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Robert Cummings
Classical Net, July 2007

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 recommended this disc not only to band music enthusiasts but to listeners of light music wanting to expand their horizons.



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2007

We have reached the sixth volume in Sousa's music for wind band, and certainly the most attractive in content and performance. Born in Washington DC in 1854, his father - who was a trombonist with the United States Marine Band - quickly realised that his son, John Philip, had inherited his musical attributes. The speed of his development found him conducting a small group of professional musicians at the age of eleven, the group developing into a popular dance orchestra. From the age of 12 his studies were to be with famous classically trained musicians as a violin and composition student. He played in theatres, and at the age of 21 joined the orchestra at the 1876 Centennial Exposition where he played under the guest conductor, Jacques Offenbach. It was the new light music he played that was to provide the stimulus to compose in the style of Johann Strauss and Sullivan, and included fifteen operettas spanning the greater part of his life. At the age of 25 he received the unprecedented appointment, for one so young, of Director of the United States Marine Band, resigning 12 years later to form his own band which toured every part of the United States and was a frequent visitor to Europe. He was to continue conducting until he was 77, the year before he died in 1932. Without doubt America's most famous musician of his day, and though his theatre music is now largely forgotten, his marches are still the most frequently played throughout the world. The suite for band, Three Quotations, is a most imaginative work, while The Golden Star dedicated to the memory of Theodore Roosevelt's wife is a most moving funeral marches. There are very well known items, The Liberty Bell, The Gladiator, and The Gridiron Club being among his most frequently played, though I particularly love the ragtime atmosphere of Easter Monday on the White House Lawn. With each new disc the playing of the Royal Artillery Band goes up one rung, and here excels itself under the watchful eye of Sousa specialist, Keith Brion. Very good and realistic sound.



Robert Cummings

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 recommended this disc not only to band music enthusiasts but to listeners of light music wanting to expand their horizons.






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2:54:54 AM, 22 October 2014
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