Wizard and Typhoon

After the contest at Peterlee, Spennymoor Town Band were back in the band room.
We rehearsed march “Whitworth” by Robert Malthouse a pseudonym of composer Thomas Edward Bulch and friend of County Durham (New Shildon) Victorian march king George Allan in readiness for a project with “Wizard and the Typhoon” Group in early summer.....:-
a lovely march which will feature as part of our involvement at Spennymoor Gala and Durham Miners Gala this year,
then onto the rarely played Goff Richard composition “Stage Centre”.......and finally a run through this years area Area test-price Stantonbury Festival .....

Letter from Dave Reynolds, Group Secretary
Friends of The Wizard and The Typhoon

I’m involved in a group that have been researching George Allan and Thomas Bulch for a Shildon based project - you may have heard a little about it though it’s relatively early days.

If you know about Tom Bulch you’ll know that he went out to Australia in 1884, and never came back - but became one of the most prolific Australian brass composers of his day. Critics argue that Tom Bulch’s works aren’t as good as George Allan’s as his best, but I’ve heard a few now and they are still pretty darned good even if I haven’t heard a ‘Knight Templar’ equivalent yet. He wasn’t trying to create music that would sell, and that could be played widely.

But he wasn’t the only Shildon lad to go out there and make a mark in the Aussie banding scene.

Three other Shildon lads went with him - and four others (the Malthouse brothers) went with their mother and stepfather five years before Tom Bulch.

In my research I’ve come in to the possession of a march called ‘Whitworth” which is attributed to Robert Malthouse (though it was printed in Tom Bulch’s brass band journal, and a friend of mine in the Australian scene says it has a touch of Bulch about it. He wrote under pseudonyms, and often helped others with their compositions.

I’m going to caveat that straight away by saying that it most probably isn’t the Whitworth you are thinking of (and I initially naturally thought). In a blog piece on our site (read it here) I set out a theory from our colleagues in Australia that it is possibly dedicated to a playwright and journalist from Melbourne whose surname was Whitworth.

BUT - there is something of a delicious coincidence that two fellas that grew up only a few miles from Whitworth may also have had the Whitworth we know in mind in creating this piece. After all, George Allan composed “Windlestone” and “Binchester"

Anyway - I wondered if Spennymoor Town Band might be interested in playing it. I’d love to hear it, and who better by than Spennymoor - better still to make a short film of it being played. It might be the first time it has been played in this country.

Give it some thought and do let me know.

Dave Reynolds
Group Secretary
Friends of The Wizard and The Typhoon

07967 202583

Incidentally - I think it may have more to do with Whitworth band than Eric Tomkins thinks - the piece was published in early 1891 - the year previous Whitworth (and Spennymoor) competed in the contest at Shildon Show at which the march played was Thomas Bulch’s “Chef D’Oeuvre” - Thomas knew about this and there was a small piece printed in the Ballarat newspaper - so I think this piece may well have been a ‘Bravo!’ to the band (see the extract from Brass Band Results also attached detailing which contest)

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