QUICKSTEP: Brass Band Music of the American Civil War


Prior to and during the American Civil War (1861-1865), brass band music flourished in the United States. Indeed, so pervasive and iconic were brass bands during this period that they may rightly be considered the defining musical sound of America in the 19th century. This recording brings to life the authentic character of a military band in the U.S. during the Civil War and features the remarkable music of Thomas Coates.  

Douglas Hedwig - Music Director, Conductor and Producer.

Produced to commemorate and coincide with the 150th Anniversary (Sesquicentennial) of the American Civil War (2011-2015), this recording is performed by the Coates Brass Band. Much of the music has here been recorded for the first time. In striving to recreate the artistic style of the best musical ensembles of the Civil War period, performance-practice details such as tempo, articulation, dynamics, phrasing and balance have all been carefully researched and integrated into these performances.

The Coates Brass Band, which honors the musicians of the 47th PA Vol. Infantry Regt. Band, specializes in historically informed performance of mid-19th century brass music. All of the music on this recording was performed on original instruments and mouthpieces of the period. The individual players have dedicated themselves to meeting the challenges presented by these early brass instruments, manufactured at a time when the relatively new technology of valve systems and overall instrument design were not standardized and were undergoing nearly continuous experimentation and change.

This is the music that sent soldiers off to war in 1861, and stirred, inspired, consoled, and uplifted them and their loved ones in towns and cities across America throughout the war’s duration, and beyond. It is hoped that this recording will help to create a new appreciation among contemporary audiences for this music and a fuller understanding of its major influences on 19th-century American life.

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