Recognition March (circa 1880)
For many years the only suggestion of this composition’s existence was an eleven-measure excerpt which constituted the January 17 entry in Sousa’s musical almanac of 1910, Through the Year with Sousa. Then in 1970, when Sousa’s heirs presented the Library of Congress with manuscripts they had held in storage since 1932, one of the surprises was the discovery of a full set of band parts of an untitled Sousa march. Comparison with the excerpt from Through the Year with Sousa showed the march to be none other than the long-lost Recognition March. The parts were in a copyist’s hand.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 79. Used by permission.
An analysis of the march’s form shows it to be of 1880 vintage. It bears no similarity to any of the published Sousa marches of that era, and this gives rise to an interesting speculation. It is entirely possible that “Recognition March” is a revised version of an unpublished march known as “Salutation” (1873). Sousa had written “Salutation” at the age of nineteen for a ceremony in which a new leader of the U. S. Marine Band took command. The new leader had belittled him for his effort. Seven years later, Sousa replaced this same man as leader of the Marine Band. Not being of the inclination to waste music, Sousa may have revised “Salutation” and given it the new name. Thus “Salutation” would then have finally received its “recognition.”