Adolphus Hailstork: Choral Works

Adolphus Hailstork received his doctorate in composition from Michigan State University, where he was a student of H. Owen Reed. He had previously studied at Manhattan School of Music under Vittono Giannini and David Diamond, at the American Institute at Fountainbleau with Nadia Boulanger, and at Howard University with Mark Fax.

Dr. Hailstork has written numerous works for chorus, solo voice, various chamber ensembles, band, and orchestra. Among his compositions are: Celebration which, in 1976, was recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Out of the Depths, which won the 1977 Belwin-Mills Max Winkler Award presented by the Band Directors National Association; Amerian Guernica, awarded first prize in a national contest sponsored by the Virginia College Band Directors in 1983; and Mourn Not the Dead which received the 1971 Ernest Bloch Award for choral composition. In 1995 the chamber work Consort Piece was awarded First Prize by the University of Delaware Festival of Contemporary Music.

During the 1980's Hailstork created three of his largest and most frequently performed choral works: the triptych Songs of lsaiah, the oratorio Done Made My Vow, and the cantata I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes.

In 1990 a consortium of five orchestras commissioned a piano concerto which was premiered by Leon Bates in 1992. In addition, Dr. Hailstork was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music to write Festival Music for the Baltimore Symphony. And in 1991 Celebration was performed by the Chicago Symphony led by Maestro Daniel Barenboim. Most recently, the composer's first venture into opera, Paul Laurence Dunbar: Common Ground, (commissioned by the Dayton Opera), received its world premiere in 1995.

Mr. Hailstork currently is on the faculty of Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he is Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence.

When I began singing as a boy soprano in the (Episcopal) Cathedral of All Saints, in Albany, New York, I fell in love with choral music. Participation in the great Anglican choral tradition with its treasury of splendid music ranging from Gregorian chant to Ralph Vaughn Williams and beyond, was one of the formative influences in my musical life.

Another powerful experience was four years singing in the remarkable Howard University choir led by Warner Lawson. From 1959 to 1963 the choir appeared frequently with the National Symphony Orchestra, performing major choral works such as the Verdi Requiem, the Beethoven Ninth Symphony, and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

My very first composition was written for my high school choir, my first published work was a madrigal, Cease Sorrows Now, and my first contest prize was the Ernest Bloch Award for another choral work, Mourn Not the Dead.

The works on this recording, written during the years 1979-1991, cover a wide range of styles and themes. The three Spiritual Songs reflect my love of the Black choral tradition from the spiritual to gospel. Various works (Nocturne, I Will Sing Of Life, and A Carol For All Children were written from a humanist viewpoint for the choir of the Unitarian Church of Norfolk, where I have served as choir director since 1979. The Seven Songs of the Rubaiyat werebegun simply as an exercise in creating a series of songs using a variety of different scales.

I have been fortunate to meet the gifted choral conductor, Donald J. McCullough, who, through his artistry, has brought my work to life. The recordings were made at two different performances (1991 and 1994) of his McCullough Chorale.

Adolphus Hailstork

As with many contemporary composers, Hailstork's rich harmonic language is based on the traditional scales and modes. To these dissonance is added, usually to give a dramatic expression of the text. This is done for either the highlighting of a specific word, or the creation of a more general mood. In addition, textural variety is effectively used to convey the text's meaning. Textures range from traditional four-part writing to different combinations of voices in either a contrapuntal or homophonic arrangement.

O Praise the Lord

O Praise the Lord, Hallelujah.

O praise the Lord all ye nations;

praise Him all ye people.

For His loving kindness is great to us,

And the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.

Psalm 117

My Lord, what a moanin'

My Lord, what a moanin'.

When the stars begin to fall.

You'll hear the trumpet sound

To wake the nations under ground,

Lookin' for my God's right hand

When the stars begin to fall.

You'll hear the sinner moan...

You'll hear the people shout! ...



They crucified my Lord,

And he never said a mumblin' word.

They nailed him to a tree, , ,

The pierced him in the side...

He bowed his head and died...


The Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

of night and light and the halflight,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet,

Tread softly

because you tread on my dreams.

I Will Sing of Life

Sing! I will sing!

If none will sing of life,

Then I will sing its praise.

Not in the treble voice of youth,

Not on instruments of one string,

Not by happy sounding brasses,

Nor by cadence sounding on drums

would I praise life as those who sing hymns

only to the sun

Forgetting nature in torment

Man in agony

I would sing soft and sad,

surging with emotion, remembering pain,

fear and death.

The swamping morass and seed beds too where courage and life began to bloom,

And man in sweat quivered at what he saw,

and man spoke

in verse and ballade and epic, recounting glory,

learning self.

Hailing life, as the deep surge to be.

If none will sing of life then I will sing its praise,

singing with deep voice the hymn that extols

restless beings tense with destiny.

If none will sing of life then I will sing its praise.

Rev. Arthur Graham


Have you known the beauty of a summer night

with a white streak of stars in a charcoal sky?

