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Since 1904, The International Staff Band has had a critical role in the selection of the ‘best music’ for SA bands across the globe. In that year the band first began to play for the International Music Board pieces being considered for publication. Imagine the responsibility of the Staff Bandmaster and the band in giving careful regard year in and year out to both humble and outstanding submissions, knowing that their reading probably determined the fate of any given piece. The repertoire contained on this disc primarily highlights new works by the rising generation of SA composers within the United Kingdom, pieces endorsed by the ISB and its director. During Stephen Cobb’s exemplary years of service as Staff Bandmaster – 21 to date – he has taken particular care in nurturing of homegrown talent.
Some of the works recorded here featured in the band’s recent endeavors, including the Boundless International Congress in the summer of 2015 and their tour of Australia in October of the same year. However, as a reading of these notes will underscore, a good number of the pieces saw light of day as commissions, tributes and celebratory works of various kind not only in the UK but also across the SA world. Appropriately, the programme begins with the brilliant paean, My God and King! that ISB member Paul Sharman wrote for the Melbourne Staff Band. The festive work has as its textual basis the well-known Antiphon hymn of George Herbert, set to the hymn tune Luckington. That hymn states multiple times: ‘Let all the world in every corner sing: My God and King.’
Dr Ronald W. Holz