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Year in Review

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Marching to a totally different beat

One of this year’s biggest headlines was the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. A presidential affair is nothing without music of John Phillip Sousa played by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. Sousa’s music is quintessentially American and is a cornerstone of the wind band repertoire. This piece, Presidential Polonaise, was composed in 1886 and comes with a humorous back story. Our 21st President, Chester Arthur, was not a huge fan of that all-too-familiar herald tune “Hail to the Chief”, so he commissioned Sousa to compose a new piece for him. The result was this brisk and stately polonaise, but it has never replaced “Hail to the Chief” as the theme that heralds the arrival of the President on official occasions.

Music Heard On This Episode

John Phillip Sousa: Presidential Polonaise
The Goldman Band; Richard Franko Goldman, cond. — Greatest Band in the Land! – The Goldman Band (Angel, 2001)
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