When the Second World War began, the British “March King” Kenneth J. Alford (pseudonym for Major F. J. Ricketts, R.M.) was increasingly in bad health and had composed relatively little music recently. As Hitler's armies marched victoriously across Europe, Britain was soon alone facing the Nazi peril. Alford's great contribution to the war effort was the composition of two of his great masterpieces, ARMY OF THE NILE, celebrating the first Allied victories over the Germans in North Africa and EAGLE SQUADRON. The latter of these marches celebrates American airmen who travelled to England during the early years of the war (before the entry of the United States into the conflict) to volunteer for service with the Royal Air Force, serving with great distinction during the Battle of Britain. Alford skillfully weaves a number of well-known tunes into the fabric of the music, including the “Royal Air Force March” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” while also including a reference to the Siegfried motive from Wagner's “Ring of the Nibelung.” Mark Rogers' edition of this classic march includes a handsome full score and concert size set of parts.
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