Deep River: Songs and Spirituals of Harry T. Burleigh



Deep River


Ann Sears, Piano


Oral Moses, Bass-Baritone


Songs and Spirituals of Harry T. Burleigh






Deep River: Songs and Spirituals of Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949)




In January of 1892 when Harry T. Burleigh, the twenty-five-year-old African-American baritone from Erie, Pennsylvania, arrived in New York City to audition for a place at the National Conservattory of Music, few could have guessed how significantly this young man would affect the course of American music. His influence on Antonin Dvorák, who served as Director of the conservatory during three of Burleigh's four years of study, is reflected in Dvorák's use of African-American musical elements in the New World Symphony and his other American compositions. Burleigh's vibrant singing of plantation songs and spirituals, alongside the traditional recital repertoire, gave Americans accustomed to minstrel perofrmances and "coon" songs new aural images of African-American culture. By the second decade of this century, his secular art songs were being sung by some of the most distinguished international artists. And when he began to publish choral and solo arrangements of spirituals (in 1913 and 1916, respectively), he pioneered in bringing a distinctive African-American voice into American choral and art song repertoire, making these "sorrow songs"1 accessible to singers of all national and ethnic backgrounds.




Burleigh was born in Erie in 1866, in a small community of African Americans in this fast-growing Great Lakes industrial town. The third generation of his family to be free, his musical heritage encompassed the plantation songs and spirituals sung by his mother and by his grandfather, who had been a slave; the strong tradition of sacred art music at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where his family were active members and where he was a charter member of the St. Paul's Boys' Choir; the songs of stevedores on the wharves and steamships of Lake Erie near his home; and occasional performances by international concert artists which Burleigh managed by tenacious ingenuity to hear.




Burleigh was known in Erie as a fine singer at "funerals, entertainments, and concerts"2 as well as in churches. The personal integrity and strong sense of self which undergirded his musical gifts were nourished by his family. The determination of his grandfather, Hamilton E. Waters, to obtain his release from slavery, to provide for his family, to asisst fugitive slaves (in spite of his blindness), and to secure for his daughters the best possible education, gave Burleigh a model of personal achievement and commitment to "racial uplift" that shaped his character. Burleigh's mother, Elizabeth Waters, graduated in 1855 from Avery College, near Pittsburgh, one of the first colleges for African Americans chartered in the United States. Though racial discrimination and family responsilities kept her from the teaching career for which she trained, she had the benefit of a classical education available to few women in the mid-nineteenth century. A "natural singer," she and her sister, Louise Waters, fostered Burleigh's ambition to be a professional concert singer at a time when most African Americans could succeed only in minstrel or vaudeville troupes.




In his 1878 study, Music and Some Highly Musical People, black music historian James Monroe Trotter expressed the frustration of many African Americans of Burleigh's educational and social accomplishment, that white musicians such as Lowell Mason and his Boston colleagues "wanted nothing so much from blacks as 'slave songs' All else was esteemed beyond their reach." Trotter longed for black composers to be delivered from "the bondage of slave songs," and to be welcomed into the procession of European and American composers whose lineage stretched back "to Dufay and Des Prez."3 However, for Harry T. Burleigh, the slave songs were not a bondage from which to escape, but "pure gold," a heritage of universal artistic worth, to be shared. In another image he often used, they were "a great, free fountain of pure melody."4




In later years Burleigh said that Antonin Dvorák had "pointed the way."5 Although he did not formally study composition with Dvorák, Burleigh spent many hours in Dvorák's home, singing the songs he'd learned from his grandfather. The composer often interrupted him to ask about specific music idioms such as the flatted seventh, and asked "hundreds of questions" about the lives of slaves. The hours Burleigh spent discussing music with Dvorák and working as his music copyist profoundly affected him. Dvorák's interest in African-American music, his personal encouragement of Burleigh's own composition, and his demonstration of a sophisticated approach to the use of folk music as a creative resource, inspired Burleigh to work throughout his career to preserve the slave songs. Ultimately, he committed himself to fulfilling Dvorák's challenge to "give those melodies to the world."6




At the National Conservatory Burleigh earned a reputation as one of the most gifted students. He formed relationships with a number of influential musicians with whom he worked later in his career. Among these were Victor Herbert, Horatio Parker, William Arms Fisher, and African-American violinist and composer Will Marion Cook. A featured soloist in public concerts while he was a student, Burleigh taught voice at the Conservatory after his graduation until his career as a recitalist and independent voice teacher was established.




