May 26, 2014
"The President's Own" United States Marine Band plays more than marches, as demonstrated on a new recording devoted to transcriptions of keyboard works.
"The President's Own" United States Marine Band (photo by Gunnery Sgt. Amanda Simmons)
We hear them most often when the President of the United States arrives for a ceremony. Sometimes we hear the distant sound of a single member, paying tribute to a fallen comrade with "Taps." But the United States Marine Band does much, much more than perform ceremonial functions, important though those may be.
Its members are chosen by auditions that attract musicians from top conservatories and universities around the country. Those who are selected are part of an elite unit. Roughly 300 times per year, members of the band perform at the White House in addition to over 500 other public performances.
It was during the Presidency of Massachusetts' own John Adams that the band was established by an Act of Congress. President Adams invited the band to perform at the White House for the first time on New Year's Day, 1801. Later that year, the ensemble played for the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson, who gave the band its name, "The President's Own." Since then the Marine Band has played for every Presidential inauguration.
For its newest recording, the band chose music originally written for keyboard, including
Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor,
David Rakowski's Sibling Revelry,
part of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances (which was originally composed for piano duet),
Debussy's The Engulfed Cathedral, and
Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
Tune in to 99.5 WCRB all week to hear "From the Keyboard."
For more information about this recording, visit the United States Marine Band.