Olde Towne Brass
Historic Notes - Olde Towne Brass: Live
These notes are free for you to use for verbal introductions, however, the material may not be reproduced without consent and recognition of the researcher and compiler, Terry Cornett.
Attila Q.S. , 1846 , Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901) [1st Brigade Band Books]
Yes, there is an opera about the infamous Hun -- and it's by Verdi! The opera is based on Zacharias Werner's 1808 play: Attila, König der Hunnen. The quickstep is taken from Act II, Scene 1 where Ezio, the Roman general, contemplates his fate before he faces Attila on the battlefield, and sings È gettata la mia sorte, "My lot is cast." This arrangement is by C.S. Grafulla
Philip’s Military Quick Step, ? , Claudio Grafulla (1812 – 1880) [26th NC, CSA Band Books]
This same selection appears in both the 3rd NH “Port Royal” Band books and the 1st Brigade Band books, as Col. White’s Q.S. That is the same title under which J.W. Pepper published the work. Several early Grafulla works are included in the 26th NC band books, though no explanation for the change in name has been found.
Twinkling Stars & Far Away Q.S. , John P. Ordway & Harrison Millard [3rd NH "Port Royal" Band Books]
The full song titles are “Twinkling Stars are Laughing, Love” and “Thou Art Far Away.”
Hurrah-Storm Galop , 18--, Kéler-Béla (Adalbert von Keller) (1820-1882) arr: C.S. Grafulla [3rd NH "Port Royal" Books]
The raging tempest in the introduction is reminiscent of Von Suppe's "Poet and Peasant Overture." Kéler-Béla was a popular, Hungarian waltz conductor (like Gung'l) and composer. He conducted Gung'l's orchestra during 1854 -55. He served as Bandmaster in the 10th Austrian Infantry Regt. from 1856-1863 and wrote many works for military band. His most famous composition is Lustspiel Overture. It is fun to have the audience sing along after the layered fanfares. The tune also appears in the books of the 26th NC, C.S.A. The words are easy enough: "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!"
Star of the County Down , traditional Irish , 18th century, arr: Charles L. Johnston
Though the tune is much older, it was first printed in the book: English Country Songs, in 1893. It’s the story of courting the most beautiful girl in county Down, Ireland, by a young suitor. The lyric is attributed to Cathal McGarvey, a poet of the second half of the 19th century. The melody was formerly known as "May love Nell". It is also known as “When a Man’s in Love,” where the meter is a bold march in 4/4. In 1906, British composer Ralph Vaughn-Williams used the tune for his setting of Louis Fitzgerald Benson’s hymn, “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” for the English Hymnal. The hymn tune is listed as KINGSFOLD. Charles Johnston, a former band director from Monroe Louisiana, and member of the 2nd Louisiana String Band, arranged it for full Eb brass band.
Gay and Happy Medley , ? , H. S. Cartee, Louis Winters and J. Warner [26th NC CSA Band Books]
This medley consists of three songs, “We’re All So Fond of Kissing,” “Gay and Happy,” and “Wilderness.” For the later, see Old Abe Lincoln, below. No references to “Kissing” has been found, to date; however “Gay and Happy” has a diverse history. The original song was composed by Louis Winters and sung enthusiastically by Texas Confederate soldiers “We’re the boys so gay and happy, where-so-ever we chance to be, If at home or on camp duty, ‘tis the same, we’re always free.” Newer words, from a lady’s point of view, were written, (I am the girl that’s gay and happy), which was sung by Philadelphia entertainer Miss Anne Rush, and yet another version was penned by Miss Fanny Forrest and called “I Am the Girl That’s Free and Easy.” J.P. Webster, who wrote Lorena and Sweet By and By, wrote an answer to the song, called “We Are the Gay and Happy Suckers of the State of Illinois,” a song of solidarity for the girls back home, who should never marry a coward, but wait and be a soldier’s bride.
Oh! Cast That Shadow From Thy Brow , anon. [4th NH, Manchester Cornet Band Books, 1852]
Though listed on the piano sheet music as “A Favorite Ballad,” and published by several different publishers, including W.C. Peters and F.D. Benteen, it is odd we know nothing of the composer. The text is taken from The Vow of the Peacock (1835) by Letitia Elizabeth Landon. L.E.L. was an immensely popular poet and editor of the Literary Gazette. The gentle melancholy and romantic sentiment, her writings embodied, suited the taste of the period. The “song” is that of parting love, but with more of an edge. This editor believes it is sung by “Liela,” who is concerned why the music of her lute and voice no longer enchant her love, who has “breathed the fragrant air” of the wild roses she wears “as some cold vapor from the tomb!” Now she will not hear his pleas, as it mocks her heart and she vows they never meet again.
Yankee Doodle w/ Variations , trad/ Richard Willis [piano, ca. 1820]
Shortly after Richard Willis came to America, from Ireland, his talents were rewarded with a commission to be Director of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He held the position from 1817 to 1830. Being a bugle virtuoso, Willis composed the variations to feature the newly introduced “keyed,” or Kent bugle. Invented in 1810 by another Irishman, Joseph Haliday, the keyed bugle was basically a standard instrument with holes along its tubing and padded keys, similar to those found on woodwind instruments, which were hinged so that by pressing a key, the pad would rise allowing the tone to escape from a shorter length of pipe. This is the same principle as all woodwind instruments. The tone of the instrument changes dramatically as more of the chamber is used. For this reason, it was not accepted into the orchestra. Different makers installed as few as 5 to as many as 12 keys onto the bugle's frame. Because of the lack of standardization and the obvious manipulation skills required, the instrument was abandoned when Friedrich Blühmel’s invention of rotary valves (1828) proved to be easier to play and maintain. Many masters of the instrument, who were not impressed, continued to perform on the bugles. One of the most widely known virtuosos was Francis Johnson.
