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The Stars and Stripes Forever (Arr Goode)

A Stars & stripes Freak-out on a monster organ with David Goode

Brilliant virtuoso organist David Goode brought the house down at the 1998 Calgary International Organ Festival with his own remarkable arrangement of Sousa's famous Stars and Stripes march. Basing his adaptation on the sensationally demanding arrangement by the great pianist Vladimir Horovitz, he devised an even more daring extravaganza, playing the main tune with his right foot, the bass line with his left foot, the harmonies with his left hand and the top line counterpoint with his right hand. The result is a dazzling, bravura fireworks display which has already made great organ history.

Jon Tolansky

 

Stars & Stripes

My arrangement of the Stars & Stripes seems to have captured the public imagination in a way I hardly expected a year ago! James Parsons had invited me to teach on the `Pulling Out the Stops' course for junior organists at Oundle in England, and requested a Sousa march as part of a recital through the scintillating Horowitz arrangement of the 1950 (Horowitz having been one of my favourite performers while growing up) and settled on that.

The time for the concert was drawing near when I realised that I still hadn’t learnt it – and so, knowing there was at least one version around, I hurriedly ordered the music from my local bookstore. Imagine my alarm when they rang back to say nothing was available in print! So there was nothing for it but to transcribe the Horowitz by ear, complete with added chromatic scales in the pedals and one or two unexpected harmonies. This was done on a Walkman during a couple of long coach journeys to London and back. I had almost completed it – five days to go until the concert – when the bookstore finally announced they did have it after all! However, my work wasn’t wasted since it turned out to be an organ duet version….

I got it learns with much gruelling slow practice, and it proved a great hit with the children, and indeed with several audiences throughout last summer. So when I was wondering what to prepare for the Encore Prize which the Calgary competition were offering in September, I decided to go ahead with this hoping they wouldn’t find the whole idea just a bit too light-hearted for their taste. I also hoped the Canadians wouldn’t resent someone from England playing then an American piece. In the end I narrowly squeaked through ahead of Sarah Baldock’s very suave (and very British!) offering, the Scherzetto by Whitlock. Next stop Iceland perhaps – or Mongolia? or Peru?

David Goode


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