Coates: Dambusters March


Eric Coates’s rousing, uplifting and heroic film score – the ‘Dambusters March’ – here in a simply spiffing arrangement for wind quintet. Chocks away!

  • Instruments : Fl. Ob. Cl.(in Bb) Hn. Bsn.
  • Difficulty : C/D – approx. ABRSM Grade 5-6
  • Duration : 3’45
  • ISMN : 979-0-708088-77-6
  • Portus Press reference : PPQ41


Eric Coates’ most popular and enduring success is arguably his contribution to the film score for The Dam Busters (1955) which documented the story of Operation Chastise – 617 Squadron’s daring 1943 mission to breach Germany’s Ruhr valley dams, armed with Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bombs.  Coates’ music is not only completely synonymous with the film but also with the mission itself.

Coates initially turned down the offer to write music for the film, fearing (as other composers had experienced) wasting time on producing music that could end up on the cutting room floor.  However, when it was suggested that, rather than producing the whole score, he could provide a concert march around which the rest of the film’s score would be based, he immediately warmed to the idea.  He instantly accepted saying,  “I think I finished it yesterday”, as it had dawned on him that a newly completed Pomp and Circumstance-style march – written not to order, but simply because he felt like writing it – would suit the film perfectly.

With its rousing, uplifting and heroic melodies the Dambusters March remains incredibly popular and is indelibly ingrained in the national psyche.  Chocks away!!

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For copyright reasons this title is only available in printed sheet music format.

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