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The Incredible Band of John Philip Sousa (Music in American Life) Hardcover – August 30, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A remarkable array of carefully arranged and meticulously detailed data. . . . Bierley opens doors to new arenas of American music research. . . . With this remarkable book, Sousa research is now ready to really begin."--Nineteenth-Century Music Review



 

"The premier Sousa authority, Bierley caps his forty-year career with this admirably comprehensive tome on his--and many Americans'--favorite subject. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice


 

"Solidly researched, the book provides a view of music in American life not found in other studies of Sousa or the period. Highly recommended."--Library Journal
 

Book Description

The complete history of America’s concert band marvel

John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) is an American icon. Most famous for his military marches, the composer bandmaster led a disciplined group of devoted musicians on numerous American tours and around the world, shaping a new cultural landscape.

 

Paul Bierley has spent forty years documenting every aspect of the “March King’s” band: its history, its star performers, its appearances on recordings and radio, and the problems they faced on their 1911 trip around the world. Enhanced by more than 120 images and photographs, The Incredible Band of John Philip Sousa also contains six statistical appendixes detailing where the band played, what it played, a complete list of musicians, instrumentation of the band, program listings, and a discography.

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Product Details

  • Series: Music in American Life
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1 edition (August 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252031474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252031472
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,536,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This author has written extensively about Sousa and his band before. Much of that information is repeated here, but there are some new additions as well. The author has nicely highlighted each aspect of Sousa's career which makes for easy reading.

The problem with Sousa is that we tend to exclude all other band composers and their music. There were many other great band composers around including R. B. Hall, Karl King, and Henry Fillmore to name some of the prominent American ones. Their music deserves notice as well, as Sousa often played their works.

Sousa's band also tends to be somewhat over-rated by hero worship. Sure it was a great band, probably the best in the US at that time. But it was not the greatest in the world! Too many other European bands were around to deny Sousa that title. Sousa knew that any British Guards band like the Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards etc. was certainly as good. The French Garde Republicanne were also. In Prussia you had William Wieprect who did much to modernize the modern military band. His combined Prussian Guards band got top ratings in Paris during a band festival there just before the Franco-Prussian War. How ironic indeed!

So Sousa was not the only around with a great band, and any serious reader should know this. Certainly Sousa did. But what Sousa did was market himself far better than anyone else. He saw that as a civy street guy he could make a lot more fame and money than he was as director of the US Marine band. This was Sousa's main advantage, and he knew how to make the most of it. His conducting style was flamboyant, his programing entertaining and interesting. The whole concept of the encore march after a long piece of music was unique, and introduced excitment to his concerts.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is primarily a reference work for those looking for deeply detailed information from primary sources. It has other excellent background material as well, but if you want to see a nice cross-section of actual Sousa Band programs, or you want to find out if your great-grandfather actually played in Sousa's Band like your grandmother always told you, this is the most definitive reference available.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an incredible resource which surpasses all other research on The March King and his professional concert band. Everyone interested in the history of concert band music should own this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a very intesting book regarding the carrer of john Philip Sousa. I would recomend it for anyone who is interested in the history of music in America.
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