Music of American Composers
With this release, the Georgia Brass Band proudly recognizes the music of notable American composers. Much of the music contained in this collection was written specifically for British-style brass band, an ensemble that came to prominence in Victorian era England. Some of the featured music was written for other instruments but has been skillfully arranged by people who know that almost any type of music sounds better when played by a brass band. The common denominator is that all of the music on this recording originally came from the pens (or music notation software) of American composers. Some of the composers represented here are virtually household names, even if not typically associated with brass band music. John Williams is best known for his movie soundtracks (many of which contain fantastic brass writing) while Hoagy Carmichael was a piano player, singer, composer of popular songs, and occasional actor. Two composers with strong ties to “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band are featured; John Philip Sousa served with distinction as Bandmaster prior to forming his own band, and Stephen Bulla served with distinction for thirty years as arranger to the band and chamber orchestra, as well as for numerous White House functions. James Curnow and William Himes have hundreds of instrumental and vocal compositions to their credit and are particularly well-known in both brass and wind band circles as composers, conductors, and educators. They, along with Stephen Bulla, have been involved in brass banding their entire lives. Karl King ranks with Sousa as an important march composer and penned some of the best-known screamers and marches in the repertoire. Fiddle master Jay Ungar is perhaps the composer here who is least associated with brass music, but the brass band arrangement of the tune for which he is best known makes a great addition to the repertoire.
While this entire recording features American music, we are especially pleased to highlight several items with specific regional ties and particular significance to the Georgia Brass Band. The Williams and Sousa pieces were both composed for major events held in Atlanta roughly a century apart. Decade Celebration was written for the band as our first commissioned work. Aspects of Praise was the test piece for our first contest victory. Georgia On My Mind is, of course, the tune most obviously associated with the band’s home and it permeates our local culture. We’re glad the Georgia Brass Band is on your mind and we appreciate your support of this project. Enjoy!