Four Spirituals

for Two Sopranos, Mixed Chorus and Orchestra

Adolphus Hailstork

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Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The "Four Spirituals" were commissioned by Peter Gelb, the producer of the Kathleen Battle ?Jessye Norman Spirituals concert. I was asked to arrange the ?opener,? "Great Day", two of the middle spirituals ("In Dat Great Gittin? Up Mornin?" and "Certny Lord"), and what was to be the finale, "He?s Got the Whole World in His Hand". Many composers and arrangers had been approached to submit materials for the concert, and, regretfully, my arrangements were not chosen.

These arrangements were conceived as a set. To open the concert I decided to write a short prelude, for the orchestra, which presents fragments of some of the spirituals which were to be heard in the concert. Then, I intended for the chorus to march in, as if in a church service. Finally, I sought to unify the beginning, middle, and end of the concert with a common musical element, that being the melody to "Great Day!" which appears in two of the other spirituals.

The idea of arranging the slave songs for symphony orchestra, operatic sopranos, and an opera chorus, admittedly is controversial. Although I have quoted spiritual melodies in my instrumental works, generally, when they are sung I prefer the unaccompanied chorus. I hope performers and listeners alike will find the spirit of the original songs intact.

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1991
Duration 00:12:00
Orchestration 1. Prelude/Great Day 2. In Dat Great Gittin Up Morning 3. Certny Lord 4. He' s Got the Whole World in His Hands 2Sop. Soli, SATB Chorus; 1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 0; Timp. Perc. Str.

Details

1. Prelude/Great Day
2. In Dat Great Gittin Up Morning
3. Certny Lord
4. He' s Got the Whole World in His Hands