“Manhattan Beach” (1893)
Following in the footsteps of Patrick Gilmore, Sousa became a popular figure at Manhattan Beach, the famous New York summer resort. One of his most lavish medals was presented to him in 1894 by the proprietor, Austin Corbin, and other shareholders. The previous season, Sousa had dedicated this march to Corbin, and one of his manuscripts is inscribed to him.
Sousa once told a reporter that the march had been derived from an earlier composition, probably “The Phoenix March” (1875): “I wrote ‘Manhattan Beach’ while playing a summer engagement at that once-popular resort, using as the basis an old march I had composed when I was with Milton Nobles.”
“Manhattan Beach” became a staple of bands all over the world, but the Sousa Band performed it differently by playing the trio and last section as a short descriptive piece. In this interpretation, soft clarinet arpeggios suggest the rolling ocean waves as one strolls along the beach. A band is heard in the distance. It grows louder and then fades away as the stroller continues along the beach.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 43. Used by permission.