The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Present Day Composer #26

John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)


Vanwall said...

My Old Man was a musical prodigy, with perfect pitch, and could blow a mean cornet, or trumpet, to say nothing of his Prewitt-like ability with a bugle, and I grew up with Sousa regularly on the record player. It should be the only music played at Fourth of July fireworks IMNSHO. The Old Man made sure I appreciated the multiple levels of Sousa's compositions, that's for sure. It's funny to hear his work worldwide - the march belongs to him, hands down. His operettas are among the best of their kind, and curiously anti-militarist, for a jar-head cavalryman. ;-)

In the Regular Army, Dad was often used for specialty brass pieces, often in Sousa marches in concert, even though he wasn't in the band, per se, (he was an explosives and engineering expert). Once on a date with my Mom, he stopped the car un-announced on a country road, got out and walked up a hill and began playing the echo bugle part for "Taps"!! Some poor joe's funeral was over the hill, and date or not, Dad was a trooper in the classic sense.

I bet I was the only kid in Arizona, hell the whole Southwest, maybe, that heard "Penny Lane" when it came out, and thought at the end, "Wow! nice high trumpet work!" ;-)

Don't even get me started on his piano skills, and he was the best non-professional accordian player I ever heard, bar none - his "Jalisco", a border favorite, is still awesome to hear - damn, he sings in Spanish, too!

werenotdeep said...

I happen to share the same birth date with this person. Sousa's greatest contribution to the world, though he would never be aware of it, was providing us with the Liberty Bell March, which of course, is the opening theme song to Monty Python's Flying Circus.