The Gladiator March

By: John P. Sousa
For: String quartet
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John P. Sousa
Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
4 minutes
Classical music
License details
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American bandmaster and composer John Philip Sousa did more than anyone to elevate the status of the military wind band through creation and performance. Sousa's boyhood coincided with the American Civil War. The sounds of military bands were constantly in the air. His first musical training was on the violin, and his father instructed him on several wind instruments. At 13 the lure of a visiting circus was a powerful incentive for the boy to join up as a musician; however, his astute father, himself a bandsman, caught wind of the lad's intention and procured an apprenticeship in the Marine Corps Band for his son. It proved to be a happy move for all involved. The young musician sharpened his skills in that musical organization called the "President's own." He composed his first march, ?Salutation?, at 16.

At 18, Sousa began to play violin in various theater orchestras. In 1880, Sousa was appointed leader of the Marine Corps Band, which he would serve for 12 years, under five presidents. He now began to hit his stride with his own marches, turning out such classics as ?Semper Fidelis?, ?The Washington Post?, ?The Thunderer?, and ?The High School Cadets?. In 1892 Sousa, resigning his position with the Marine Corps, organized his own band, known simply as ?Sousa's Band?. Through national, European, and world tours, the band's success was nothing short of a phenomenon, Sousa receiving many honors and decorations from the royal families of Great Britain and Europe.

He continued turning out his series of comic operas, including the highly successful ?El Capitan? (1895). From his pen flowed songs, symphonic poems, and more marches, this period seeing ?The Liberty Bell? (1893), ?King Cotton? (1895), ?Hands Across the Sea? (1899) and, most notably, ?The Stars and Stripes Forever? (1897).

Among his many achievements was his being a founder of ASCAP. He also helped develop the Sousaphone, a large tuba which features in parade bands. Ultimately, his compositions are his monument. But particularly it is the marches which endure. Sousa was not afraid to invest his marches with beautiful melody and unusual harmonies, placing them above being merely parade music. Sousa continued to explore within his chosen field until the end and many from his final decade such as The Gridiron Club and Sesquicentennial Exposition are remarkable for their inventiveness and vitality. The composer himself mused upon what constitutes the perfect march, stating that "it should make a man with a wooden leg step out." In virtually all of his creations in this field, Sousa passed this standard with flying colors.

This arrangement comes with a supplemental third violin part, and an optional bass part for use with string orchestra.

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The Barber of Seville - Overture, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Lullay My Liking, Carmen - Act 1: Prelude, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 6. Menuet, A Thousand And One Nights, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 5. Polonaise and Double, Symphony No.40 - 4. Allegro assai, Radetzky March, Op.228, Trio No.1, Chanson Triste, Op.40 No.2, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.7, A Cyclone in Darktown, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 7. Badinerie, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 1. Overture, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 2. Adagio ma non tanto, Ode To Joy, Chanson de Matin, Brook Green Suite - 3. Dance, Siegfried Idyll, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 5. Romanze, God Save The Queen, Pavane, Op.50, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Scherzo, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 2. Air, Song Without Words No.45 - Scherzo Op.102 No.3, Little Jesus, Sweetly Sleep, In The Bleak Mid-Winter, Symphony No.29 - 3. Menuetto, Sleepy Sidney, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, The Cannon Ball Rag, Angels From The Realms of Glory, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, La Damnation de Faust - Rakoczy March, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 3. Adagio, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 5. Gigue, Piano Sonata No.14 "Moonlight" - 2. Allegretto, Once in Royal David's City, La Marseillaise, Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets, Unto Us A Child Is Born, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 7. Rondo - Allegro molto, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 2. Andante, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Babes in Toyland - March of the Toys, Of The Father's Love Begotten, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 1. Allegro, Silent Night, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 2. Adagio - Allegro, The First Noel, Joy To The World, Song Without Words No.30 - Spring Song Op.62 No.6, Minute Waltz, Op.64 No.1, Symphony No.25 - 1. Allegro con brio, The Blue Danube Waltzes, The Amazon Rag, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 4. Bourree I and II, Symphonie Fantastique - 2. Un Bal, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 1. Allegro, Key-Stone Rag, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.11 Furchtenmachen (Frightening), Christians, Awake!, Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Water Music Suite No.3 in G, The Magic Flute - March, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 3. Sarabande, Who Let The Cows Out?, Birthday Minuet, King Cotton, Bethena - A Concert Waltz, Symphony No.25 - 4. Allegro, Semper Fidelis, Symphony No.25 - 3. Menuetto, The High School Cadets, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", The Coventry Carol, Water Music Suite No.2 in D, Habanera from "Carmen", Slavonic Dance, Op.72 No.2, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 3. Gavotte I and II, Symphony No.29 - 1. Allegro moderato, Lullaby, Espana - 2. Tango, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 3. Allegro assai, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Roses From The South, O come, O come, Emmanuel, The Holly And The Ivy, Water Music Suite No.1 in F, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Song Without Words No.27 "Funeral March" Op.62 No.3, I Saw Three Ships, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Orchestral Suite No.3 - 1. Overture, The Washington Post March, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 1. Allegro, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 3. Allegro, Tales From The Vienna Woods, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 3. Allegro, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade, The Sleeping Beauty - Waltz, The Liberty Bell March, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 2. Affettuoso, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.7 Traumerei (Dreaming), Wine, Women and Song, Maple Leaf Rag, Gymnopedie No.1, Suite Bergamasque - No.3 Clair de Lune, Symphony No.29 - 2. Andante, O Christmas Tree, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 2. Rondeau, Angels We Have Heard On High, Le Coucou, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 1. Allegro, The Marriage of Figaro - Overture, O Holy Night, Trombone Johnsen, Humoresque, Op.101 No.7, O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fidelis), In Dulci Jubilo, The Flight of the Bumble Bee, We Three Kings, Symphony No.29 - 4. Allegro con spirito, Away In A Manger, Serenade No.10 , The Entertainer, Lohengrin - The Bridal Chorus, O Little Town Of Bethlehem (1), Orchestral Suite No.3 - 4. Bourree, The Nutcracker - Overture, 16 Songs for Children, Op.54 No.6 Legend ("When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child"), The Ragtime Dance, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 2. Menuetto; Trio 1; Trio 2, Symphony No.25 - 2. Andante, Hands Across The Sea, Auld Lang Syne, William Tell - Overture, Policy King, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, Piano Sonata in A "Alla Turca" - 3. Rondo, Emperor Waltz, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Nocturne, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.13 Der Dichter Spricht (The Poet Speaks), Deck The Halls, Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 6. Theme and variations, Artist's Life Waltz, Berceuse, Op.16, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", Symphony No.40 - 2. Andante, The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture, Symphony No.40 - 3. Menuetto, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.8 and 1812 Overture

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