Born in Stuttgart, Sir Julius Benedict had a long and distinguished career as both pianist and conductor. He worked in Vienna and Naples before finally settling in London, where he gradually gained a reputation as a composer – most notably with his opera The Lily of Killarney
. He studied with Weber and Hummel but his own music is more Italianate; the influence of Rossini was clearly stronger than that of his birthplace. March of the Templars
, with its spiky principal theme and broader second subject, was played in 1887 as Queen Victoria entered Westminster Abbey for her Jubilee Service. This arrangement by W T Best, the celebrated organist of St George’s Hall, Liverpool, is typically flamboyant, reflecting his legendary reputation as a recitalist.
from notes by Stephen Westrop © 1998