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March of the Leathernecks

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Morton Gould

Morton Gould (trans. Philip J. Lang)


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General Info

Year: 1943 / 1944
Duration: c. 2:25
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Kalmus Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $62.95   |   Score Only (print) - $3.95


Instrumentation

(Needed, please join the WRP if you can help.)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

As was the case for many of his generation, Morton Gould was significantly impacted by the onset of World War II. In all, three of his brothers served during the conflict, with two enlisted in the Army and one as a member of the Coast Guard. Gould’s attempts to enlist to contribute, however, were thwarted by the discovery of medical issues that prohibited him from joining. Disheartened by the inability to fight for his country, Gould nevertheless resolved to contribute artistically, and much of his output from the 1940s and 1950s demonstrates a fervent patriotism, as evidenced in major and popular works such as American Salute or his *Symphony No. 4 “West Point,” as well as a significant number of marches and popular tunes designed to rouse the spirit of the American public.

March of the Leathernecks is among this collection, having been written for the United States Marine Corps in 1943 and subsequently revised by his friend and master arranger Philip J. Lang in 1944. “Leatherneck” is slang terminology for a Marine, dating back to the 18th century, when they wore a leather band about their collar for various reasons including its possible defensive utility and as a mechanism for instituting a particularly upright posture. Gould’s tribute to the leathernecks is, on its surface, a fairly traditional march, but a deeper inspection demonstrates the composer’s always-clever craft. The introduction is a clear bugle call with sparse percussion to keep time. Throughout, a compound duple meter permits Gould to use lilting melodies that seem more appropriate for proud swagger than precise marching, and the stylistic and dynamic contrasts keep the listener guessing as to what will come next. At the march’s formal apex, where one might expect a break strain, Gould launches into a second trio (complete with additional modulations), after which point the trio themes are mixed and matched into a glorious and invigorating conclusion.

- Program Note from Baylor University Wind Ensemble concert program, 1 March 2018


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • Gould, M.; Lang, P. (1944). March of the Leathernecks [score]. Mills Music: New York.