Immediately on his arrival in New York in 1892, Burleigh stepped into the first rank of African-American concert artists, appearing at Star Concerts with sporanos Sissieretta Jones and Florence Batson, tenor Sidney Woodward, and violinist Joseph Douglass. In 1894 he won the position of baritone soloist at the wealthy St. George's Episcopal Church, and soon afterward he was in demand to sing at social functions in the homes of J.P. Morgan, the Vanderbilts, and others of New York's Euro-American social elite. His recital tours took him throughout New England, as far west as Chicago and Milwaukee, and in 1908, to London, where he sang for King Edward VII and other dignitaries.




Reviewers commented on the richness of his voice, his dignified but vibrant presence, and the range of expressiveness in his performance. Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor praised his "outstanding voice and dramatic instinct"7 and spoke of him as "my true friend and greatest singer of my songs."8 Frederick R. Burton (whose arrangements of Ojibway songs Burleigh sometimes sang) wrote that Burleigh "brought an art of astonishing versatility" to a lengthy and diverse recital program. His "rich, mellow, pure" voice seemed "to have a special tone color for every emotion." Burton felt that Burleigh stood "easily among the best" of the famous artists of his day.9




Burleigh paved the way for the next generation of African-American recital singers by demonstrating that African-American musicians could meet any standard of professional excellence, while his sensitive interpretations revealed the inherent artistry of African-American song. He was both model and mentor to Roland Hayes (whom he sometimes accompanied in his early performances of spirituals), as well as to Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson, whose careers are more widely known. As a voice teacher and coach he trained many others, including Ella Belle Davis, Abbie Mitchell (who created the role of Clara in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess), Carol Brice, and a number of the other singers who appeared in black musical theater productions.




Burleigh's role as a composer developed naturally from his experience as a singer. He published his first set of art songs, Three Songs for Baritone or Mezzo-Soprano, in 1898. By the mid-teens his songs were reviewed regularly in Musical America, and an impressive number of singers, headed by matinee idol John McCormack, considered them among their favorite American art songs. Burleigh's songs are characterized by singable, expressive melody; careful attention to the wedding of text and tune, sometimes resulting in word painting; expressive use of the lowered third and seventh steps of the scale; active harmonic rhythm and increasingly bold harmonic exploration; and an inventive craftsmanship which brings an unconventional touch to even the most predictable settings. By 1940 Burleigh had published more than one hundred art songs, including three song cycles, in addition to his many spiritual arrangements.




Though Burleigh sang plantation melodies throughout his recital career and performed spirituals from at least 1906 on, he did not begin to publish the solo arrangements for which he is best known until 1916, when his "Deep River" was the "hit" of the recital season in New York City. From 1900 to 1915 he frequently traveled with Booker T. Washington through the resort areas of New England, raising money for Tuskegee Institute. It was in these performances that Burleigh refined his approach to the treatment of spirituals.




The struggle for dignity and respect challenged every African-American performer at the turn of the century, and along with his concern for artistic excellence, Burleigh always insisted on appropriate musical style and performance demeanor in the presentation of spirituals. In the 1870s the Fisk Jubilee Singers were first mocked as "colored minstrels,"10 then "exalted for being minstrels with dignity."11 Thirty years later, in the age of "coon songs," the leader of a Tuskegee men's quartet complained in a letter to Booker T. Washington: "We are told to our faces often that though our quartette is one of the best that has ever been heard up here, the would like us better if we would 'play the Nigger'their own wordsmore Every day we are made to understand that if there was less refinement about us and more fool, we would do better."12




It is important to understand this background in listening to Burleigh's arrangements of spirituals. While a number of his settings have become staples


of concert and sacred repertoire, Burleigh has been criticized for diluting the spirituals' cultural essence, which was rooted in an African music aesthetic, "with sophisticated modern French harmonies" and "effective 'concert endings.'"13 In fact, Burleigh's spiritual arrangements are considerably less complex harmonically than his art songs of the same period. Though he was not attempting to replicate the oral tradition, Burleigh was keenly aware than any singer, black or white, who did not understand the context out of which the spirituals arose would be handicapped in presenting them effectively. The arrangements published by G. Ricordi & Sons included a foreword warning singers against careless or inappropriate treatment. Performances such as the ones on this disc by Oral Moses demonstrate how much of the inherent musical style cannot be transcribed in notation.




