Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

JOHN PHILIP SOUSA (1854-1932) Vol. 1 SOUSA on stage Rasumovsky Orchestra/Keith Brion rec Bratislava 1995 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559008 [60.42]

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This disc aurally portrays one facet of Sousa's talent. He was active in the field of musicals. Three of them are quarried here for orchestral tid-bits.

The Bride Elect (1897) is evocative of Rheinland ebb and flow with a dash or two of Alt Wien Neujahres charm thrown in for good measure. There is an absurd tarantella followed by a series of alcoholic musical 'swigs'. The Champagne movement features popped corks (an obviously Straussian touch). Rhine Wine is a Delibes-like delight. The harp arpeggiated White Rock and Psyche is followed by men's stuff in Whiskies. Cordials resounds with confident silliness and all ends with (what else but) a jolly march.

El Capitan (1895) is again a Straussian effort. Its movements include a yearningly eloquent O Warrior Grim with its trumpet solo for trumpet and a fluttering confection in waltz-time. The whole is rounded out with the famous march with its whooping French horns. Our Flirtations (1880) has an overture with flashy and sentimental solos for flute and trumpet finishing with a quick-time march - all white epaulettes, sabre-taches and chromium swagger.

You will know if you like this. It seems (rather like the Sousa at the Symphony disc) to be very well done and most agreeably documented and recorded.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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