Thames Journey

Commissioned by the National Children's Wind Orchestra of Great Britain

The journey begins at the source of the River Thames in Wiltshire, first with just a few drops of water, but gaining strength as the flow starts. A horn solo introduces the main theme, an old Wiltshire melody dating back to the 18th century. A solo trumpet announces that the voyage has well and truly begun, and very soon we cross into Oxfordshire, passing close to the village of Bampton - where morris dancing was invented, with its jingles and stamping sticks. Along the river we can glimpse many Elizabethan manor houses, and at Godstow we pause to view the nunnery, hearing an ancient plainsong melody. Then Oxford itself appears, with its dreaming spires and steeple bells, and the abbey at Abingdon.

The World Poohstick Championships are held on the river at Little Wittenham, an event to which trombones and tubas pay tribute. As we cross borders again into Berkshire, an old folk-tune of that county is heard - but a well-known boating song soon intrudes, reminding us of halcyon days spent in Henley. Soon we arrive at Windsor with Here's a Health unto His Majesty, a popular song during the reign of Charles II. Passing Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was signed, we sight Hampton Court and hear Henry VIII's gentle Greensleeves. As we round a bend in the river, The Lass of Richmond Hill greets us with a broad smile. We sail through Barnes, and the house where composer Gustav Holst lived is spotted, closely followed by Miss Pinkerton's Academy (from Vanity Fair) at Hammersmith. A wave to Lambeth, and Big Ben hoves into view. Nostalgically we remember London Bridge before arriving at Greenwich, starting point of many a heroic voyage, and we hear the sailor's hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save. Smelling the salt in the air, we can sense the open sea, and as the journey reaches its end, our Wiltshire melody proudly sweeps out to meet the ocean. The Thames Journey is complete! 

This brass band arrangement, by Phillip Littlemore, has been recorded by the Leyland Band, conducted by Michael Fowles on the CD The Alchymist’s Journal

Publisher: Faber Music

ISBN: 0571567851

Item Code: 0571567851

Series: Faber Brass Band Series

Nigel Hess - Myra Music © 2017