Phylloscopus Publications

Wellington's Victory (Battle Symphony)

Wellington's Victory (Battle Symphony)

ISMN 979-0-57016-283-3
(EAN-13 9790570162833)
Weight 250 grams
Published 31st December 1996
Availability 6 in stock

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Cat No. PP205
Price £14.95
ComposerLudwig van Beethoven
ArrangerLaurence Perkins
CategoryMixed Ensemble
Difficulty level5

picc, 2 obs, 2 Bflat cls, 2 hns in F, 2 bns, 2 bass drums, with opt. cbn and 2 Bflat tpts.
Score and Parts.
Composer: 1710-1827.

Beethoven (1770-1 827) wrote Wellington's Victory in 1813, the year after the said victory. The piece is also known as the Battle Symphony or the Battle of Victoria and it is possible to draw parallels between this martial music and the 1812 Overture of Tchaikovsky. Wellington's Victory was originally intended for performance on a Panharmonicon, a mechanical orchestra constructed by the inventor of the metronome, Johann Nepomuk Maelzel, but after a row between composer and inventor the first performances were given by a live orchestra in Vienna in December 1813. It is said that Wellington, on hearing the music, commented that if the battle had been as bad as that, he would have run away! This wind ensemble version, prepared by Laurence Perkins and set by C.M.M. and F.H. Nex, is very much in the style of the Harmoniemusik arrangements so popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The synopsis of the piece is obvious - approaching English and French armies, the battle itself, the defeat of the French and the Victory Symphony, all with liberal use of well known melodies, familiar to the audiences then and now. It is scored for wind octet plus piccolo, with the optional but highly recommended addition of two bass drums to represent the cannon fire of the opposing armies. The drum players need not be experts. There are also optional parts for contra-bassoon and two trumpets, the latter to sound the fanfares, a task otherwise given to the horns.

The original Beethoven piece is a picture in sound of a still topical event, and the mood is jovial and light-hearted. None of this is lost in the arrangement for wind ensemble, it being ideal as part of the programme for a garden party or similar informal event, as demonstrated at its first performance by members of the Manchester Camerata in 1996. If the setting allows it, players might devise some imaginative choreography to add to the fun and entertainment value of this music.

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