Kristjan Järvi / Royal Scottish National Orchestra

A Sousa Celebration

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AllMusic Review by

On this 2017 Chandos release, the most famous marches and other short works of John Philip Sousa receive rousing performances by Kristjan Järvi and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the superb audiophile presentation makes this album essential listening for fans of this quintessential American music. At first, Järvi's brisk tempos may seem stylistically out of step with traditional performances, where a broader pacing is suited to a marching band, not a seated concert orchestra. (As a conductor, Järvi had little experience with American band music, but he came to appreciate it through his performances of marches and waltzes with the Tonkünstler-Orchester in Vienna.) Beyond this, the playing is exuberant and the mood is festive, particularly in such favorite marches as The Washington Post, The Thunderer, Semper Fidelis, The Liberty Bell, and The Stars and Stripes Forever. However, these marches reflect only part of Sousa's prolific output, and the selections from his operettas The Irish Dragoon and El Capitan, along with The Gliding Girl tango, the Humoresques on Swanee and Look for the Silver Lining, and the sentimental Sandalphon waltzes show some of the styles of 19th century light music that have fallen out of fashion. Yet Sousa's legacy is well served by this album, and the attention paid to all aspects of his music puts his best-known works in the proper context.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:55
2 8:29
The Irish Dragoon
3 3:27
4 1:30
5 2:25
6 5:12
7 3:24
8 3:16
9 2:07
10 5:00
11 2:28
Dwellers of the Western World
12 3:45
13 5:24
14 3:25
15 3:20
El Capitan
16 3:49
17 2:08
18 2:52
19 3:23
blue highlight denotes track pick