ease of execution.


  • I express my gratitude to Major Graham O Jones MBE and the members of the Regimental Band of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards for their patience and assistance during the gradual realisation of this work: To the Regiment!


Available Recordings:

Wind Borne - Great British Music for Wind Band - Vol. 14

Tenor: Kenneth Boyd

Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra

Cond.  Clark Rundell

Polyphonic Reproductions Ltd.


The Cries of London

The Regimental Band Coldstream Guards

Cond.  Major Graham O. Jones MBE



SRC 109

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