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CD Review

John Philip Sousa

Music for Wind Band – Volume 6

  • Easter Monday on the White House Lawn
  • The Golden Star
  • The Dauntless Battalion
  • The Bride Elect: Sextet (arr. Herbert L. Clarke for band)
  • The Federal March
  • Three Quotations Suite:
  • The King of France (With 20,000 Men Marched up the Hill and then Marched Down Again)
  • I, Too, Was Born in Arcadia
  • In Darkest Africa
  • The Liberty Bell
  • The Gridiron Club
  • La Reine de la Mer Waltzes
  • The Chariot Race
  • The Gladiator
  • New Mexico
  • The Picador
Royal Artillery Band of London/Keith Brion
Naxos 8.559132
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This volume 6 is, to my ears, the best release in the Sousa band music series on Naxos thus far. Why? It contains such a delightful mixture of Sousa's music, from the earnest patriotism of The Golden Star, with its imaginative use of Taps in the middle section, to the utter charm of the trio of pieces comprising the Three Quotations Suite, from the bubbly playfulness of The Liberty Bell (famous from its use as the title music for the Monty Python Show), to the majestic bombast of The Chariot Race.

The performances, as has been typical throughout this series, are uniformly excellent. Keith Brion approaches his work here with utter dedication and is consistently able to capture the character of each piece with a deft sense for color and precision. The sound is vivid and the notes informative. I think for once I can recommend this disc not only to band music enthusiasts but to listeners of light music wanting to expand their horizons.

Copyright © 2007, Robert Cummings