Richard Milburn was a 19th-century African-American composer and barber who wrote the melody for “Listen to the Mocking Bird” which was later set to lyrics by Alice Hawthorne, also known as Septimus Winner (1827 – 1902). The song’s extreme popularity led Gustavus Washington Ingalls (1824-1903) as bandmaster for New Hampshire’s 3th Regimental band (also known as the Port Royal Band), to contribute a spirited arrangement of Milburn’s melody for the Port Royal band books used during the American Civil War.
Originally #47 in the Port Royal Band Books, “Mocking Bird” is presented here in an arrangement for Brass Quintet. All of the parts contain some technical passages that may prove a challenge for less experienced players, not just as some 16th note phrases for the Trombone, but also some fairly challenging imitative “chirping” sounds for the trumpet and horn. The 1st trumpet part also spends significant time in a higher tessitura with little opportunity for rest, which is why some additional transpositions are provided in this package.
Performance notes: For all entries in the Port Royal Civil War Brass Quintet series, it’s recommended to utilize instruments such as Cornets and Euphonium in place of the Trumpet and Trombone parts to more faithfully emulate the sounds of the conical-bore instruments of the period. Extra sets of 1st Trumpet parts are included, transposed for use with Eb Tpt or Bb Piccolo Tpt instead if desired.
This arrangement is a great opportunity to incorporate historical music from the American Civil War era as well as works from composers of color into your Brass Quintet’s repertoire.
Also available as part of the Port Royal Civil War Series for Brass Quintet - 3-Pack