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Length: approx. 2½ mins.
The Washington Post
, is a patriotic march par excellence that received rave notices at its first performance and has remained ever since as one of Sousa's most popular marches throughout the globe. The story goes that proprietors of the Washington Post, the leading newspaper in Washington D. C., asked Sousa, at that time the bandleader of the United States Marine Band to write a march for the newspaper's essay contest awards ceremony. In due course it was first performed on June 15, 1889 at the ceremony, and received such acclaim that British journalist is reported to have given him the sobriquet of "The March King." As early as 1893, this march was recorded on North American Phonograph Company cylinder No. 613 by Foh's 23rd Regiment Band of New York. It is sad to relate that not only did Sousa receive just $35 for it whilst its publisher made a fortune but also that it had the indignity of being pirated widely in Europe and other countries. For example in Germany, Anton J. Benjamin of Hamburg, published it as "Amerikanischer Marsch - Marche Americaine". Today in the Washington Post building, there is a John Philip Sousa Community Room in which a life-sized portrait of the black-bearded Sousa, resplendent in his scarlet Marine Band uniform is hung in honour of this remarkable personality who brought fame both to the newspaper and to the composer himself.
As to the march itself, it was dedicated to Gen. Frank Hatton and Mr. Beriah Wilkens, owners of the Washington Post.
Its form is AABBCCDCDC with an 8-bar introduction whereby the AB- and CD-strains are written in the major keys of G and C respectively. In this adaptation for recorder quintet the 1st treble has the added attraction of alternating to sopranino for the high bits whilst the tenor and basses have their say in the in the initial CC-strains of beautiful counter-melody. All of course take part in the final glorious romp of a climax - another great Sousa ensemble piece!
A tempo of 180 crotchets/min. is suggested.