Olde Towne Brass
Historic Notes - Yankee Bands In Dixie's Land
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.
When This Cruel War Is Over & Hoist Up the Flag Q.S. , 1863, Henry Tucker & Septimus Winner [1st Brigade Band ]
With words provided by Charles Carroll Sawyer, “Cruel War” (a.k.a.: Weeping Sad and Lonely) was one of the most popular tunes on both sides of the conflict. Over a million copies were sold in 1863, alone. This was the tune that started certain officers to ban singing in camps due to its maudlin content. “Hoist” was the official song of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Troops. The words were by Billy Holmes. This arrangement comes from the 1st Brigade Band and was the last tune played in their hometown as they departed for the war.
The inclusion of the shanty, with its minor mode, results in a very effective medley. This is the same arrangement as found in the 3rd NH “Port Royal Band” books .Winner was from a musical family in that his father was a violinmaker and his brother, Joseph, was also a composer (The Little Brown Jug). Septimus was a storekeeper and music teacher in Philadelphia where he would hear “Whistlin' Dick” Milburn, a Negro boy, serenading people in the street with his guitar and bird-like warbling. Some sources also say Winner was a barber. Winner used one of Dick's melodies for Mockingbird and gave him prominent credit on the published music. He published it under his mother's name, Alice Hawthorne. He also gave Dick a job in the store. Lacking foresight, Winner sold the rights to the song for $5.00 after slow initial sales. The song sold millions of copies over the next 50 years. Later editions removed the credit to Milburn.
Faust Q.S. (#125), 1859, Charles François Gounod (1818 – 1893) / Coon [3rd NH (2nd Brigade- Port Royal) Band Books]
Gounod was born into an artistic family. His father was a painter and his mother a pianist, both well-known in Paris, France. By the age of 20, Charles had won the Prix de Rome, followed the next year by the Grand Prix de Rome for his cantatas “Marie Stuart” and “Fernand”, respectively. The opera based on Goethe's masterpiece, brought Gounod the fame he richly deserved. However, many doubted the lyrical composer could have created such a work and years of accusations of forgery followed. Act IV begins with this resounding march and chorus of soldiers. . It was said that “Faust” was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite opera and that he attended no less than three performances of it during his presidency. Francis Scala, leader of the U.S. Marine band performed “the Soldier’s Chorus” quite often for the President, who often requested its playing. When serenading the president, the “Soldiers Chorus” was often followed by “Hail to the Chief,” as the spirited music would always bring Mr. Lincoln to his feet. This arrangement is by Oscar Coon.
Alpha Quickstep (Be Kind To The Loved Ones /The Dearest Spot of Earth) – (#19) [1st Brigade Band Books]
As a composer of hymns, Isaac Baker Woodbury (1819 – 1858) could proudly say more of his hymns were being sung than any by his contemporaries during his lifetime. One can occasionally find some of his hymns in present-day hymnals though they are becoming more rare. One can still find his tune “SELENA” coupled with Charles Wesley's “O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done.” “Be Kind,” dates from 1847, when a great surge of “home” songs was published, and praises the virtue of love of family and fellow man. Little is known about William Thomas Wrighton (1816 – 1880), but the popularity of The Dearest Spot of Earth to Me Is Home, Sweet Home must have been tremendous as no fewer than 12 different piano settings exist. The sentiment is similar to that other “Home, Sweet, Home,” in the desire to return to the comfort of home. Wrighton also composed Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still.
Elfin Waltz, 1856, Joseph Labitzky (1802 – 1881) [1st Brigade Band Books] The date quoted is from a collection of Easy Airs arranged for the Piano-Forte publisher by Winner & Schuster. Obviously the actual composition date precedes 1856.
Battle Hymn Q.S. [25th Mass Band Books] A rousing introduction and theme, that almost buries the title tune, is no match for the simple statement of William Steffe's inspirational melody. The composer of the opening (probably the arranger) is unknown.
When the Civil War broke out there was no great national hymn, generally accepted as such. This need of a new national hymn to meet the new and existing conditions, one that would be the great peace song, yet the war song of the nation was deeply felt at the very beginning of the war. At the request of many prominent Union men, a committee, composed of scholars and statesmen was appointed to select such a hymn for the use of the homes in the north and the army in the field. The committee waited three months for such a song. Twelve hundred competitors presented their compositions for the prize of $250 for the music and $250 for the words; but not one of them was accepted. The committee found that there was no soul-feeling, no fire of patriotism, running through the songs. Of all the twelve hundred songs composed in 1861 in competition for the prize of $500 -- not one is alive today!
