by James - 21:50 on 19 March 2010
The music and the arrangements of Gordon Langford were ubiquitous during the 1970s and had a huge influence on the sound and the concert repertoire of probably every brass band in the country. I certainly can’t remember many concerts where Langford didn’t make a contribution.
My favourite of all his arrangements is A Sullivan Fantasy. Although there have been many other arrangements of the music from the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan, none has captured its sheer tunefulness and joy better than Langford’s. The way that he weaves the tunes together with such seamless overlaying and transitioning, you could be forgiven for thinking that Sullivan wrote them like that in the first place!
Other Langford favourites are Cossack Patrol (with its splendid trombone counter melody) and the evergreen All Through the Night. I’m also fond of his Men of Harlech, Greensleeves and Fantasy on British Sea Songs (can’t you just smell the sea air and hear the flapping of the sails in those evocative opening bars?).
I love the Sinfonietta, the Rhapsody for Cornet and the Rhapsody for Trombone which I was lucky enough to hear played by the late Don Lusher accompanied by the GUS Band in Northampton in the early 1980s. Don played his D.L. Blues as an encore.
Gordon Langford holds an important place in the history of brass bands and, whilst, many of his works may be described as “lightweight”, they are all beautifully crafted and can still, today, provide considerable pleasure for audiences and players alike.