After four decades of service, RAF Tornado GR4s have returned from operations for the final time. To mark the retirement of the aircraft, the Royal Air Force have commissioned a new composition titled To the Last for military wind band which has been composed by Flying Officer Andrew Stevenson.
Andrew Stevenson started composing at the age of 16 and has had works commissioned by a range of musical ensembles, most notably the Foden’s Band, Desford Colliery Band and the Royal Air Force Music Services. He attended the Royal Northern College of Music studying the cornet under Richard Marshall and Roger Webster. Following university, Andrew joined the Royal Air Force as a full time Musician where he spent three years in the Band of the RAF College, playing trumpet, cornet and guitar in various ensembles and as a featured soloist on the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises Concert Tour. In 2018, he left the trade to commission as an Officer and is currently training to be an RAF Pilot.
Inspired by the Tornado, a multi-role combat aircraft, Fg Off Stevenson was able to compose one of his most sensational works to date. In a recent interview, he described his piece seen in the extract below:
“Written in a cinematic style, To the Last tells the story of a Tornado sortie. The work begins as the sun rises over the airfield, the music builds as the engines roar into life and the jet takes to the skies in triumphant fashion. After scanning the skies the Tornado engages its target before flying to higher altitude, the music relaxes as the pilot surveys the beauty of the earth from its highest point. The music builds once again as the Tornado comes into land, the rousing reprise of the main theme pays homage to the long and fruitful service of one of the most influential aircraft in RAF history.“
Flying Officer Andrew Stevenson
The Band of the RAF College were honoured to have recently performed the world premiere of To the Last and have since recorded the piece along with a VT shot at the home of the Tornado, RAF Marham. Although the Tornado GR4 has come to the end of its career, the Bands of the Royal Air Force will be performing To the Last for many years to come.
Article by Senior Aircraftwoman Rachel Boddice-Brown