Various Artists

Classic Marches: A Grand Procession of Orchestral Favourites

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Even though it's ludicrous to imagine that the world's greatest marches could ever fit on a twofer, this double-disc package from ABC Classics does a fair job presenting the most famous marches and the composers who contributed enduring works to this popular genre. To show its limitations, though, no more than two or three marches per composer could be included, so such prolific march kings as John Philip Sousa, Edward Elgar, and Eric Coates are seriously under-represented in relation to their outputs, and orchestral composers whose association with the march was not of primary importance in their work, such as Hector Berlioz, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, and Georges Bizet, among others, are disproportionately represented. Still, this Australian compilation provides a wide range of orchestral marches, from Baroque composer Jeremiah Clarke's Prince of Denmark's March to John Williams' modern Superman March. The styles also range from the humorous, as in Camille Saint-Saëns' "Royal March" from Carnival of the Animals, to the regal, as in the Pomp and Circumstance Marches of Edward Elgar, to the magnificent, as in Richard Wagner's "Grand Entry of the Guests" from Tannhäuser and the "Triumphal March" from Giuseppe Verdi's Aida. The leading Australian orchestras perform with impressive consistency throughout the collection, and the production values are quite high in both the studio recordings and the balancing of volume levels over 40 loud tracks.

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