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Interpreting Negro Spiritual Art Songs

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Introductory presentation on interpretive and musical elements to consider in performance of Negro Spirituals composed for concert performance. Includes video performance of Spirituals composed by Burleigh ("Deep River"), MacGimsey ("Sweet Little Jesus Boy"), Carter ("Toccata" from Cantata), and Johnson ("Witness").

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Interpreting Negro Spiritual Art Songs

  1. 1. An Introduction Presented by Randye Jones, Soprano/researcher Assisted by Marlys Grimm, piano Wednesday, April 8, 2015 Bucksbaum 152, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
  2. 2.  Options for Melodic or Rhythmic Improvisation  How much Dialect should be used
  3. 3.  Nature of the text  Composer’s approach to song  Technical challenges for performers  Finding comfort zone
  4. 4.  - Published 1964  - Last movement of cycle  - Limited improvisation  - Limited dialect  - High energy, technically challenging
  5. 5.  Deep River – Harry T. Burleigh  I Want To Die Easy – Hale Smith  Sweet Little Jesus Boy – Robert MacGimsey  Toccata (from Cantata) – John Carter  Witness – Hall Johnson
  6. 6. Questions ?
  7. 7.  Burleigh, H. T. The Spirituals of Harry T. Burleigh. Melville, NY: Belwin-Mills, 1984. M1670 .S751x 1984 (High voice), M1670 .S752x 1984 (Low voice)  Patterson, Willis, comp. The New Negro Spiritual Collection . [S.l. : Willis C. Patterson], c2002. M1670 .N49x 2002  MacGimsey, Robert. “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.” New York: Carl Fischer, 1934.  Carter, John. Cantata. New York: Southern Music Publishing, 1964.  Johnson, Hall. The Hall Johnson Collection. New York: Carl Fischer, 2003. M1670.J63 H35x 2003
  8. 8.  “Deep River”: Marian Anderson, Prima Voce, 1996 by Nimbus, NI 7882, compact disc. Call no. An21p1  “I Want to Die Easy”: Donnie Ray Albert, In Recital, 2003 by Cinnabar Records, CNB1402, compact disc.  “Sweet Little Jesus Boy”: Kathleen Battle, Angel’s Glory, 1996 by Sony Classical, SK 62723, compact disc.  “Toccata”: Videmus, Sence You Went Away, 1998 by Albany Records, TROY 388, compact disc. Call no. Se4911  “Witness”: Leontyne Price, Return to Carnegie Hall, 1996 by RCA Victor Red Seal, 09026-68435, compact disc.
  9. 9. Randye Jones Email: research@artofthenegrospiritual www.artofthenegrospiritual.com

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