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Dam Busters, The

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Eric Coates

Eric Coates (arr. William James Duthoit)

General Info

Year: 1955
Duration: c. 3:30
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Chappell
Cost: Score and Parts - Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion (3 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Dam Busters (1955) is a British Second World War war film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd. It was directed by Michael Anderson. The film recreates the true story of Operation Chastise when in 1943 the RAF's 617 Squadron attacked the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany with Barnes Wallis's bouncing bomb.

The Dam Busters March is the theme to the film. The musical composition, by Eric Coates, has achieved the distinction of becoming synonymous with both the film and the real Operation Chastise.

Coates' son, Austin Coates, recounted in a BBC radio interview that the march was not actually written for the The Dam Busters. It just so happened his father had been carrying out an exercise in composing a march that emulated the musical forms of Edward Elgar, such as in the Pomp and Circumstance marches. It was only a few days after completing the composition that Coates was contacted by the film's producers.

However, Coates had a profound dislike of writing film music and turned down their numerous requests. It was not until they told him that this was "a film of national importance" that he agreed. On hearing more about the film, he came to the conclusion that the piece he had just finished would be perfect overture. The march was performed for the film by The Associated British Studio Orchestra.

The march is now the musical setting for the hymn God is Our Strength and Refuge, based on Psalm 46.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer