Although Russian composer Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky penned this exquisite overture not to celebrate American success in the War of 1812, but to commemorate his country’s valiant defense against Napoleon’s invasion, the orchestral piece has long provided the soundtrack for patriotic celebrations in the United States.
Some remember the War of 1812 for no other reason than that it gave us our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This collection includes a wealth of songs that illustrate the growth of American bands during the war years, the very bands that helped popularize that most distinguished of American compositions.
African-American bandleader Francis Johnson of Philadelphia was a star during the early nineteenth century. He attracted large audiences in public and private events of all kinds, particularly during the war years. This collection captures his genius.
The West Point Band, the most celebrated of all American military bands, was first assembled during the years of the War of 1812. Back then the band performed a thrilling array of battle hymns, overtures, marches, and country tunes during each of its public appearances. This recording by the newest generation of the West Point Band reveals that those rich musical traditions have endured for nearly two hundred years.