But Julia Ward Howe, then not widely known as a poet, had visited the Army of the Potomac, and there she saw the commotion of war, the bodies shattered, the lives sacrificed, and the stress and agony of the government in its mortal grapple with rebellion. These things lay heavy on her heart, which throbbed in unison with the great heart of the nation; an one night in December, in 1861, she sprang from her bed and wrote the expression of her soul in these words of living power. When she returned to Boston she showed them to James T. Fields, then editor of the Atlantic Monthly. He suggested the title, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”; and published them promptly. In the Atlantic Monthly for February 1862, the poem is printed on the first page, but the name of the author is not mentioned; indeed, no names are appended to the table of contents. (Notes from Bill Warren)
Centennial Quickstep, 1852, 1862, Claudio S. Grafulla (1810 – 1880) [1st Brigade Band Books]
Before discovering the actual source, this editor thought the tune may have been written for the centennial celebration of the Treaty of Paris (1763), which gave England control of the Wisconsin territory following the French and Indian War. It makes a nice story connection with the band from Wisconsin.
However, new research has revealed the tune was written to commemorate the centennial of the Hibernia Engine Co, No. 1, of Philadelphia (established: 1752 as Hibernia Fire Co.). It came as no surprise that the composer was the great C.S. Grafulla. The original piano publication indicates it was played by the Philadelphia Brass Band at the Centennial Anniversary on February 20, 1852. The Philadelphia band was actually Beck’s Band, who accompanied the fireman on their centennial excursion to New York, Boston and elsewhere. To celebrate the nation’s oldest established fire department, great parades were organized in several major cities. In NYC, over 25 bands marched in celebration. Dodworth provided 2 complete bands, and performed in the orchestra at a honor banquet that evening. A commemorative program lists 5 bands in Boston’s parade. Also on display in those parades was the latest in fire-fighting technology: the new steam engine pumper, commissioned by the Hibernians.
This terrific arrangement takes the melody to more lyrical heights in a 6/8 pattern, as opposed to the original 2/4.
Wide Awake Quickstep J.A. King – (#6) [1st Brigade Band Books]
J.A. King was a well-known arranger of music for bands in America during the third quarter of the 19th century and leader of the Elmyra Cornet Band prior to the Civil War. The “Wide Awakes” were an early Republican political group that supported the election of Abraham Lincoln for president in 1860. The Wide-Awakes were Unionists that wanted to show that they were alert and ever vigilant in defense of the Federal government in Washington. Another “Wide Awake Quickstep” was composed and published by Max Mayo and performed by Schreiber’s Albany Cornet Band, of Albany, New York.
“This organization, or chain of organizations, known as “Wide Awakes,” are said to reach already four hundred thousand men, thoroughly drilled, and ready for any service which their leaders may demand at their hands. They had their origin in that traditional nest of traitors, Hartford, Connecticut, and, near the very coast where the blue lights of the second war of Independence were burnt as signals to a public enemy, the red torch-lights of Black Republican incendiarism are lit in the present canvass. There can be no mistaking the meaning of military organizations, nor does it need any suspicious acuteness to point a moral to such names as “Zouave Wide Awakes,” and “Rail-Splitters battalion.” Are there no “Brown Avengers,” or “Harper's Ferry Raiders” among them? Of the Presidential candidates three are agreed that a State has no right to secede, and on that issue occupy the same platform; and the “Wide Awakes” have their authority for believing that in the event of secession of Alabama or South Carolina it will be not only a pretext but a duty to march into Southern territory. Let the first armed invader, whether a Federal minion or an abolition drilled incendiary, who violates the sanctity of her territory, find her citizens not only wide awake, but prepared to meet him.” Richmond Enquirer, Friday, September 28, 1860: page 1, column 5
Sophia Waltz, 18--, Johann Strauss (1825 – 1899) op. 185 [1st Brigade Band Books]
The correct title is “Sophie.”
