In 1990, while the chairman of the music department of Paine College, I did a bunch of research into music by African-American composers at the Philadelphia Free Library. I came back with an armload of material, as Philadelphia was a center for Antebellum composers.

 

These composers wrote what we would call “social music,” or music for social occasions such as marches and a wide variety of dance tunes. As was typical of bands of the times (think “Herbert Clarke”) these tunes and arrangements were largely melody-driven with a soloist (usually the bandleader) taking all of the melody and the rest of the band playing in support.

 

This stack remained untouched until 2015 when I decided to create a one-movement suite utilizing these songs in the form of the Canadian Brass’s “Pirates of Penzance Suite.” Listen to the Mockingbird Suite is the result.
 

This piece is unrecorded, so the mp3 is a FINALE MIDI audio extract (not the greatest sound, but you can get an idea of what the piece sounds like.

 

Liner Notes
 

Listen to the Mockingbird Suite sells for $30.00 for the hard copy,                                                          and $20.00 for pdfs.

Mockingbird Suite - Rudy Volkmann
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