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International Congress, The

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa

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Subtitle: Grande Fantasie

General Info

Year: 1876
Duration: c. 18:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchesta
Publisher: Harry Coleman
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This work is a medley of patriotic tunes from a number of countries. It contains Fugue on Yankee Doodle, Hail Columbia, God Save the Queen, Marseillaise, Wearing of the Green, Wacht am Rhein, Russian Hymn, Spanish Constitution, Italian March, Greek National Air, Polish Dance, and Star Spangled Banner (a la Wagner).

- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 7 January 2018

Arriving in Philadelphia early in June, 1876, Sousa had difficulty securing a job. He auditioned for Simon Hassler, a music jobber, who promptly placed him in the first violin section of the official centennial orchestra, or International Exhibition Orchestra, which Hassler conducted.

For two weeks commencing June 19, the guest conductor was the French composer Jacques Offenbach. There is some evidence that Sousa may also have made a short tour of the East with Offenbach, but not with this same orchestra, which remained in Philadelphia. Sousa was never introduced to Offenbach while playing in the orchestra, but during one performance Offenbach requested an impromptu medley of international airs, and Sousa was asked to supply it. He responded with his first fantasy, The International Congress. It did not become overly popular, perhaps because it was overshadowed by a composition written expressly for the centennial by Richard Wagner, the Centennial Inauguration March.

- Program Note from The Sound of Sousa

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) – 7 January 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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