Since the 1916-17 season, when his arrangement of "Deep River" was the song most often performed in New York City recitals, Burleigh's solo arrangements of spirituals have been standard recital fare. Most are still in print in the 1984 collection published by Belwin-Mills. An exception is the 1930 arrangement of "Dry Bones." Though Paul Robeson recorded at least fifteen of Burleigh's Spiritual arrangements, there is no known recording of this one, which was dedicated to him.




The art songs on this recording range from two of his earliest, "Thy Heart" (1902) and "Mammy's Li'l Baby" (1903), through songs from the mid-teens and early twentieshis most productive periodto his last art song, "Lovely Dark and Lonely One" (1935). Of the love songs, "Thy Heart" contains some early examples of Asian imagery, a common theme in Burleigh's songs, as it was for many of his contemporaries. "The Spring, My Dear, Is No Longer Spring" (1914), is the second of Two Poems by W.E. Henley. "Exile" (1922) reflects Burleigh's love for opera (he said he saw Wagner's Tristan und Isolde sixty-six times!) and illustrates his use of musical quotation, or "the compositional use of memory."14 Though less harmonically venturesome than some, this song and "The Trees Have Grown So" (1923), represent his mature style.




"Mammy's Li'l Baby" (1903), is one of Burleigh's seven settings of dialect verse written by his wife, Louise Alston Burleigh. This plantation lullaby, dedicated to and performed by the German contralto Ernestine Schumann-Heink (the dialect was modified to accommodate her accent), was published in the same year as "Jean," his first commercial success. "The Dove and the Lily" (1917), a Swedish folksong, illustrates Burleigh's approach to folksong settings of any ethnic or national origin. He leaves the melody and the strophic form virtually unchanged, but the variety of chords and the active harmonic movement transform the style from folk song to Romantic art song. "Little Mother of Mine" (1917) was popularized by Irish tenor John McCormack, who performed at least twenty-seven of Burleigh's songs.




"Ethiopia Saluting the Colors" (1915), dedicated to bass Herbert Witherspoon, and "The Soldier" (1916) represent the heroic, declamatory style of some of Burleigh's most successful songs. Rupert Brook's "The Soldier" (1916) was one of three songs Burleigh wrote in response to World War I. (Another, James Weldon Johnson's "The Young Warrior" (1915), was translated into Italian and became the marching song of Italy's troops.)




"Oh! Rock Me, Julie" (1921) is one of four "Negro Folk Songs (Not Spirituals)" which Burleigh published in 1921. He created a simpler setting of this roustabout song for Henry E. Krehbiel's 1914 study Afro-American Folksongs. Burleigh dedicated the 1921 version to opera contralto Louise Homer.




It is fitting that Burleigh, who brought spirituals into American art song repertoire, should choose for his last art song the poem "Lovely Dark and Lonely One" (1935) by Langston Hughes, who brought into American poetry the voice of the blues.




Jean E. Snyder








1The term "sorrow songs" was popularized by W.E. B. DuBois in his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folks. DuBois headed each chapter with a muscial phrase from a spiritual, and in the last chapter, "Of the Sorrow Songs," he discussed the history and significance of the spirituals.




2This phrase is from copies of the subscription lists signed by Erie residents who contributed toward Burleigh's expenses during his first months of study in New York. A number of these sheets are now in the Burleigh Collection at the Erie County Historical Society, Erie, Pennsylvania. The statement which headed the sheets concluded, "During his musical studies he may only have occasional opportunities to earn money for his own support and a little assistance now from his Erie friends will do him more good than many times the amount later on. With his clerical education, his bass viol and a well trained voice he will be well equipped for life."




3Robert Stevenson, "America's First Black Music Historian," Journal of the American Musicological Society 22 (Fall 1973):401.