#47 - Largo al Factotum from The Barber of Seville, 1816, Gioacchino Rossini (1792 – 1868) [25th Mass. Band Books]
This popular aria is undoubtedly the most recognizable in all opera, due to its being featured in a series of Looney Tunes and other cartoon features. The image of the robust Figaro, Seville’s barber and resident “jack-of-all-trades” (or factotum), can only be rivaled by that of the insatiable Falstaff (from those other operas). Figaro is hired by Count Almaviva to come up with a scheme whereby he could marry Rosina, ward of Dr. Bartolo who also wishes to marry her. In his aria, Figaro develops a plan to sneak the Count in under disguise as a sick soldier. After several thwarted attempts and facing arrest as kidnappers, the count reveals his identity and his marriage to Rosina is applauded by all but Dr. Bartolo, who must be satisfied with receiving her dowry, instead.
An interesting side note is that Rossini’s production was met with hostility and considered sacrilege, as Giovanni Paiseillo’s production, 40 years earlier, was heralded as a masterpiece. However, after the first performance, audiences realized the superiority of Rossini’s version. A solo cornet version of Paiseillo’s “Hope Told a Flat’ring Tale” can be found in the Olde Towne Brass collection.
Bonnie Jean Q.S. , 1856, Charles Osborne [1st Brigade Band Books]
All original sheet music show the title as Bonny Jean. Two different tunes and lyric sets have been found; however, The Osborne version is correct here. With lyrics written by George Linley, several editions were released. The song was quite popular with Gen. JEB Stuart and his musical entourage.
Dixie (#56) w/ Reels 1-3, 1864, Emmett and L.L. Sanburn “Tecumseh's Q.S.” [1st Brigade Band Books]
Dixie, although associated with the Confederacy, was present, in one form or another, in every Union Band Book, having been a favorite of President Lincoln and just one Hell of a good tune. When the 3rd Wisconsin reorganized as the 1st Brigade Band, their first assignment was Huntsville, AL.— staging area for Sherman's campaign to Atlanta. . The second melody presented is an old fife and drum tune known as “Post’s Quickstep.” During the Civil War, the tune was revived by L. L Sanburn and published under the titled “Tecumseh’s Quick Step.” The combination of Dixie and the quickstep honoring William Tecumseh Sherman was, indeed, an irony. Of course, the song could have been about the American Indian chief that fought the U.S. during the War of 1812, instead.
Dixie's Land, 1859, Daniel Decatur Emmett (1815 – 1904) [Squire's Cornet Band Olio, Set #1 1871]
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 Brig. Gen. Albert Pike, whose War Song of Dixie called “Southrons to Arms.” 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 “captured” and, 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 when Carlo Patti, music director of the Variety Theatre, used it 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.
Conflicting stories surround Mr. Hermann Arnold’s acquisition of the tune, but what is known is that he arranged the tune as a quickstep for the inaugural parade of Jefferson Davis, February 18, 1861. Arnold claimed to have heard Emmett perform the tune at the New Montgomery Theater, when John Wilkes Booth starred at its opening. Arnold transcribed the tune onto the wallpaper of the theater, and later arranged it for his band. That segment of wallpaper is now housed in the Alabama Department of Archives and History Building, in Montgomery. However, in a 1924 interview, Mr. Arnold said that the tune was an old German song, and that after showing Emmett the tune; Emmett added words and published it as his own.
Though many composers claimed to have written Dixie, none were successful in their challenge. This is not to say Emmett merely “pulled the song from thin air.” He later made conflicting statements as to its origin, stating it was an old circus tune or even a nursery song. It is very likely he heard it, or something quite similar, as a child in Knox County, Ohio. That was also the home of the Snowden Family Band, a family of free blacks, who supplemented their income by giving concerts throughout the region. Two sons, Ben and Lew, continued performing into the 1900s. Their common headstone is inscribed: “They taught ‘Dixie’ to Dan Emmett.”
Garibaldi March, 1858, Alessio Olivieri / C.S. Grafulla [3rd NH “Port Royal” Books]
The great Italian patriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi, was born in 1807 to a country overrun by France and Austria. By age 25, he was organizing rebellions against foreign oppression, whether in his Italian homeland or others, such as Brazil and Uruguay. Garibaldi's popularity, his skill at rousing the masses, and his military exploits are all credited with making the unification of Italy possible. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Garibaldi volunteered his services to President Abraham Lincoln and was invited to serve as a major general. Garibaldi declined, stating he would only accept command of the entire Union Army, and only on condition that slavery would definitely be abolished, and the offer was quietly withdrawn.Garibaldi had actually exiled in New York City, in 1850.
