Victor Carr Jr
, November 2004
Naxos’ Sousa series marches on with Volume 5, offering 16 selections including such familiar items as the The Thunderer (you’ll know the tune as soon as you hear it) and the Sabre and Spurs (recognizable to anyone who’s played in a high school marching band). The more unusual offerings include The Charlatan Waltzes, which provide the opportunity to hear what Sousa could do in 3/4 time, and Cubaland, a three-part suite that depicts the island nation under the rule of the Spanish, the Americans, and finally themselves, with the Cuban song “La Bayamesa”. Of course, even with these ethnic elements included, the music still sounds unmistakably like Sousa.
The standouts among the more traditional marches are George Washington Bicentennial and The Diplomat, both of which find the composer venturing melodically and harmonically beyond his usual formula. …the Royal Artillery Band…provides plenty of energy and precision under Keith Brion’s direction. The low-level recording fills out nicely (offering sufficient clarity and impact) when played at high volume. Read complete review