31
May
2011

Top 10 Sousa Recordings

Start your Sousa collection with the best!

Searching for Sousa music on Amazon.com will give you a list of over 500 CD's - many of questionable quality. Just so you don't get burned - here's my top 10 list of the top Sousa recordings available today. If you have other suggestions, please let me know!

Strictly Sousa
Dallas Wind Symphony

Sorry folks. I know I'm a member of this group, and I really try to be impartial, but I can't help it. This CD rocks! You simply cannot find a better combination of performance quality and audio fidelity anywhere. If you have a decent stereo, you simply must own this disc. Learn more about the High Definition CD process here.

Contains 19 marches plus the Star Spangled Banner and a hilarious bonus track!

Fennell Conducts Hands Across The Sea
Eastman Wind Ensemble

Contains all of Sousa's most famous marches plus many others. This CD actually contains two of Fennell's original Mercury LP's: Hands Across the Sea and Marching Along. This is the march album standard by which all others are measured. 20 marches in all.

Fennell conducts Sousa
Eastman Wind Ensemble

This CD is truly magical. Like the other Mercury reissue listed here, this contains two original Mercury LP's: Sound Off and Sousa on Review. The performances are big, brassy and over the top - blasting brass, thunderous drums, plus Frederick Fennell at the helm, giving each march a touch of his legendary personality. Contains the absolute best recording of my personal favorite Sousa march, "New Mexico". 24 marches in all.

A Grand Sousa Concert
Great American Main Street Band

Never heard of this group? Me neither. But notice that it's conductor, Timothy Foley, is the new conductor of the U.S. Marine Band in Washington, D.C. and you'll get an idea of the quality of musicianship involved here. These guys are fantastic - a wonderful mix of different Sousa pieces, each played dynamically, musically and with excellent precision.

Sousa: Stars & Stripes Forever
Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

Don't be misled by the name of this group - this is a full concert band recording. Each performance is flawlessly precise and the ensemble is wonderful. The programming is inspired as well; a tasty mix of Sousa's most famous plus the best of his lesser-known marches.

Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa
The Detroit Concert Band

Are you looking to collect all 136 of Sousa's marches? This is how you start! This massive collection contains 116 marches and is the only publicly-available collection of its kind. 5 CD's of Sousa marches, no two alike.

The Original All-American Sousa!
Keith Brion and his New Sousa Band

This CD is a must-have for a couple of reasons - it contains Sousa's "Untitled" March, and also contains several bonus tracks of original Sousa Band 78's and also a recording of Sousa's own voice! The recordings of Mr. Brion's band are a little muddy for my taste, but this album has so much going for it that I wholeheartedly recommend it anyway.

Sousa Original
Sousa Original II
Sousa 3
Sousa 4
United States Marine Band

Who better to perform Sousa marches than "The President's Own"? These four albums include many of Sousa's marches and other pieces, played with the precision you'd expect from America's oldest military band.

Marches I've Missed
Dallas Wind Symphony

Okay, this would technically be #11, yes, but it's really, really interesting! This CD contains 18 marches never before recording by the legendary Frederick Fennell, including two Sousa marches: The Gladiator, Sousa's first commercially successful march and The Northern Pines - Fennell himself played in the band at its premiere in 1931, with Sousa conducting! How's that for a historical connection? See the kid in the uniform on the cover? That's Fred in high school!

Hail, Sousa!
University of Michigan Band

Ooh, ooh! Just one more for now, I promise! A visitor to this site emailed me about this one... I have the LP but didn't know it was available on CD. The legendary U of M band under the direction of the late, great William Revelli, put together this album (in the 1960's I think) and it is one of the all-time greats. That big, full college band sound playing so quickly, loudly and precisely is guaranteed to get your heart up and marching along.

For more recordings of marches by Sousa and others, visit Walking Frog and MilitaryMusic.com

Author; David Lovrien Categories: Articles

About the Author

David Lovrien

David Lovrien

Sousa site creator David Lovrien is a software professional and musician living in Plano, Texas.

Comments (1)

  • Molly McNamara

    Molly McNamara

    05 October 2014 at 11:58 |
    Thanks ever so much for this list of the top ten Sousa albums. I own many of them already, but it's good to know which are the best for future purchases!

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