4Harry T. Burleigh, Letter to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Press release dated 10 November 1922. Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.




5"'Sweet Chariot' Inspired Anton Dvorák To Immortalize Negro Spirituals," New York World Telegram, 12 September 1941.








7William Tortolano, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Anglo-Black Composer, 1875-1912, Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, 1977, 117.




8Henry Beckett, "A Mighty Voice at 77," New York Post, 24 April 1944.




9Frederick R. Burton, Review of Burleigh's 11 May 1903 recital, untitled clipping, Yonkers, NY, paper, 12 May 1903. Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.




10Gustavus D. Pike, The Story of the Jubilee Singers and Their Campaign for Twenty Thousand Dollars, Boston: Lee and Shepard, Publishers, 1873, 11-23.




11John Lovell, Jr., Black Song: The Forge and the Flame. The Story of How the Afro-American Spiritual Was Hammered Out. New York: Macmillan, 1972, 405.




12Louis Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington Papers, v. 5, Urbana, Il.: Univ. Of Illinois Press, 1976, 592.




13Carl Van Vechten, "Folksong of the American Negro," Vanity Fair, July 1925.




14The "compositional use of memory" is a term used by Kenneth Peacock and Ross Lee Finney in an interview, "Ross Lee Finney at Eighty-Five: Weep Torn Land, in American Music 9 (Spring 1991): 16.








Beckett, Henry, "A Might Voice at 77." New York Post, 24 April 1944.




Burleigh, Harry T. Letter to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Press release dated 10 November 1922.




Burton, Frederick R. Review of Burleigh's 11 May 1903 recital, untitled clipping, Yonkers, New York, paper, 12 May 1903. Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.




Harlan, Louis R., ed. The Booker T. Washington Papers v.5 Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976.




Lovell, John, Jr. Black Song: The Forge and the Flame. The Story of How the Afro-American Spiritual Was Hammered Out. New York: Macmillan, 1972.




Pike, Gustavus D. The Jubilee Singers and Their Campaign for Twenty Thousand Dollars. Boston: Lee and Shepard, Publishers, 1873.




Snyder, Jean E. "Harry T. Burleigh and the Creative Expression of Bi-Musicality: A Study of an African-American Composer and the American Art Song." Ph.D. diss. University of Pittsburgh, 1992.




Stevenson, Robert. "America's First Black Music Historian." Journ. Amer. Mus. Soc. 22 (Fall 1973): 383-404.




"'Sweet Chariot' Inspired Anton Dvorák To Immortalize Negro Spirituals." New York World Telegram, 12 September 1941.




Tortolano, William. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Anglo-Black Composer, 1875-1912. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, 1977.




VanVechten, Carl. "Folksong of the American Negro." Vanity Fair, July 1925. In "Keep A-Inchin' Along": Selected Writings of Carl VanVecnten, ed. Bruce Kellner. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979, 34-43.




Deep River: Songs and Spirituals of Harry T. Burleigh




Deep River (1916)








Respectfully dedicated to Miss Mary Jordan




Deep river, my home is over Jordan,




Deep river, Lord, I want to cross over into campground.




Oh, don't you want to go to that gospel feast,




That promis'd land where all is peace? Oh,




Lovely Dark and Lonely One (1935)




Langston Hughes




Lovely dark and lonely one, Bare your bosom to the golden sun;




Do not be afraid of light, You who are a child of right.




Open wide your arms to life, Whirl in the wind of pain and strife.




Face the wall with the dark closed gate,




Beat with tireless hands and wait.




Lovely dark and lonely one, Bare your bosom to the sun.




From Collected Poems by Langston Hughes. Copyright ©1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.




Dry Bones (1930)




Ezekiel 37




To Paul Robeson




Down in de valley de sperret (spirit) spoke, 'Zekul (Ezekiel) go prophesy




An' 'Zekul saw de valley full o' dead men's bones; An' every bone was dry.




Dry bones, gwine-a (going to) gathuh in de mawnin' (morning),




Come togethuh an' rise an' shine,




Dry bones, gwine-a gathuh in de valley, An' some o' dem bones is mine.




