Programme notes from the composer, Don Batman:
Windlesham Warriors owes its title to a West Sussex Junior Band Day for which I was asked to write some music. The course was held at Windlesham House School (a very attractive building in quite beautiful grounds) and so a Suite, that contains a didactic thread, immediately sprang to mind.
A Call to Arms does what Brass players have been doing for hundreds of years – as in playing a Fanfare for a special occasion (e.g. an Ofsted inspection!) This must be played with military precision, a crisp attack and good balance.
The Long and the Short and the Tall, an old army expression refers, humorously, to the disparate mix of personnel that forms an army. Inevitably there is a corresponding selection of long and short notes that, according to the direction, must be played metronomically. (My Chambers dictionary does not list this as a real word although rhythmically and didactically are acceptable).
Joining Up is, contrastingly, in a legato style where good breath control, a gentler articulation, and a sense of musical continuity are emphasized. Prior to Conscription where men were ordered to fight for their country they would, patriotically, volunteer; this was, and still is, known as joining up. Today there are many young men and women who continue to display these fine qualities of bravery and patriotism in volunteering for the Armed Services.
The last part of the Suite sees our Warriors on the March and this is carried out, again, with military precision, a good attack, an incisive sound and, importantly, an enabling posture! The cornets have an adventurous trill to negotiate but once they know the trick of the trade, where the 3rd valve can do anything that the 1st and 2nd valves together can do, it is comparatively easy.
Following the didactic thread – the keys of Eb major (F & C for Bb & Eb instruments) and Bb major (C & G) are present; staccato and legato articulations are represented along with simple dotted rhythms, dynamics, rests, some Italian terms and metronome markings. Unison and octave passages also encourage the players to be aware of the need for good intonation.