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WSKG Classical celebrates the march with March Mania 2024

WSKG Classical celebrates the march, in all it's many forms this month. Tune in or stream Midday Classics with Bill Snyder 9am to 1pm, Mon – Fri for a curated march composition each day.


March 1-8

3/1: Ralph Vaughan Williams: Toccata Marziale

St. David is the patron saint of Wales and this is St. David’s Day and the first day of March Mania. We celebrate both with this march by Ralph Vaughan Williams.


3/4: Richard Wagner: Pilgrim’s Chorus:

For the remainder of the month, Christians are observing the penitential season of Lent, so today’s march is the Pilgrim’s Chorus from the opera Tannhäuser, the story of a song contest that turns into a disaster for one of the singers.


3/5: John Philip Sousa: The Liberty Bell March

Today’s march might make some listener’s think of a giant cartoon foot, and if you think of it, John Philip Sousa’s Liberty Bell March seems an odd choice for a British comedy show, but nevertheless, we will be “pining for the fjords” today.


3/6: Hector Berlioz: The Damnation of Faust: Rakoczy March

Hector Berlioz was so proud of his arrangement of a Hungarian folk song that when wrote an opera about the German Doctor Faust, he re-located part of the story.


3/7: Antonin Dvorak: Festival March

Most of Antonin Dvorak’s music has a distinct Czech “accent”, but when he was commissioned to write a march celebrating the wedding anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, he adopted a more international sound.


3/8: Richard Wagner: Fest March

Earlier this week we heard the slow march from Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser. Today we hear the march that brought the audience into the concert that turned out to be such a disaster for the title character.


March 11-15


3/11: Sergei Prokofiev: March from The Love for Three Oranges

It’s a strange title, but in Prokofiev’s wacky fairy tale opera, a sad prince finally laughs when he sees a clumsy witch trip over her own feet. She is not amused, and curses him to fall in love with three oranges. The famous march comes when he sets off to find them. 


3/12: Andre Caplet: March for the French Academy of Rome

In 1803, Napoleon moved the French Academy of Rome into a dilapidated villa that had been owned by the Medici family. Within a century it had been restored to its former glory. For that anniversary, French composer Andre Caplet wrote a celebratory march.


3/13: Johann Strauss, Sr.: Radetzky March

Every New Year’s Day the Vienna Philharmonic celebrates with a concert of music from the Strauss family.  The last encore is always the elder Strauss’s Radetzky March, with the audience stamping their feet and clapping along.  That’s our march for today.  


3/14: Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique — March to the Scaffold

Early in his career, Hector Berlioz wrote an opera called “The Secret Judges”, but couldn’t get it produced, so he threw out most of the music except for a diabolical march that he later inserted into his famous Symphonie Fantastique.


3/15: Franz Schubert: Three Heroic Marches

Before television, before radio, people had to supply their own entertainment. One way of doing that was for two people to play duets on the same piano.  Today we have Three Heroic Marches for four hands by Franz Schubert.


March 18-22


3/18: Edvard Grieg: Ceremonial March from Sigurd Jorsalfar

Edvard Grieg wrote incidental music for a play about King Sigurd the Crusader. Today’s march accompanies the part of the play when the king returns to Norway from his trip to Jerusalem.


3/19: Frederick Delius: The March of Spring

Spring begins at 11:06 tonight, so today’s march is very appropriate.


3/20: Dame Ethel Smyth: March of the Women

March is Women’s History Month and today’s march is by composer and suffragist Dame Ethel Smyth, written for the campaign to give women the right to vote. Appropriately, it’s called the March of the Women.


3/21: Leroy Anderson: March of the Two Left Feet

Leroy Anderson specialized in writing encores, especially for the Boston Pops. Often his encores were humorous in tone, and that goes for today’s march, “The March of the Two Left Feet”.


3/22: George Gershwin: Strike up the Band

The Gershwin brothers’ musical Strike up the Band was originally a pretty dark satire. When that flopped, they rewrote it as a laugh-packed comedy and replaced a lot of the songs, but kept the title song, a march that ends the first act in both versions.


March 25-29


3/25: Sir Edward Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No.5 in C

Between 1901 and 1930 Sir Edward Elgar wrote 5 Pomp and Circumstance Marches.  No.1 is familiar music for graduations, the others are not heard so often, so we will remedy that situation by hearing the last of the group today


3/26: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Procession of the Nobles from Mlada

If you remember watching Agronsky and Company on PBS, chances are you will know today’s march, “The Procession of the Nobles” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov from his opera Mlada, a detective story where a ghost helps her former fiancée track down her murderer.


3/27: Giuseppe Verdi: Grand March from Aida

Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida is the grandest of “grand operas”, with two ballets and a procession of soldiers and maybe an elephant or two, all against the backdrop of ancient Egypt.  The procession supplies today’s march.


3/28: PDQ Bach: March of the Cute Little Wood Sprites

J.S Bach had twenty-odd children, and the oddest of these was P.D.Q. Bach. Today’s march comes from this…uh…”unique” composer.


3/29: Sir Arthur Sullivan: The Entrance of the Peers from Iolanthe

In Gilbert and Sullivan’s satirical operetta Iolanthe, the supernatural world goes to war against the House of Peers. In today’s march, the Peers parade their privilege and position.