Sperret (spirit) tol' (told) 'Zekul call de foa' (four) winds foath (forth)




An' breathe on de bones all slain,




Behol' he heard a noise, Ev'ry bone to his bone, Come togethuh an' lived again.




De graves all open'd an' de bones took breath




An' de skin covud (covered) ovuh (over) again,




An' dey (they) stood on dey feet Like de ahmy (army) o' my Lawd (Lord);




O, de bones was livin' men.




Some dem bones is my Mothuh's bones Come togethuh fo' to rise an' shine,




Some dem bones is my sistuh's bones An' some o' dem bones is mine.




Wade In De Water (1925)








Wade in de water, Wade in de water, children,




Wade in de water, God's a-goin' to trouble de water.




See dat band all dress'd in white, God's a-goin' to trouble de water.




De Leader looks like de Israelite, God's a-goin' to trouble de water.




See dat band all dress'd in red, God's a-goin' to trouble de water




It looks like de band dat Moses led. God's a-goin' to trouble de water.




Ethiopia Saluting The Colors (1915)




Walt Whitman




Dedicated to and sung by Mr. Herbert Witherspoon




"Who are you, dusky woman, so ancient, hardly human,




With your woolly white and turban'd head, and bare boney feet?




Why rising by the roadside here, Do you the colors greet?"




"Who are you, dusky woman?"




('Tis while our army lines Carolina's sands and pines,




Forth from thy hovel door, thou, Ethiopia, com'st to me,




As under doughty Sherman I march tow'rd the sea.)




"Me, master, years a hundred since, from my parents sunder'd,




A little child they caught me as the savage beast is caught;




Then hither 'cross the sea the cruel slaver brought me,




Me, a little child, the cruel slaver brought."




No further does she say, but lingering all the day,




Her highborne turban'd head she wags, and rolls her darkling eye,




And court'sies to the regiments, the guidons moving by.




"What is it, fateful woman, so blear, hardly human?




Why wag your head with turban bound, yellow, red and green?




Are the things so strange and marvelous you see, or have seen?"




The Dove And The Lily (1917)




Swedish Folk Song




There flew to a lily a silver dove (One midsummer morrow)




Sang rarely of Christ and His Heav'n above (Now rest thee, sad heart, from thy sorrow!)




And as on the silence the sweet song stole (One)




An angel came down for a maid's white soul (Now)




So young and so happy, ah! Why must I die? (One)




My heart was so light and my hope so high! (Now)




The flowers were weeping and veiling their sight (One)




But clear rang the bells from the Heav'nly height (Now) Ah!




Exile (1922)




Inez Marie Richardson




My lonely heart and I, Waited for spring: By the side of the road,




And spring pass'd us by!




We could not share her loveliness; The lilting song, the blue sky,




Exiled in our wilderness: My lonely heart and I!




Stan' Still Jordan (1926)








To Roland Hayes




Stan' still, Jordan; stan' still, Jordan; stan' still, Jordan;




Lord, I can't stan' still.




I got a mother in heaven, Lord, I can't stan' still.




When I get up in glory, Lord, I can't stan' still.




Jordan river is chilly and cold.




It will chill-a my body, but not my soul.




Little Mother Of Mine (1917)




George S. Brengle




Dedicated to Mr. John McCormack




Sometimes in the hush of the evening hour,




When shadows creep from the west




I think of the twilight songs you sang




And the boy you lull'd to rest;




The wee little boy with tousled head,




That long, long ago was thine;




I wonder if sometimes you long for that boy,




O little mother of mine!




And now he has come to man's estate,




Grown stalwart in body and strong




You'd hardly know that he was the lad




You lull'd with your slumber song




The years have alter'd the form and the life,




But the heart is unchang'd by time,




And still he is only your boy as of old




O little mother of mine, O little mother of mine!




Don't You Weep When I'm Gone (1919)








When I'm gone, gone, when I'm gone, gone, gone;




O mother, don't you weep when I am gone.




For I'm goin' to Heav'n above, Going to the God of Love,




O mother, don't you weep when I am gone.




O mother, meet me there, mother, meet me in de air,




O mother, don't you weep when I am gone.




The Spring, My Dear, Is No Longer Spring (1914)




W.E. Henley




The spring, my dear, is no longer spring.




