El Capitan by John Phillip Sousa
Transcribed for Wind Quintet by Don Stewart
for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon
Published by Trillenium Music Company
Includes score and parts
John Phillip Sousa, “The March King”, wrote this splendid little piece around 1895. He had created a 'Broadway Show' by the same name, and used themes from that less-than-totally successful effort in this stirring and well-known march. It is in many ways unique in his totaly oeuvre: dynamic contrasts and the sudden change from 6/8 to 2/4 meter are unusual.
For this transcription, which was done for the Boehm Quintette around 1974, the composer's dynamics are adhered to, as is as much of the registration as possible. (Stewart had access to the first score edition of the March.)
This transcription of well-known American music will be playable by good players of high-school age, and yet challenging, and effective, in the hands of advanced and indeed very professional players. Attention to the dynamics will be important. A well-prepared presentation will have a powerful effect.
El Capitan is an opera in three acts by John Phillip Sousa and has a libretto by Charles Klein (with lyrics by Charles Klein and Tom Frost). The piece was Sousa's first successful operetta and his most successful stage work. The march “El Capitan” became a standard work both for brass bands and a crossover into other genres.
El Capitan also refers to the march of the same name, composed of themes from the operetta. This march is like other operetta marches (1897'sBride Elect, 1900's Man Behind the Gun, and 1906's Free Lance) with its use of both 6/8 (parts A and B) and 2/4 (parts C and D) sections. Also like the Bride Elect and Man Behind the Gun this march has an introduction between part C and D. It follows style IAABBCCIDD. The march also influenced “El Capitan” by Memphis Slim and the mambo “El Capitan” by Tony Pabon.