King Lear (Overture for brass band) – Granville Bantock (PDF)


A performing edition based on the composer’s manuscript, with some re-scoring and added percussion, now available for concert and contest use. Bantock’s substantial concert overture is a series of character portraits of the old manic King and his daughters rather than a narrative symphonic poem. The work’s romantic idiom is characteristic of the composer’s conservative style. He composed an orchestral work, now lost, on King Lear at the turn of the 20th century. Whether this brass band work is related to it is unknown. At 14-15 minutes in duration, the brass band overture is for current use but the edition includes two cuts that reduce the duration substantially.

Duration: 14-15 mins (12 mins with cuts)
Grade 5
PHM004   Score and parts (PDF)        £45.00     



In 1932, Sir Granville Bantock composed his second major brass band work for Callender’s Band. Based in the South East, this once famous works band was a frequent broadcaster and boasted an in-house arranger. It also played saxophones in its lighter material. King Lear was never published in Bantock’s lifetime. The manuscript score and parts was thought to be lost for decades, but surfaced over 20 years ago in the library of the Haydock Band (Lancashire), which had inherited the Callender’s library after it has been transferred to nearby Prescott after Callender’s Cable Works closed. It is now in private hands.
Bantock’s score is substantial and serviceable, but in comparison with the composer’s orchestral version (part of which was recorded on 78s) lacks colour and percussion. With the permission of the Bantock Estate I have made a performing edition for publication that offers more variety of texture, colour and percussion. I have revoiced parts of it to present the material in more comfortable ranges. Intervention that is more elaborate than simply rejoicing the original text, has been presented as cue notes, to reveal the distinction between original and added voicing.
First performance of this performing edition was given by Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, conducted by Russell Gray, 28 Janury 2023, RNCM Brass Band Festival.




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