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The Saltire

The Saltire
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About This Work

‘The Saltire’ was composed and arranged by Geoff Kingston as the opening band fanfare for the Scottish Division Beating Retreat (The Big Blaw), held on Horseguards Parade in June 1990; of which he was the Musical Director. Since then this stirring fanfare has been used to open numerous concerts and ceremonial occasions including the Kneller Hall Summer Concerts and Plymouth’s ‘Music of the Night’. Ideal as a concert opener or whenever a band ‘flourish’ is required.


It has been believed by generations of Scotsmen that the national flag, the white Saltire on a blue background, the oldest flag in Europe, originated in a battle fought here in Athelstaneford in the Dark Ages between the Picts and Scots on the one side and the Angles of Northumbria on the other.

There are various versions of the tale to be found in the older Scottish historians. They are generally agreed, however, that an army of the Picts under their King Angus aided by a contingent of the Scots was invading Lothian (then and for long afterwards Northumbrian territory), and found itself surrounded by an overwhelming force of the Angles under their leader Athelstan. King Angus and his host prayed earnestly for deliverance to God and the saints.

That night St. Andrew (the Patron Saint of Scotland ) appeared to the King and promised him victory. Next day, when battle was joined, the vision of a white Saltire (the diagonal cross on which the Apostle had been martyred) was seen by all against the blue sky. This so encouraged the Picts and Scots and affrighted their adversaries that the former won a signal victory.

The Saltire is also known as the Saint Andrew' s Cross.

ComposerGeoff Kingston
ArrangerGeoff Kingston
CategoryBand Fanfare
DurationCirca 1 min 10 secs
DifficultyThis piece has difficulty rating of 3 on a scale one through 6, with 6 being the hardest. Click here to see how we grade our band sets.
Flutes 1-2
Bb Clarinets 1-2-3
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophones 1-2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Horns in F 1-2
Horns in F 3-4
Trumpets 1-2-3
Tenor Trombones 1-2
Bass Trombone
Side Drum
Cymbals / Bass Drum
Tubular Bells
String Bass
Parts SuppliedFor a full list of parts supplied under our free postage scheme, please visit FAQ's.
Catalogue No.
Product Code: SM0148

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