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Louisiana native William Latham (1917-2004) was a composer and teacher who had a distinguished teaching career at the University of Northern Iowa and the University of North Texas.  He wrote 118 pieces throughout his career, many of which have been performed internationally.

Brighton Beach was Latham’s first work for wind bands, written the same year he finished his doctoral studies at the Eastman School of Music (1954).  Despite the descriptive title (apparently chosen by the publisher), it has no specific program.  It is built like a British march, yet the marked tempo of 126-132 beats goes against the British march convention of 116 bpm.  Thus, performances of it vary from stately to speedy.  Here is a slower performance by the Washington Winds, who take it at 114:

On the other hand, here is the Arizona State University Concert Band under my direction.  We took it at 132.  Please excuse the conductor view of the video.  This was originally my reference recording, but I could find no other decent version of this piece at this (what I feel is the correct) tempo, so I share this with you for your reference as well.

2 Comments

  1. It is my understanding that Dr. Latham did name Brighton Beach for Brighton Beach in England where he was a soldier during World War II. It was composed with that as an inspiration for the piece. Being an expert trumpet player, he was originally assigned to be in a band; however, he requested to be included in the fighting to serve his country better as so many others did. Thanks – Carol Latham – daughter of the composer.

    • Thanks very much, Carol, for the clarification. I will update the record shortly!


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  1. By Fall 2013 Recap | Andy Pease's Wind Band Blog on 08 Dec 2013 at 9:33 pm

    […] Brighton Beach – William Latham […]

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