Bolton School Former Pupils

Norman Harper (Former Boys' Division Staff, 1974-1984)

C D A Baggley’s CBE Reception, 1980

David Baggley was awarded the CBE in 1980, in the New Year’s Honours List, and a reception was held in Great Hall to mark this recognition of his services to education, particularly as Headmaster of Bolton School Boys’ Division. His predecessor, Richard Poskitt, had also been given this honour in the 1962 New Year's Honours List . 

The Boys' Division Director of Music, Norman Harper, noting the musical possibilities in the letters CDAB CBE (sadly the MA couldn’t easily be included), composed a piano duet based on these and one other borrowed theme. This piece was duly performed during the reception by himself and Charles Walker, Assistant Director of Music (Boys' Division Staff, 1977-1994), on the lovely old Bechstein grand piano in the Great Hall. A recording was made, and after the performance a copy of the score was presented to Mr and Mrs Baggley.

Before the performance, Norman addressed the audience, explaining the connection between the letters and the music, Charles Walker demonstrating at the piano. A few more unrelated but well-known examples were offered (DEAD CABBAGE, DEAF BAGGAGE, AGED DAD etc) as well as other themes from the piece, such as BD GD (Boys’ Division, Girls’ Division) and the gratuitous Gregorian Dies Irae quotation in the middle section, possibly appropriate for a Headmaster.

The piece, entitled Imperial Baggatelle, (the deliberate spelling error acknowledging the dedicatee’s surname) was recently typeset, and a computer-generated MP3 made from the score. Both MP3 and score can be downloaded for listening and playing, and Norman warmly encourages pianists to team up and give the music further airings.



Press the play button below to listen to the Imperial Baggatelle:


Download a copy of the sheet music here:

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