John Philip Sousa (1854–1932) was the American composer known as “The March King”; you all know some of his tunes, as he wrote The Stars and Stripes Forever, the national march of the USA, Semper Fidelis — official march of the United States Marine Corps — and of course The Liberty Bell, the official march of Monty Python’s Flying Circus; “Nobody expects the American composition!?” quips one person on a YouTube recording of this one.
Python is a good start, as the same sense of fun pervades this collection of his more humorous works, many of which are already familiar. Opener The Merry-Merry Chorus is an arrangement of his favourite opera choruses, while Stag Party was composed during his period as conductor of the United States Marine Band, and takes in songs such as I Won’t Go Home till Morning, Drink to Me Only, Auld Lang Syne, and the Soldier’s Chorus from Faust.
Closer March of the Pan Americans (Part 2) is not a march but an arrangement of the national anthems or national songs of the independent nations of North and South America as 1915.
It’s all a lot of fun, and if the air guitar gets too heavy, try the lighter baton for some air conducting.
The Trinity Laban Wind Orchestra also have fun, led by Keith Brion.
This is out on Naxos 8.559812.
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