Today is a great day for patriotic music and there’s nothing better than John Philip Sousa’sStars and Stripes Forever
A part of every Fourth of July program at the Esplanade in Boston involves a giant American flag unfurling from the ceiling during the Stars and Stripes. Can you find it?
Piano arrangement by Vladimir Horowitz:
With Horowitz playing:
The Muppets version of Stars and Stripes forever
The animated graphical score:
The Band of the Grenadier Guards
The same melody can be heard with these words:
John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever is never part of a regular circus program. It is reserved for emergency use – sometimes called the “Disaster March”. If a major problem happens — an animal gets loose, a high wind threatens the tent, or a fire breaks out — the band plays the march as a warning signal to every worker on the circus lot that something is wrong.
Find piano arrangements of the Stars and Stripes Forever in Movement 2
Closing out today, enjoy The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E♭ major, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Today’s piece is the other one of two pieces that are so often played incorrectly that they have the distinction of being banned from competition in Northern Virginia Piano Teacher competitions.
The first was Fur Elise. This one is Spinning Song by Albert Ellmenreich. It’s in many, many piano method books. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, I tore it out of my book, put it in a construction paper cover and played it for some Girl Scout talent show. I have no idea why I couldn’t leave it in the book.
The left hand is supposed to sound like the foot pumping the wheel to make it move
This is part of a larger work called Musikalische Genrebilder, Op.14 which can be downloaded at IMSLP:
Spinnliedchen (Spinning Song), the best known item from the set, seems to be universally referred to as number four. The announcement of the first edition in Hofmeister’s Monatsberichte lists it as the fifth item. In Schirmer’s 1878 edition (see cover: here) of Op.14 it appears that items two and three were possibly combined into one number (entitled Sorrow and Consolation) so that Spinnliedchen became number four. Perhaps, this is the origin of the re-numbering.
To learn this sheet music, it’s available in Piano Pronto Movement 4 and Alfred Premier Piano Course Book 6
Here’s a sample:
With scrolling sheet music
How to conduct(?)
While this piece is not usually popular with other instruments, a trumpet quartet gave it a try
The DMS Percussion Ensemble
Singers from the Londonderry Middle School gave it a try:
The first half of this video is flute tuning. After that is a lovely flute duet.
For clarinet “quartet”. Quartet is in quotes because the performer wrote “This is a ‘cover’ I did of Spinning Song by Albert Ellmenreich. I played all the parts on my clarinet, using the really crappy camera I have. So the sound quality sucks… Also, I don’t have a bass clarinet, so the low part is edited down… and it sounds like a saxophone… oh well. lol!”
Humoresques Op. 101 (B. 187), is a piano cycle by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, written during the summer of 1894. One writer says “the seventh Humoresque is probably the most famous small piano work ever written after Beethoven’s Für Elise.
Yo Yo Ma (cello) and Itzhak Perlman (violin)
Jazz with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet
Zez Confrey gave this a makeover and included Way Down Upon the Swanee River:
Find the original Humoresque on IMSLP. The O’Connor Music Studio Lending Library has versions of Humoresque available at several levels and Confey’s Humorestless played in the video above.
Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite of ten pieces (plus a recurring, varied Promenade) composed for the piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874.
The suite is Mussorgsky’s most famous piano composition and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It has become further known through various orchestrations and arrangements produced by other musicians and composers, with Maurice Ravel’s arrangement being by far the most recorded and performed.
You can download the sheet music at IMSP or I have a copy of the book, as well as simplified sheet music.
The work opens with a brilliant touch – a “promenade” theme (above) that reemerges throughout as a transition amid the changing moods of the various pictures.
The ten pictures Mussorgsky depicts are:
a gnome-shaped nutcracker;
a troubadour plaintively singing outside an ancient castle;
children vigorously playing and quarreling in a park;
a lumbering wooden Polish ox-cart;
a ballet of peeping chicks as they hatch from their shells;
an argument between two Warsaw Jews, one haughty and vain, the other poor and garrulous;
shrill women and vendors in a crowded marketplace;
the eerie, echoing gloom of catacombs beneath Paris;
the hut of a grotesque bone-chomping witch of Russian folklore named Baba Yaga;
and a design for an entrance gate to Kiev.
The whole piece for piano. See if you can tell which pictures are which.
Today we listen to the third movement Mozart’s Piano Sonata No.11 III (Turkish March) with just a bit of the first movement near the end.
The Turkish influence on western music came through the Turkish military band music (Mehter), which was at the time was the only military band in Europe. It was once popular among western composers like Mozart to write Turkish-style (alla Turca) works, Turkish music being known at that time as Turkish band music. That’s why the Turkish-influenced music works by Mozart, Beethoven or Strauss are in march rhythm as they are called march.
A rondo is a piece of music where the musical material stated at the beginning of the piece keeps returning. This opening music can be called either the theme or the refrain; they are the same thing. The form can be A, B, A or A, B, C, A – anything as long as the “A” theme returns
The Turkish March movement:
Find the Turkish march movement of this sonata in these Piano Pronto books: Encore, Mozart: Exploring His Life and Music,
The first movement can be found in Keyboard Kickoff, Movement 2