Volume Eight in this series features music popular during the United States’ “War Between The States,” also known as The Civil War. This medley features five tunes popular during this era, including:
Garry Owen — Following a dramatic introduction depicting frightened and footsore soldiers gathering for battle, the fife (piccolo) starts off this rallying march, soon to be joined by the entire regiment (band).
The Rose of Alabama — A lively and hauntingly beautiful yet not well-known melody, this tune reflects all the loves left behind as the young men marched off to war.
- When Johnny Comes Marching Home – The ever-popular marching song that inspired thousands of young soldiers to continue advancing in the face of overwhelming fatigue.
Aura Lee — This ever-popular tune people will recognize as the melody Elvis Presley repurposed into a top hit as “Love Me Tender” – an original tune from 1861 very popular during the years of the Civil War..
The Battle Cry of Freedom — Winding up this medley is a tune written in 1862 also called “Rally Round the Flag.” This tune was so popular that it sold more than 700,000 copies and was used as campaign songs in several presidential elections after the Civil War .
Here are the program notes the MCSB has used for this piece:
The Civil War was, as are all wars, a terrible time in our history.
When the war began in 1861, the vast majority of the soldiers were farm boys, young men with little to no education, drafted to fight for a cause which many of them felt strongly about. So strong were individual feelings about secession and independence rights, that families were often torn apart, with brothers of the same family fighting on different sides, fighting against each other in this war.
The suite of tunes you are about to hear includes rallying songs, songs of lament for loves left behind, and patriotic songs from this era of our history.
Not only does this medley include these songs, it also includes a vivid musical portrayal of some of the moods and emotions prevalent at this time.
You will hear the fear and reluctance, the anger and the irregular stomping feet as barely-trained draftees march off to war. You will hear Garry Owen and When Johnny Comes Marching Home, two of the songs the officers told the musicians to play to inspire the men, and you’ll hear fanfare calls to battle. You’ll hear lost love’s laments with The Rose of Alabama and Aura Lee. And you will hear the thrilling patriotic inspiration of The Battle Cry of Freedom.
Ladies and Gentlemen, enjoy with us now this performance of the eighth in David Miller’s American Frontier Suites series, Brother Against Brother.
This piece has been carefully scored to be a challenging Grade 3, and would be another ideal piece for state contest lists.
It will also make an ideal easy-to-master showcase piece for your next concert.
This work will make an ideal easy-to-master showcase piece for your next concert.