Does the blackbird sing what he sang last year?




Are the skies the old immemorial blue?




Or am I, or are you, grown cold?




Tho' life be change, it is hard to bear




When the old sweet air sounds forc'd and strange.




To be out of tune, plain you and I,




It were better to die, to die, and soon!




Oh! Rock Me, Julie (1921)








To Mme. Louise Homer




Oh! Rock me, Julie, rock me, Oh!




Oh, rock me slow and easy, Oh!




Oh, rock me like a baby, Oh! Oh, rock me!




The Soldier (1916)




Rupert Brooke




If I should die, think only this of me:




That there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England!




There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust conceal'd;




A dust whom England bore, shap'd, made aware,




Gave, once, her flow'rs to love, her ways to roam,




A body of England's, breathing English air,




Wash'd by the rivers, blest by suns of home.




And think, this heart, all evil shed away,




A pulse in the eternal mind, no less




Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England giv'n;




Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;




And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness;




In hearts at peace, under an English heav'n.




Mammy's Li'l Baby (Cradle Song) (1903)




Louise Alston Burleigh




Specially composed for and sung by Mme. Schumann-Heink




Mammy's little baby, Lay your curly head,




On this snow white pillow, In your trundle bed.




Mammy's little baby, Dropping just a tear;




Mammy's got you, honey, In this cabin here;




Mammy's got you, honey, Don't you have a fear!




Mammy's little lambkin, Crying in your sleep;




Never mind, my honey, Angels watch will keep.




Mammy's little baby, Turn your face awhile;




Let me in your sleeping Feel you trust me, child;




Let me thro' your weeping See your angel smile.




Mammy's little baby Now is fast asleep.




Hear De Lambs A-Cryin' (1927)








You hear de lambs a-cryin', Hear de lambs a-cryin', Hear de lambs a-cryin';




Oh, shepherd, feed-a my sheep.




My Lord spoke dese words so sweet, Oh, shepherd, feed-a my sheep,




Saying, "Peter, if you love me, feed-a my sheep." Oh, shepherd, feed-a my sheep.




Lord, I love Thee, Thou dost know, Oh, shepherd, feed-a my sheep.




Oh, give me grace to love-a Thee mo', Oh, shepherd, feed-a my sheep.




For I'm a pilgrim journ'ing on, Oh, shepherd, feed-a my sheep.




When you see me, pity me, Oh, shepherd, feed-a my sheep.




The Trees Have Grown So (1923)




John Hanlon




The trees have grown so since you went away.




Do you remember how we watch'd them grow?




"They'll shelter us and love," you used to say,




So long, so long ago.




The trees have grown so since you went away,




They brush my window with their leafy hem;




"Where is she now?" I seem to hear them pray,




"Where is she now?" I cannot answer them.




I think I must cut down these trees some day,




Though they are graceful now, and tall and broad.




They've grown so much since you went away.




While you and IOh, God!




Thy Heart (1902)




A.V. Jackson, From the Sanskrit




Thy face a lovely lily, thine eyes, the lotus blue;




Thy teeth are jasmine blossoms, thy lips, the rosebud's hue.




The velvet touch of the champak thy tender skin doth own,




How comes it, that the Creator hath made thy heart a stone?




Hard Trials (1919)








Been a-lis'nin' all de night long, Been a-lis'nin' all de day,




Been a-lis'nin' all de night long, For to hear some sinner pray.




Now ain't dem hard trials, great tribulation?




Ain't dem hard trials? I'm boun' to leab dis lan'.




O, de foxes dey hab holes in de groun', An' de birds hab nests in de air,




An' ev'rything has a hidin' place, But us po' sinners ain't got nowhere.




O, Methodis', Methodis' is my name, Methodis' til I die,




I've been receiv'd in de Methodis' church, But I'll die on de Piscopal side.




You may go disaway, you may go dataway, You may go fum do' to do',




but if yo' ain't got de good Lord, in-a yo' soul, Why de Debbil's gwine to git you sho.




Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel? (1921)








Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel, d'liver Daniel, d'liver Daniel,




Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel, An' why not-a every man?




