“The Bride Elect" (1897)
After the widespread success of his operetta El Capitan, Sousa regrettably declined an offer of $100,000 for The Bride Elect, from which this march was extracted. The operetta soon passed from the musical scene, but the march was a favorite of bandsmen for many years to come.
The march was pieced together from various sections of the operetta. The principal theme was developed from the song, “Unchain the Dogs of War,” which ended Act II. The march was sometimes programmed by the Sousa Band under that title.
According to Frank Simon, cornetist of the Sousa Band from 1914 to 1920, “The Bride Elect” was among Sousa’s own favorites. He once referred to it as the best march he had ever written.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 43. Used by permission.