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SOUSA: Music for Wind Band, Vol. 4 (Keith Brion/ Mike Purton/ Royal Artillery Band) (Naxos American Classics: 8.559093)


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John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)

Works for Wind Band, Volume 4


John Philip Sousa personified turn-of-the-century America,the comparative innocence and brash energy of a still new nation. His ever-touringband represented America across the globe and brought music to hundreds ofAmerican towns. John Philip Sousa, born on 6th November, 1854, reached thisexalted position with startling quickness. In 1880, at the age of 26, he becameconductor of the U.S. Marine Band. In twelve years the vastly improved ensemblewon high renown and Sousa's compositions earned him the title of \The MarchKing." Sousa went one better with the formation of his own band in 1892,bringing world acclaim. In its first seven years the band gave 3500 concerts;in an era of train and ship travel it logged over a million miles in nearlyfour decades. There were European tours in 1900, 1901, 1903, and 1905, and aworld tour in 1910-11, the zenith of the band era.


The unprecedented popularity of the Sousa Band came at atime when few American orchestras existed. From the Civil War to about 1920,band concerts were the most important aspect of American musical life. No finerband than Sousa's was ever heard. Sousa modified the brass band by decreasingthe brass and percussion instruments, increasing its woodwinds, and adding aharp. His conducting genius attracted the finest musicians, enabling him tobuild an ensemble capable of executing programmes almost as varied as those ofa symphony orchestra. The Sousa Band became the standard by which Americanbands were measured, causing a dramatic upgrading in quality nationally.


Sousa's compositions also spread his fame. Such marches asThe Stars and Stripes Forever, El Capitan, Washington Post, and Semper Fidelisare universally acknowledged as the best of the genre. Sousa said a march"should make a man with a wooden leg step out", and his surely did. Although hestandardised the march form as it is known today, he was no mere maker ofmarches, but an exceptionally inventive composer of over two hundred works,including symphonic poems, suites, operas and operettas. His principles ofinstrumentation and tonal colour influenced many classical composers. Hisrobust, patriotic operettas of the 1890s helped introduce a truly nativemusical attitude in American theatre.


The library of Sousa's Band contained over 10,000 titles.Among them are the band compositions of Sousa including the 136 marches andnumerous other scores. This new series, Sousa: Music for Wind Band, seeks torecord them for the world to hear.


[1]  Nobles ofthe Mystic Shrine (1922)

Sousa composed the incredibly colourful march Nobles of theMystic Shrine to commemorate his admission to the Shrine in Washington DC. Heconducted the premi?¿re with an enormous band of 6200 Shriners in Washington'sGriffith's baseball stadium.


[2] Sesqui-Centennial Exposition (1926)

Composed for an exposition in Philadelphia celebrating the150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, theSesqui-Centennial Exposition march is also particularly appropriate for thecelebration of Sousa's own sesqui-centennial of his birth in 1854. It featuresa chime solo evocative of the Liberty Bell.


[3 - 5]  Talesof a Traveler (1911)

The suite Tales of a Traveler commemorates aspects of theSousa Band's landmark 1911 tour around the world. The first movement, TheKaffir on the Karroo is descriptive of native dances of the Karroo in SouthAfrica. The second, In the Land of the Golden Fleece, a romantic waltz, wasdedicated "To the Matrons and Maids of Australia". The final movementCoronation March was intended to be used at the coronation of King George V,but it was never performed for that purpose, causing Sousa to change the titleto Grand Promenade at the White House. In 1928 he composed an entirely newsubstitute for this movement called Easter Monday on the White House Lawn.


[6]  Riders for the Flag (1927)

A sturdy, jaunty calvary march, Riders for the Flag was composedfor the Fourth U.S. Cavalry and bears unmistakable signs of its equine andmilitary inspirations.


[7]  Ancient andHonorable Artillery Co. (1924)

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co. of Boston is theoldest military organization in the United States. Sousa composed his march attheir request and included their marching song Auld Lang Syne. It was formallypresented to them at a concert in Symphony Hall Boston in September 1924.


[8]  Coeds ofMichigan (1925)

The lilting and romantic waltz Coeds of Michigan wasdedicated "To the Faculty and Students of the University of Michigan".


[9]  Pathfinderof Panama (1915)

Pathfinder of Panama was composed for the Sousa Band's longresidency at the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition in the summer of 1915.The Sousa Band appeared alongside an all-star symphony orchestra conducted byCamille Saint-Sa?½ns.


[10]  The Gloryof the Yankee Navy (1909)

One of Sousa's finest marches, The Glory of the Yankee Navyis based on material first taken from a musical comedy The Yankee Girl, andlater evolved into the martial version heard today.


[11]  BrideElect Selections (1898)

The Bride Elect is a Sousa operetta that was first staged in1897. The story is a typically goofy tale of two farcical kingdoms which becomeinvolved over the shooting of the king's goat. As a proper reparation for theoffence, a peace commission finally decides on the King's marriage to theprincess of the offending country, thus making the opposing princess the brideelect. From this highly charming music, Sousa extracted one of his finest andmost delightful operetta selections. It concludes with a setting of his popularBride Elect March.

[12] The Aviators (1931)

The march The Aviators is dedicated to William J. Moffett,the man responsible for Sousa's commission in the American Navy during WorldWar I. Moffett was later to become a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy's Bureau ofAeronautics and is credited as the father of the aircraft carrier. It isthought that the Sousa Band featured the sounds of an aeroplane engine whenperforming this march.


[13] The Stars and Stripes Forever (1896)

With the possible exception of The Star Spangled Banner, nomusical composition has done more to arouse the patriotic spirit of Americathan The Stars and Stripes Forever, John Philip Sousa's most belovedcomposition. It is the official national march of the United States. Symbolicof flag-waving in general, it has been used with considerable effectiveness togenerate patriotic feeling ever since its introduction in Philadelphia on 14thMay, 1897, when the staid Public Ledger reported: ". . .It is stirring enoughto rouse the American eagle from his crag, and set him to shriek exultantlywhile he hurls his arrows at the aurora borealis". The Stars and StripesForever had found its place in history. There was a vigorous response whereverit was performed, and audiences began to rise as though it were the nationalanthem. This became traditional at Sousa Band concerts. It was his practice tohave the cornets, trumpets, trombones, and piccolos line up at the front of thestage for the final trio, and this added to the excitement. Many bands stillperform it.


By almost any musical standard, The Stars and StripesForever is a masterpiece, even without its patr
Facts
Item number 8559093
Barcode 636943909324
Release date 01/01/2004
Category Orchestral | Classical Music
Label Naxos Records | Naxos American Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Composers John Philip Sousa
Conductors Keith Brion
Orchestras Royal Artillery Band
Producers Mike Purton
Disc: 1
Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
1 Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
Sesqui-Centennial Exposition
2 Sesqui-Centennial Exposition
Tales of a Traveler
3 The Kaffir on the Karroo
4 In the Land of the Golden Fleece
5 Coronation March
Riders for the Flag
6 Riders for the Flag
Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co.
7 Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co.
Coeds of Michigan
8 Coeds of Michigan
Pathfinder of Panama
9 Pathfinder of Panama
The Glory of the Yankee Navy
10 The Glory of the Yankee Navy
Bride Elect Selections
11 Bride Elect Selections
The Aviators
12 The Aviators
The Stars and Stripes Forever
13 The Stars and Stripes Forever
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