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Vanished Army, The

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Kenneth J. Alford

Kenneth J Alford

Subtitle: They Never Die

General Info

Year: 1918
Duration: c. 2:50
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $33.19 (custom print order)


Condensed Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Eb Clarinet
Bb Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Bass Saxophone
Cornet (in Bb) Solo-I-II-III
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II
Horn in F or Eb I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Baritone Treble Clef I-II
Euphonium Treble Clef & Bass Clef
Percussion, including:

  • Side Drum
  • Bass Drum


Original version (1918):

  • Concert Flute and Piccolo. 5 & 6 meas. before the Trio: notes C - Db - C should read Db - Eb - Db
  • 2nd Concert Flute. 5 & 6 meas. before the Trio: notes C - Db - C should read Db - Eb - Db
  • B-flat Euphonium (Treble Clef). 9 meas. before end of piece: E-flat should read E-natural

Program Notes

Kenneth Alford was actually the pseudonym of the highly-regarded British bandmaster and composer Frederick J. Ricketts. He joined the service and studied at the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall, entering with the Bandmasters’ Class of 1904. He spent the rest of his life in the military, serving in the UK and abroad, writing famous marches, concert band medleys, and solo works with band accompaniment.

The Vanished Army was composed in 1918 after the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. The work was dedicated it to “the first Hundred Thousand”, which refers to the first 100,000 troops who were killed in that war.

Ricketts himself called the work a “poetic march” in reference to its lyrical character. Note the use of the muted trumpet and the sustained notes and phrases in the melody. If you listen closely, you can hear where the composer interpolated the popular tune It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, set here in the minor key.

- Program note by Russ Girsberger, Navy School of Music

The Vanished Army, written in 1918, was appropriately called a "poetic march" by the composer. It is considered by many conductors and record collectors to be one of the most expressive marches in the concert band literature. Parenthetically titled They Never Die, the march was dedicated to the first 100,000 men who were killed during World War I. A somber and stirring work, complete with Alford's typical tunefulness and and striking originality, it serves as a reminder of the terrible price of war.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • College of New Jersey (Ewing Township) Wind Ensemble (Joshua Roach, conductor) - 28 April 2018
  • Mercyhurst (Ore.) University Wind Ensemble (Scott Meier, conductor) – 21 February 2018
  • Peninsula Symphonic Band (Palo Alto, Calif.) (Ted Henderson, conductor) – 20 November 2016
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) University Band (Onsby C. Rose, conductor) – 18 October 2016
  • Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.) Concert Band (Larry Stoner, conductor) - 21 April 2013

Works for Winds by this Composer