When Johnny Comes Marching Home
Composer: Morton Gould
Trans. Philip J. Long
Born in Richmond Hill, New York, on 10 December 1913, Gould was recognized early on as a child prodigy with the ability to improvise and compose. At the age of six he had his first composition published. He studied at the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School), but his most important teachers were Abby Whiteside (piano) and Vincent Jones (composition). During the Depression, Gould (still a teenager) found work in New York’s vaudeville and movie theaters. When Radio City Music Hall opened, the young Gould was its staff pianist. By the age of 21 he was conducting and arranging a series of orchestral programs for WOR Mutual Radio. Gould attained national prominence through his work in radio, as he appealed to a wide-ranging audience with his combination of classical and popular programming. During the 1940s Gould appeared on the “Cresta Blanca Carnival” program and “The Chrysler Hour” (CBS), reaching an audience of millions. As a conductor, Gould led all the major American orchestras as well as those of Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, and Australia. In 1966 he won a Grammy Award for his recording of Ives’s First Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a recording that led the way for a new appreciation of Ives’s work. Gould received the American Symphony Orchestra League’s 1983 Gold Baton Award. In addition to his Pulitzer Prize and Kennedy Center Honor, he was Musical America’s 1994 Composer-of-the-Year. A long-time member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Gould was elected president of ASCAP in 1986, a post he held until 1994. In 1986 he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He also served on the board of the American Symphony Orchestra League and on the National Endowment for the Arts music panel.
Publisher: Mills Music, Inc.
Year of composition: 1943
Type of composition: Fantasy march
Style: Fast march-like with board section in middle
Programming Suggestions: American Salute, written during World War II, is a fine example of both Gould’s sophisticated writing for the orchestra and his instinct for achieving broad appeal. The piece is based on the song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” originally written during the Civil War by Patrick Gilmore and subsequently securing a strong position within American popular culture. American Salute has become Gould’s most popular work; the composer attended a performance of the piece, given by the United States Military Academy Concert Band, on the last evening of his life.
Solo instruments: English Horn, timpani, snare drum, 3 bassoons, oboe
Anecdotal Notes: Requires 3 strong bassoonists as the have an important solo part, does have cues. English Horn solo is doubled in alto saxophone. Score is condensed which could cause rehearsal problems. Long lines of articulated passages could cause problems for younger players. Sudden transition into half time, could cause problems for younger ensembles.
Discography: Heritage I: The Music of Morton Gould. USAF Band of the West….An American Salute by Gould, Sousa, Herbert, Grofe, Williams, Barber, Ives–Naxos 559147…..Stars And Stripes Forever & The Greatest Marches. Label: Rca. ASIN: B000003F5U
Recording of "American Salute: When Johnny Comes Marching Home"