This two-disc set commemorates the 100th anniversary of the establishment of The Band of the Welsh Guards. In 1915, as the British army expanded during the First World War, it was felt that Wales should be represented in the Brigade of Guards. The regiment was formed in February of that year. Soon after, when the establishment of a band was approved, the city of Cardiff helped to purchase a set of instruments, and the band began rehearsals in October. By the time of their first concert in the London Opera House on March 1, 1916, the band had already been in a studio and recorded the first six numbers of CD1. By the end of the year 1916, founding members of that band had recorded all 12 numbers on the first CD. While recording techniques have improved significantly, the audio quality is quite amazing.
While CD1 contains mostly patriotic music, CD2, recorded between 1921 and 1940, contains a variety of musical styles including several novelty numbers of the type performed by bands in the years between the wars. Such numbers as Gaiety Echoes and Wedded Whimsies certainly aren’t likely to be found in the repertoire of concert bands of 2016. One particular novelty number that used to be very popular is The Whistler and His Dog. Written by Arthur Pryor, famed trombone virtuoso of the Sousa band, it has many of the band members whistling the melody and then ends with loud barking. This CD even contains a couple of numbers by the Dance Orchestra. All in all, an excellent preservation of the musical history of the Welsh Guards.