During the Austro-Sardinian War of 1859, Luigi Mercantini composed the Hymn of Garibaldi, which was set to music by Oliveri. A version was published in America, with new words by Pasquale Rondinella, entitled “All Forward,” to benefit wounded Union soldiers.
This march version differs slightly from the original publication, and is accompanied by the “Yellow Rose of Texas.”
Gentle Annie , Stephen Foster
Washington Greys, 1849, Claudio S. Grafulla (1810 – 1880) [4th NH, Manchester Cornet Band Books]
Dedicated to the 8th Regiment, New York National Guard, the “Washington Greys,” this is still popular with today’s bands. Grafulla was a prolific composer of military and popular music as well as a pre-eminent conductor of bands. Moving from his homeland of Minorca, Spain to America in 1838, Grafulla quickly established his reputation playing in Ned Lothian’s New York Brass Band, which was attached to the 7th Regiment New York State Militia. He had attained national prominence by 1850, and band books of the mid to late 1800s (including Union and Confederate bands during the Civil War) were filled with numerous charts. Grafulla formed his own 48-piece band (complete with woodwinds and trombones), which was known, erroneously, as the 7th Regiment Band. This band did accompany the 7th Regiment in the war, but only for 3 months – returning home to support the effort through benefit concerts. Grafulla led the band until his death from pneumonia, at age 68. Grafulla was unmarried and left no heirs.
Soldiers’ Return March, The
By age 21, Irish-born Patrick Gilmore was already leader of the Boston Brigade Band. At the start of the Civil War, he was leader of the 24th Mass. Regt. Band. A few years later he was made Bandmaster of the entire U.S. Army. Though his career flourished after the war, he will always be remembered for one tune, which he borrowed from his Irish homeland, When Johnny Comes Marching Home. This is an arrangement of the tune as it was originally published, under the title, The Soldier's Return.
Battle Cry & Kingdom Coming Quickstep, 1864, George F. Root & Henry C. Work (1832 – 1884) [1st Brigade Band Books]
This arrangement is from the books of the 1st Brigade Band of Brodhead, Wisconsin. This unit organized as the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry Regt. Band in 1861 but was decommissioned by the Federal government in 1862 in an effort to curb costs. The band re-organized in early 1864 as the 1st Brigade Band, 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps. This was Gen. Sherman's Division and the band accompanied him on his “march to the sea.” Their first assignment was in Huntsville, Alabama (this writer's home). The band was on furlough during Sherman's burning of Atlanta, but rejoined the Division shortly thereafter. Root's “Battle Cry” was the definitive rally song for the Union and though the phrase “rally 'round the flag” appears in the song it should not be confused with another popular song: “Rally 'Round the Flag.” “Kingdom Coming” is a delightful comic song describing the sudden disappearance of the master everyone called “Cap'n” and the changes on the plantation after the threat of Union occupation.
The Battle Cry of Freedom, 1862 George Frederick Root (1820 – 1895) [piano: Root & Cady]
Root was already a leading music educator and editor when he joined his brother and Chauncey Cady at their publishing firm and began producing some of the most memorable songs of the 1800's. This rallying song sparked great fervor and spurred-on many men in battle, North and South. As with most popular songs, words were often altered to fit the singer, so that a powerful pro-Union song could be sung with as much zeal by any Confederate sympathizer. In his biography, Root claims to have been inspired by Lincoln's second call for troops and wrote the words and music in only a few hours and performed it at a huge rally on July 24, 1862 with the ink barely dry.
Kingdom Coming (Year of Jubilo), 1862, Henry Clay Work (1832 – 1884) [piano: Root & Cady]
Publisher George Root recognized a masterpiece when he saw it and set out some of the most elaborate promotion this song, culminating with the introduction by Christy's Minstrels prior to its release. The song's success was immediate and overwhelming. Though Work had never witnessed first-hand the slavery situation in the South, he was familiar as his father was active in the Underground Railroad and their home was a “station.” Despite its view, the song was extremely popular in the South. When Blackmar published the song in Augusta, the cover boasted “As Sung by the First Tennessee Opera Troupe,” which was actually the company’s glee club. The song was reportedly sung by Negro troops as they marched into Richmond April 3, 1865.