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From Schubert to Spirituals

  • Date: 20 May 2006, Sunday
  • Time: 8pm
  • Location: Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Atlanta

Conductors: J. Wayne Baughman, John Brandt, Linda Lufter Morgan


  1. Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Mass in G (soloists: Sharon Stephenson, soprano; Jim Bell, tenor; W. Dwight Coleman, baritone)
  2. Henryk Górecki (1933), Totus Tuus
  3. Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986), Quatre Motets
  4. arr. Parker, Alice (1925) & Robert Shaw (1916-1999), Ride On, King Jesus
  5. arr. Bartholomew, Marshall (1885-1985), Little Innocent Lamb
  6. arr. William L. Dawson (1899-1990), There is a Balm in Gilead (soloist: Nila Alexander, soprano)
    Ain'-a That Good News

Program Notes (excerpted)

In his tragically short lifetime, Franz Peter Schubert was an amazingly prolific and gifted composer. His incomparable output of compositions includes approximately 600 songs, nine symphonies, dozens of instrumental chamber works, a large body of solo and duo piano works, a capella and accompanied choral works (both sacred and secular), and six Masses.

The Mass in G (No. 2) was composed in just six days in 1815 and received its first performance in Liechtenthal church a short time later. In that same year, Schubert completed 144 songs, a symphony and another Mass. The Mass in G is quite simple with beautiful melodies and relatively uncomplicated harmonies throughout. The four-part chorus is joined by organ and string orchestra and soprano, tenor and baritone soloists.

Totus Tuus was written by the highly acclaimed Polish composer, Henryk Mikolaj Górecki, and received its first performance at a High Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in Victory Square, Warsaw on June 14 1987. It has since become part of the standard contemporary choral repertoire and has received many performances worldwide.

Maurice Duruflé was a highly self-critical French composer who published comparatively little music (about a dozen titles). Duruflé's interest in Gregorian Chant is clearly illustrated in these four little gems. Not unlike his heavenly Requiem (Op. 9), the Quatre Motets gives the listener a clear tonal picture of each chant melody followed by delightful harmonic embellishments.

Two genres of music can be claimed as truly "American"; African-American spirituals and jazz. The four examples of spirituals on tonight's program represent the arranging skills of some of the giants of 20th and 21st century choral arranging. Ride On, King Jesus is one of dozens of spirituals, hymns and folk songs which came from the highly successful collaboration of Alice Parker and Robert Shaw. Marshall Bartholomew used his arranging skills and his visible position as conductor of the Yale Glee Club (1921-1953) to produce Little Innocent Lamb and many other arrangements as part of G. Schirmer's Yale Glee Club Choral Series. And, finally, perhaps the most performed and best-loved of the spirituals are the arrangements by William Levi Dawson. He founded the music department at Tuskegee Institute (Alabama) in 1931 along with the famed Tuskegee Choir, which he conducted for 25 years. There is a Balm in Gilead and Ain'-a That Good News have been performed thousands of times by middle school, high school, college and professional choruses throughout the U.S. and much of Europe for more than half a century.

Hear Clips

You can hear clips from our concert by clicking Music Clips.

Current Schedule

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