For this recording, cornet virtuoso Steve Charpie joins Olde Towne Brass, performing on a reproduction keyed bugle by Robb Stewart.
Dixie's Land 1859, Daniel Decatur Emmett (1815-1904) & 1861, Harry Macarthy (1834-1888) tune: by Valentine Vousden
One of the most familiar and popular tunes of all time, Dixie's Land (or Dixie) was subjected to many lyrical parodies, including one by Gen. Albert Pike, C.S.A. Emmett's "walk-around" was being performed in Chicago where Abraham Lincoln, then attorney for the Illinois Central Railroad in the "Sand-Bar" litigation, stood, applauded violently, and shouted "Let's have it again! Let's have it again!" Lincoln requested the tune frequently after he was elected and had it performed immediately upon hearing of Lee's surrender proclaiming it, once again, the whole Nation's property. Mrs. John Wood, a New Orleans actress, has been credited with the South's introduction to the tune where it was later used in a musical production of John Brougham's Pocahontas. There the tune accompanied a march and drill routine of 40 women dressed as Zouaves. It was so successful it had to be repeated 7 times. This "martial" use of the tune carried over to the soldiers when a quickstep version was arranged for Louisiana regiments. Mr. Herman Arnold arranged the tune for the inaugural parade of Jefferson Davis, February 22, 1862.
Arizona Quickstep 18--, John F. Stratton [Stratton Military Band Journal]
No Direct info, some history:
In the 1850s, petitions were sent to Congress for separate territories in what was then New Mexico. Congress ignored them because the people favored slavery. In 1861, the people elected a delegate to the Confederate Congress, and in 1863, the Confederate government established the Territory of Arizona. Fearing the loss of Arizona gold to the Confederacy, the federal government quickly established boundaries for a new Arizona Territory. It would be another 49 years before Arizona would be granted statehood.
Jordan Am A Hard Road Ta Trabbel / Wait For The Wagon
Emmett / Buckley [26th Regt. North Carolina, C.S.A. Band Books]
E.P. Christy has been credited with the most familiar set of words to Emmett's song, referring to it as The Other Side of Jordan. It's chorus, though, is probably Emmett's, with the lines “Then pull off yer coat 'n' roll up yer sleeve, Jordan am a hard road ta trabbel, I believe.” Though many parody lyrics surfaced, none were more effective than John R. Thompson's Confederate version: Richmond Is A Hard Road To Travel. In it, he details the many failed campaigns to take the Confederate Capitol.
R. Bishop Buckley’s (1826 – 1867) song was published as: “an Ethiopian Song for the Piano-Forte by George P. Knauff”, but most researchers credit Buckley with its composition. The delightful melody lends itself easily to parody and was used by politicians, propagandists and soldiers, alike.
College Galop, 1862, arr: Gustavus W. Ingalls (1824 –?) [3rd NH “Port Royal” Band Books]
This is a medley of “College” songs arranged by G.W. Ingalls who served as Band Master of the 3rd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Band, later the 2nd Brigade Band, 10th Army Corps stationed at Port Royal, Hilton Head, South Carolina. Several school songs are presented along with some student favorites. Included is Lauriger Horatious (O Tannenbaum) from Yale and Oxford, Upidee, which was used as a parody of Longfellow’s Excelsior, Benny Haven's Oh! (Wearing of the Green) from West Point Academy, Litoria! Litoria! from Yale, and the German student song, Gaudeamus Igitur, used in Brahms' Academic Overture.
Poet & Peasant Overture 1847, Franz Von Suppe (1819 – 95) [Francis Scala Collection, Library of Congress]
Franz Von Suppe was born in Spalato, Dalmatia (now Croatia), and by age 10, was composing serenades and by age 14 had written his Mass, Messa-Dalmatia, which was performed at the cathedral in Zara, followed by 2 more masses the next year. He composed a long string of operas, operettas, and other theater works, beginning with Virginia in 1837, completing his final work Das Modell in 1895, shortly before his death – over 133 items. He was conductor at the Leopoldstadt Theatre, Vienna, Austria, from 1865 till 1895. His most successful operas were Fatinitza and Boccacio; however, most of his operetta overtures remained popular, especially with brass bands. These include: Light Cavalry, Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna, Jolly Robbers, The Beautiful Galatea, and Poet and Peasant.
This overture is still considered repertoire for band, today. Even non-musicians recognize it, as sections have been used in countless cartoons. Francis Scala, leader of the U.S. Marine Band, from 1855 – 1871 helped establish the tradition of fine service bands, in Washington D.C. An Italian by birth, Scala studied at the music college Naples. His principal instrument was the clarinet. Around 1841, Scala enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Third-Class Musician, aboard the frigate Brandywine, then anchored in Naples. Scala was given the challenge to improve the quality of the man-of-war’s band in one month, and by doing so, received promotion to Bandmaster. After a rough ocean voyage from Gibraltar to Norfolk, Virginia, Scala became so seasick, he put in for his discharge. Despite recommendations for elite Navy and Army positions, the sight of salt water caused him to decline all offers, until he secured a place in the Marine Band. He soon became Fife Major, and then succeeded Raphael Triay as bandleader in 1855.
The arrangements found in the Scala Collection, run the gamut – from guitar and piano scores, to wind octets to large ensembles of mixed winds and brass. Some of the latter have as many as 20 separate parts.