The Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards is probably the most renowned of the bands of the British armed forces, and has been making records for more than a century, first under John Mackenzie-Rogan, then under R.G. Evans.

 

Fucik – Entry of the Gladiators
Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan
(credited on label as Zonophone Military Band)

Zonophone X-40168
Matrix 2293e (X40168V)
Recorded 19th July 1905

This recording plays just sharp of A major at 78rpm and, in A flat major at 73rpm. Transposition up to B flat major seems unnaturally fast, and A is an unlikely key for a military band. The piano score of the piece is in C major.

Wagner – Tannhauser – Grand March
Tchaikovsky – 1812 Overture (Finale)
Band of H.M Coldstream Guards, Capt J. Mackenzie-Rogan, M.V.O, Mus.Doc., Hon. R.A.M.

His Master’s Voice C137
Matrices 870f, 530f (single-side numbers 025, 035)
Recorded 23rd February 1905, and August 1905, London

Thanks to Teri Noel Towe, who drew my attention to the following in Henry Wood’s autobiography, “My Life of Music”.

“Mackenzie Rogan, Conductor of the Coldstream Guards’ Band, met me one day in the street.
‘Do you know Tchaikovsky’s overture 1812?’ he asked.
‘No,’ I said. ‘Never heard it.’
‘It’s fine; just been published. Would you like to hear it?’
Naturally I said I would, whereupon Rogan invited me to go down one morning to a public house near Victoria station where he was rehearsing. I seem to think my father went with me; at all events, I was sufficiently taken with what was only a military band arrangement to perform the work at the Promenade concerts; but I took good care, of course, to obtain the original version.”

Wood’s account does not seem to be picked up in either of the later biographies by Reginald Pound or Arthur Jacobs, and the 1812 is not listed amongst Wood’s UK premieres in the Jacobs biography, so it may be that another conductor got there sooner for the UK orchestral premiere. But it is an interesting comparison to hear this 1905 recording of the final section of 1812 alongside those of Wood and Ronald. The section performed by Rogan is exactly that performed on the final side of Ronald’s abridged account.

Orth – In a Clockmakers Shop
Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan

Mediafire link for Orth, Tchaikovksy – Mackenzie-Rogan & Coldstream

(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-2-178 (10”)
Matrix 3393e (2-178 II)
Recorded 19th January 1906
Issued 1906

Wagner – Walkyria – Motivo del Fuego (Fire Music)
J Mackenzie Rogan and the Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards
Wagner – La Walkyria – Cavalcata (Ride of the Valkryies)
Orchestra della Scala, diretta dal Mo. Carlo Sabajno

Mackenzie-Rogan appears on just one side of this curious double sided Gramophone Company record. It does not have an overall catalogue number, just separate numbers on each side, 0117 and 050572. It seems to be a Spanish pressing imported into France. Both sides have “Importé d’Espagne” printed on the outer ring of the record label and have a stamp affixed with “Compagnie Française du Gramophone – Exempt des droits d’Édition.” The well known Carlo Sabajno is clearly credited, but on 0117, the presence of Mackenzie Rogan and the Coldstream Guards Band is not made obvious at all.

Disque Pour Gramophone (pre-dog, recording angel) 0117
Matrix 1981f
Recorded 1907
Credited on label as:

Fabriqué par

Gramophone and Typewriter Ltd.

SPANISH BAND

Ejecutado por la Banda
de la Cª Francª del Gramophone

BARCELONA

In fact performed by J Mackenzie Rogan and the Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards

Gramophone Monarch Record 050572
Matrix 1797c
Recorded 22nd April 1909
Credited on label as:
The Gramophone Co., Ltd. (and Sister Companies)

ITALIAN ORCHESTRA

Orchestra della Scala, diretta dal
Mo. Carlo Sabajno

Nevin – The Rosary
Di Capua – O sole mio
Band of HM Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan
The Rosary with Sergt. Hawkins, cornet

His Master’s Voice B 107 (2-261, 2-485)
Matrices: c910e, 12995e
Recorded 1907, 21st December 1910

Rossini – William Tell – Overture: Storm
Suppe – Poet and Peasant – Overture (abridged)
Band of HM Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan

His Master’s Voice B 113 (2-110, 2-271)
Matrices: 1826e, 12963e
Recorded 23rd February 1905, 17th December 1912

This record is extremely battered and worn, so there is a substantial level of surface noise and distortion.

Sullivan – Henry VIII – Graceful Dance
Sullivan – Patience – Selection
Band of HM Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan

His Master’s Voice C 131 (0151, 0176)
Matrices: 2305f, 2539f
Recorded 1908

Tchaikovsky – Finale 4th Symphony
Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan

Mediafire link for Orth, Tchaikovksy – Mackenzie-Rogan & Coldstream

(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

Gramophone Monarch Record 0185 (12”)
Matrix 2758f (0185-1*)
Recorded 17th December 1908
Issued 1909

Mackenzie-Rogan is not named on the record label.
This recording is likely to be transposed a tone down from Tchaikovksy’s original, like the Safranek arrangement for band. The recording plays in E flat at 78rpm. However, at this time, British military pitch was around A-452, so the record should probably be played at 80rpm, to be in E flat for the appropriate pitch standard.

Gordon Jacob – Suite by William Byrd

No.1 – The Earle of Oxford’s Marche (¾ side)
No.5 – Wolsey’s Wilde (¼ side)
No.6 – The Bells (1 side)

Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, Lieut. R.G. Evans

Mediafire link for Jacob – William Byrd Suite – Coldstream 1925

(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

His Master’s Voice C 1215
Matrices Cc 5982-II, 5983-I (single-side numbers 2-0419/20)
Recorded 2nd April 1925

Gordon Jacob’s arrangement of a number of keyboard pieces by William Byrd was made for Military Band in 1923 and orchestra in 1924. It is likely that this late acoustic recording was the earliest recording of these three movements.

Between 1909 and 1927, A=452Hz was the standard pitch for British military bands. A change to the Kings Regulations in 1927 adopted modern pitch of A=439Hz. At 78rpm the record plays at about the expected A=452Hz, slightly more than a semitone sharper than modern pitch.