Have you heard the insects with their countless array of sounds,

endlessly busy through the otherwise silent night?

Have you walked in the field with the cool wind

and the black grass rustling around you?

Have you at last turned your face to the brilliant sky above,

and seen the suns floating there, each a fiery universe?

Have you lost yourself in that broad expanse so that the black

grass and the humming insects and the chill breeze have all vanished?

Have you felt the wonder that flows without end in those mighty

spaces where countless fires burn in the surrounding darkness?

Have you kissed the night and its promise, when it turned its

expectant face to your lips?

If you have done those things, lover, then come and watch these

skies, then come and watch these fields, with me, my love.

Rev. James Curtis

Arise! My Beloved

Arise! my beloved, my fair one and

come away:

For lo, the winter is past.

Flowers appear on the earth,

The time of singing is here.

The voice of the dove is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:10-12

Set Me As A Seal Upon Thine Heart

Set me as a seal upon thine heart,

as a seal upon thine arm;

For love is strong as death;

Jealousy is cruel as the grave.

Flashes thereof are flashes of fire,

a very flame of the Lord.

Many waters cannot quench love,

Neither can the floods drown it;

For love is strong as death.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

The Lamb

Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

Gave thee life, and bade thee feed

By the stream, and o'er the mead;

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing, wooly bright;

Gave thee such a tender voice,

Making all the vales rejoice?

Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.

He is called by thy name

For he calls himself a Lamb.

He is meek, and he is mild;

He became a little child.

I a child, and thou a lamb,

We are called by his name.

Little Lamb, God bless thee.

Little Lamb, God bless thee.

William Blake

Seven Songs of the Rubáiyát

Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of Spring

Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:

The Bird of Time has but a little way

To flutter - and the Bird is on the Wing.

The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon

Turns Ashes - or it prospers; and anon,

Like snow upon the Desert's dusty Face,

Lighting a little hour or two - is gone.

Ah, my Beloved, fill the cup that clears

Today of past Regrets and future Fears;

Tomorrow! - Why, Tomorrow I may be

Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years.

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,

Before we too into the Dust descend;

Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,

Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer,

and - sans End!

O threats of Hell and hopes of Paradise!

One thing at least is certain, - This Life Flies;

One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;

The Flower that once has blown forever dies.

The Revelation of Devout and Learn'd

Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd,

Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep,

They told their comrades, and to Sleep return'd.

I sent my Soul into the Invisible,

some letter of that After-life to spell;

And by and by my Soul return'd to me,

And answered, "I myself am Heaven and Hell."

Omar Kyayyam, trans. Edward Fitzgerald

A Carol for All Children

Sleep, sleep little child;

May the world adore you.

We pray little child:

Peaceful life before you.

Bless, bless, little child,

All the world around you.

We pray little child:

Love and joy surround you.

Share, share, little child,

With the world about you.

Give, care, little child,

Though the world may doubt you.

Spread the light of life,

Warm each heart with caring.

End the night of strife;

Teach us peace and sharing.

When your day is through,

And your world is sleeping,

May the joy of you

In each heart be keeping.

Adolphus Hailstork

Donald J. McCullough founded the McCullough Chorale (formerly Virginia Pro Musica) in 1984. The Chorale performs a broad repertoire of choral music, ranging from the Renaissance period to the present. McCullough is also chorus master for the Virginia Symphony Chorus, which he created in 1990. In addition, he is the choir master at First Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, and co-director of the church's Music Series. A member of the City of Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities, McCullough also serves as a choral clinician and conductor of choral festivals throughout the state.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, McCullough received two bachelor's degrees from Stetson University; one in 1979 in organ and one in 1980 in vocal performance. In 1982, he received a Master of Sacred Music degree and a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University. McCullough also has studied conducting with internationally known conductor Robert Page and composition with renowned composers Adolphus Hailstork, Alice Parker, and Lloyd Pfautsch.

The McCullough Chorale, Virginia's only professional chorale, has earned the accolade from Virginian-Pilot/Ledger-Star music critic Mark Mobley as the "finest…in Hampton Roads." Internationally known choral conductor Robert Page has hailed Conductor Don McCullough as "one of the six most gifted choral conductors of his generation.” The Chorale has charmed audiences in Norwich, England as part of a sister city exchange program, in 1992 at the Summer Music Series of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and at the National Convention of the Association of Anglican Musicians. The Chorale has also been heard on the radio as well; its performance of Adolphus Hailstork's Seven Songs of the Rubaiyat appearedon the nationally broadcast radio program, “The First Art.” National Public Radio's "Performance Today" has featured the Chorale singing Hailstork's compositions.

O Praise the Lord, My Lord What a Moanin', and A Carol For All Children are published by Alliance Music, Houston, Texas. Crucifixion, The Cloths of Heaven, I Will Sing of Life, Nocturne, and The Lamb are published by Theodore Presser, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Set Me As A Seal is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

Recording engineers: Robert Wish and Brent Havens, Mastersound Studio, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Cover design: Chris Tompkins


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