Pomp & Circumstance Marches, Polonia Symphonic Prelude, Coronation March, Funeral March, March of the Mogul Emperors, March from Caractacus
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, James Judd
My first observation here is about packaging. I should think any CD sporting a cover illustrating a military marching band would contain music played by such an outfit not a symphony orchestra. So I think there’s an issue of misrepresentation surrounding this record. So I guess that the label ‘Buyer Beware’ could reasonably appear on the case to warn of possible disappointment. For it’s probably true that many marching tunes are greatly improved when presented by a military band. It would certainly be true for most of the pieces presented here, I feel. Of course, Pomp & Circumstance No 1 is as excitingly jaunty as ever in this format, but frankly the other works sound rather pedestrian, even flat-footed, when compared to the imagined possibilities available from a marching band. It’s all just a bit too smooth. It needs to be more exciting, more brash, more jagged even.