Keith Brion / Royal Artillery Band

Sousa's Greatest Marches

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Nothing could be more direct: Sousa's Greatest Marches delivers everything its title states, and to make sure that none of the March King's best work is missed, two CDs are provided to deliver nearly two hours of his finest patriotic and martial music. The 34 selections cover the period from 1888 to 1927, when John Philip Sousa dominated band music in the United States, and these parade and bandstand favorites eclipsed all of his other music, including his once popular operettas, much to his frustration. Still, to have such gems as Semper Fidelis, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Post, and The Stars and Stripes Forever as a legacy is more than many composers achieve, and Sousa even went beyond that in composing over 200 works and conducting the United States Marine Band and the Sousa Band for a total of five decades. Keith Brion and the Royal Artillery Band play the marches as admirably as any band ever has, and the music is as robust and invigorating as any recording, including Sousa's own vintage records. Considering the convenience of having so many of the marches in one package, this Naxos compilation will be an attractive choice for many listeners.

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