Imperial Edward March

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (arr. Loras John Schissel)

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General Info

Year: 1902/2012
Duration: c. 2:30
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - $85.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Throughout his various travels from the smallest villages in the U.S. frontier to great artistic capitals of the world, John Philip Sousa met and performed for people from all walks of life. As one of the most famous musicians of his era, and being known to all as the “March King,” it may not come as a surprise that John Philip Sousa included the King of England as a personal friend. HRH Edward VII was monarch of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from January 22, 1901, until his death on May 6, 1910.

For the birthday celebration of his wife, Queen Alexandra of Denmark, Edward requested a surprise “Command” performance by the Sousa Band, on December 1, 1901, at Sandringham. His Majesty made requests for specific Sousa compositions and for several popular ragtime pieces. At the successful conclusion of the concert, Edward VII presented Sousa with the medal of The Royal Victorian Order in honor of his personal services to the sovereign. When asked where he would like the medal pinned, Sousa responded, “Over my heart,” to which the King rejoined, “How American!”

A short time later, Sousa made an official request and received permission via Her Grace, Louisa Montagu, Dowager Duchess of Manchester, to compose a march in the King’s honor, and to allow it to be, “Dedicated with special permission, ‘To His Most Gracious Majesty, Edward VII’.” In late April of 1902, Sousa sketched and orchestrated his Imperial Edward Military March, completing the band score on May 13, in Syracuse, New York. The march was promptly recorded June 1 7, 1902, by the Sousa Band for the Victor Company, with Arthur Pryor conducting. The press carried reports that every band played the composition during Edward’s coronation parade on August 9, 1902. Sousa and the King remained friends thereafter. Upon his return to England in 1903, Sousa and his band played another “Command” performance for His Majesty at Windsor Castle, on January 31, 1903. Sousa was proud of his connections with the British monarchy and wore his Royal Victorian Order for the remainder of his life.

The present arrangement of this Sousa classic was prepared by the leading authority of Sousa’s music, Loras John Schissel. This performance edition recreates the special “secret” interpretation used by the composer with his own famous band. Pay close attention to the very subtle quote of “God Save the King” in the trio section.

- Program note by Virginia Wind Symphony


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Bierley, P. (1973). John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works. University of Illinois Press; Urbana, pp. 52.