Black History Month: Choral Trailblazers

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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Loïs Mailou Jones, La Baker (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

To kick off Black History Month, Kent Tritle presents music by African-American composers and arrangers. We hear beloved spirituals as well as some lesser-known works by Florence Price, Aldolphus Hailstork and William Grant Still.

Choral music has long been a key part of the African-American story. From spirituals to art songs and beyond, composers have drawn on their own traditions, European classical music, jazz and much more to create something unique.


Florence Beatrice Price:

Song for Snow

Moon Bridge

VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and Chorus with Orchestra

Philip Brunelle, Conductor

Clarion 907         


R. Nathaniel Dett: Listen to the Lambs

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale

Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, Conductor

Marquis 81293 



Hale Smith:

In Memoriam - Beryl Rubinstein

I - Moderato

II - Poème D’Automne

III - Elegy

Kulas Choir and Chamber Orchestra

Robert Shaw, Conductor

Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI) 860 


Adolphus Hailstork:

The Cloths of Heaven

Tyrone Clinton, Percussion; Tyrone Webb, Percussion; Aaron Paige, Percussion

The Atlanta Singers

David Morrow, Conductor

Aca Digital 20111


Traditional (arranger, Adolphus Hailstork):

Motherless Child

Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

Kent Tritle, Conductor

MSR Classics MS 1144


William Grant Still:

And They Lynched Him on a Tree:

No.1. We’ve Swung Him Higher

No.2. Look Dere

No.3. Oh, Sorrow

No.4. He Was Her Baby

No.5. They Took Away His Freedom

No.6. They Left Him Hanging

William Warfield, Spoken Vocals; Hilda Harris, Mezzo Soprano

VocalEssence Ensemble

Leigh Morris Chorale

Philip Brunelle, Conductor

Clarion 905


Ulysses S. Kay:

A New Song - Three Psalms for Chorus: Sing Unto the Lord

Trinity Church Wall Street

Larry King, Conductor


David Hurd: Let the peace of Christ Rule in Your Hearts

Oregon Catholic Press Choir

Trinitas Publishing


Leonard De Paur: In That Great Gettin’ Morning

Leonard De Paur Infantry Chorus



Moses Hogan: Great Day

The Moses Hogan Singers

Barbara Hendricks, Soloist

Warner Classics                            

Comments [3]

Elizabeth Kane from High Falls, NY

Florence Price's story was fascinating, and wonderfully presented. Thank you Terence McKnight. The history of racism in America is even more profoundly disturbing and tragic--and also in cases like this--also more deeply inspiring, reviewed in the context of someone's life shaped by it, and in a context in which we can see very personally what we gained, and lost, because of it.

Feb. 05 2014 11:01 PM
zyxonian from brooklyn

has the program accidentally been cut? It just stopped in a middle of a piece.

Feb. 02 2014 12:09 PM
Eugene in Ithaca

Why has this program been curtailed to less than eight minutes?

Feb. 02 2014 11:09 AM

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