I'm Going to Sing

A Chrestomathy of Sacred Song

for Tenor Voice and Four Players

Hale Smith (composer)


  • Solo Tenor
  • Clarinet in B
  • Violin
  • Violoncello
  • Piano
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Made available from composer's original edition
Walter Turnbull had spoken to me several times of his desire that I should write a piece for the Boys Choir of Harlem. When he did call, I was surprised at his request for a setting of hymns and/or spirituals for solo tenor voice and a small chamber ensemble. Until his 1990 recital with Warren George Wilson, I was entirely unaware of his wonderful vocal abilities. I asked him for a list of hymns which included a particular favorite of his mother: ?It Is Well With My Soul.? I didn?t know the song ? in fact, I didn?t know ?I?m Gonna Sing,? either, but together, they suggested a progression of textual and musical logic to four songs connected by a motive that is suggested in the first entry of the cello. The motive reaches its full expression in the ?Blues Threnody,? the expressive center of the piece. After a brief pause, ?It Is Well? serves as an optimistic commentary: an optimism that is born of the experience of living. Postscript: I have deliberately avoided the traditional harmonies and rhythms connected with hymns. In my opinion, most of such settings are dull, unimaginative, and inept. Mine may be no better, but, at least the rhythms are closer to those of the English language, and as for the harmony: what I hear is what I write.
SKU: 114-42059
Duration: 18:30
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Product Type: Score and Parts
Page count: 76
UPC: 6-80160-69118-0
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