William Love Tribute
William Love's music has a beauty in its simplicity. His march compositions were made for marching. They have catchy themes which have been the mainstay of Part Bands, Melody Bands and Accordion Bands throughout the world.
Many older bandsmen can look back through the years and remember learning to play William Love's music. His original flute band compositions are timeless. As well as original composition, William's arrangements are also well known and played with pride. These have been distributed unselfishly by the Hamilton and Churchill Bands.
William Love was born in the Fountain area of Londonderry, and grew up on Wapping Lane. His father was a piccolo player in the flute band of the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - The Derrys - and was killed in action during the First World War.
Love's early years were spent playing F.Flute in the Maiden City Flute Band. The band practiced in a stable, with stories of William standing on a packing case while a horse ate contentedly in an adjoining stall. Around 1935 he played with the Churchill Flute Band, but he also taught the Steelstown Band and had an association with the Thiepval Accordion Band.
William's music reflects his life and times. 'The Good Companion' seems to have been in honour of his good friend John Murdie of the Argyle Temperance Flute Band. This connection also seems to have inspired 'Argyle'. He had a connection to Kilkeel - 'Orangefield' and 'Capital of Mourne' - and his first popular march 'Moore Street' was named after the street in which the Hamilton Flute Band met, a band with which he had the strongest association following World War 2. More simply, 'Step in Style' and 'On the Upgrade' reflected his love of bands generally. His arrangements too were to bring up to date the ever popular tunes for bands, of which the best known are his Loyal Airs.
Significant events also provided inspiration to William Love. 'Senior Service' celebrated the navy which had a significant presence in Londonderry during the Second World War, United Nations the birth of a new world order, 'Prince of the Realm' the birth of Prince Charles.
In addition to band music William Love wrote for his age. In the 1950s and 1960s he was a prolific composer and arranger of marches, sacred music of which he had a particular fondness, waltzes, jigs and Loyal Airs. His best known waltz is the 'Coronation Waltz' to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's Coronation.
The Maiden City Festival's William Love Tribute Concert was dedicated to the exceptional talent, loyalty and traditions of William Love, and performed by the outstanding Black Skull Corps of Fife & Drums. The Black Skull has produced a CD of William Love music "Prince of the Realm" to bring to the fore the music of this great band music composer.
One of the principles of the Black Skull is never to alter compositions, playing the music as strictly as possible to the composer's wishes. The following William Love marches are featured on this site, while others' marches will appear on the Maiden City Festival YouTube Channel.
- Love Set: a medley of William Love's marches as a taster for the evening concert including: United Nations, Moore Street, Hale & Hearty, Orangefield, Capital of Mourne, Senior Service.
- On The Upgrade: a standard On "The Upgrade". On the Upgrade has a degree of difficulty that suggests it was written, for a band with aspirations or perhaps for a band that had just won a competition and was on the up.
- Hub O' The North: It might be surprising to think of Portadown as Hub O'The North, but in the age of the train it was a busy central Hub. Many of William Love's tunes were written for his friends in the Kingdom of Mourne around Kilkeel, such as Orangefield and Capital of Mourne.
- The Great Little Army: 'Great Little Army' is an arrangement by William Love from an original piece by Kenneth J Alford "The Great Little Army" which would have been a popular brass band tune in its day (he played Euphonium in the USC Brass Band).
- Hale & Hearty: William Love wrote this piece for one of his good friends who had reached his 80th year and was still 'Hale & Hearty'.
- Senior Service: Senior Service was written to honour the Navy which had a significant presence in Londonderry during WW2. When William Love composed his music it was for a full performance: piccolo, 1st Bb, 2nd Bb, F, Eb and BbBass. The Blackskull plays the Guards setup, omitting the BbBass flute but having the bass line played on the Timpany.
- Dolly's Braes; The first of three Loyal Airs, Dolly's Braes includes 'Dolly's Brae', 'Gallant Boys', 'Dan', '18th December'.
- Echoes of the Twelfth; The second of three Loyal Airs, Echoes of the Twelfth includes 'Green Grassy Slopes of the Boyne', 'South Down Militia', 'Orange & Blue', 'The Blackman's Dream'.
- Orangeman's Medley; The third of three Loyal Airs, Orangeman's Medley includes, 'The Sash', 'The Orange Lily O', 'Battle of Garvagh', 'No Surrender'.
The Loyal Airs: three complete arrangements by William Love:
This project is grateful for the assistance of William Douglas, who played with Boveda and is the source of much of the information about the tunes featuring on this site. William has provided considerable assistance to the Black Skull in its promotion of William Love music. Now in his 80s and with a huge collection of marches, perhaps around 1700, William Douglas has been a source of band music for many years in the flute band fraternity.