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Quickstep With A Crew Cut

May 21, 2011

Samuel Barber's Commando March was written shortly after the composer enlisted in the United States Army, during World War II. The work was completed in February, 1943 and was premiered on May 23 of that year by the Army Air Force Tactical Training Command Band in Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, most likely with the composer conducting. Fredric V. Grunfeld, a music critic for High Fidelity magazine described the march as "an old-fashioned quickstep sporting a crew cut," (a great, multi-layered pun) and the work received many performances in the final years of the war. Barber made a transcription of the march for full orchestra, which was premiered by Serge Koussevitzky conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra on October 29, 1943.

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