Reviews - CDs and DVDs

An Evening with RSA 90th birthday celebration


An audience with RSA

A 90th birthday celebration

With International Staff Band

Conductor: Dr. Stephen Cobb

and guests










This live DVD is of a concert given in the Regent Hall to celebrate the 90th birthday of Ray Steadman Allen. With about 2000 pieces / songs he has written the choice of items to be featured must have been difficult. However, the concert manages to give a sample of the diversity that RSA is capable of producing. The featured ensembles are the ISB and the massed songsters from Chatham Citadel and Kettering Citadel with Major John Mott as compere. The first piece is the march Scarlet Jersey and is an example of RSA’s compositional skill as he morphs the last 3 notes of the first part seamlessly into the trio section.

The first solo featured is euphonium player, Derick Kane, playing The Ransomed Host Written 50 years ago is as fresh as when it was premiered by Josh Walford. Derick performs with the usual flair and musicianship. Of the many facets to this occasion, the tributes to RSA given by Edward Gregson, James Williams and William Himes give insight into how he has influenced them, both as a composer and as a Salvationist. Te major brass work is Victorian Snapshots – On Ratcliffe Highway depicting the early struggles of the SA. A compositional ‘tour de force’ The ISB under Stephen Cobb give an authoritative performance. The trombone section is featured in Trombone Vespers, the devotional selection In quiet Pastures shows that RSA puts as much musical integrity into his ‘simple’ pieces as he does in his larger works. The contributions from the songsters show RSA to be equally at home with vocal music, and in The Age of Rockets shows something of his sense of humour. The second soloist featured is Regent Hall bandsman (& principal trombone of the LSO) Dudley Bright playing The Eternal Quest .This is playing at a different level and it is interesting to note that Dudley uses a straight trombone as would have been used at its premier in 1952.

The finale item The Mission shows RSA‘s love of jazz influences. This is a DVD about the musician and the man and comes highly recommended.


John Edward