He deliver'd Daniel from de lion's den, Jonah from de belly of de whale,




An' de Hebrew children from de fiery furnace, An' why not every man?




De win' blow Eas' an' de win' blow Wes', It blow like de judgment day,




An' ev'ry poor soul that never did pray Will be glad to pray that day.




I set my foot on de Gospel ship, An' de ship it begin to sail,




It landed me over on Canaan's shore, An' I'll never come back any more.




Oral Moses




Oral Moses, bass-baritone, performs regularly throughout the United States and Europe, singing recitals, concert works, oratorios, and a wide variety of art song repertoire with special emphasis on vocal works of African-American composers.




He has had numerous successes with American opera companies performing major roles in Le Nozze di Figaro, Regina, La Boheme, Albert Herring, Tremonisha, Rigoletto and Die Zauberflöte. Symphonic engagements have included work with the Nashville Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Lansing Symphony and Tacoma Symphony.




The South Carolina native began his singing career as a member of the United States Seventh Army Soldiers Chorus in Heidelberg, Germany, and a member of the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers while attending Fisk University following his military career. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies at Fisk he was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which provided him the opportunity to return to Europe for further study in vocal performance and opera. Upon his return to the United States, he attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a Masters of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in vocal performance and opera.




In 1986 as a participant in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College Teachers, he contributed a chapter entitled "The Nineteenth-Century Spiritual Text: a Sour ce for Modern Gospel" to the book Feel The Spirit - Studies in Nineteenth Century Afro-American Music, published by Greenwood Press. In 1991 he was awarded a second National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to study the broad spectrum of American music.




This recording, Deep River: Songs and Spirituals of Harry T. Burleigh, was originally released on Northeastern Records.




In addition to Dr. Moses's busy schedule in performance, he is also Professor of Voice and Music Literature at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.




Ann Sears




Ann Sears is Professor of Music and Director of Performance at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where she teaches piano and courses in European and American music, including African-American music and American musical theater. She holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, Arizona State University, and The Catholic University of America, where her doctoral dissertation was about American art song in turn-of-the-century Boston. She is well-known for her performances and publications in American music, and has presented papers and lecture recitals at national meetings of the Sonneck Society for American Music, the College Music Society, and the American Matthay Association. Concert appearances include the Badia di Cava Music Festival in Italy, the Master Musicians Festival in Kentucky, the State Department, Sumner School Museum and St. Patrick's in the City in Washington, D.C., the Gardner Museum and the French Library in Boston, and various schools and universities in the United States. Her research interests are American art song, the concert tradition in African American music, and American opera and musical theater. Ms. Sears also participated in the 1986 NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers and contributed a chapter, "Keyboard Music by Nineteenth-Century Afro-American Composers" to Feel the Spirit: Studies in Nineteenth-Century Afro-American Music." Ms. Sears appears on Albany Records with tenor William Brown in a recording of African American song titled Fi-Yer! A Century of African American Song. She is currently review editor of the College Music Society journal Symposium.




Produced by Oral Moses, Ann Sears, and Jean Snyder




Executive Producer: Erik Lindgren




Recording and Mastering: Jonathan Wyner, M Works, Cambridge, MA




Piano Technician: John von Rohr




Special Assistance: Betsy Dean, William McArtor




Recorded June 1994 at the Cole Memorial Chapel, Wheaton College, Norton, MA.




Cover Photo: T.W. Kilmer, Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.




Cover Design: Bates Miyamoto Design




Special thanks to Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II, for his cooperation and assistance, and for providing memorabilia of his grandfather; to the Department of Music, Wheaton College, for its support and assistance with the recording of this music; and to Midwest Rotary Maniforms Co., of Caro, MI, and Telcom Electric Supply co., of Plano, TX, for their generous support of this project.




All songs and spirituals were originally published by G. Ricordi and Co., except "Mammy's Li'l Baby" (William Maxwell Co.), and "Thy Heart" (G.


Schirmer). The spirituals (except for "Dry Bones") were reissued by Belwin-Mills in 1984.








Page 3 Burleigh at age 74. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, October 23, 1941. Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.




Page 5 Burleigh at age 64, June, 1931. Portrait inscribed to his son, Alston Waters Burleigh, with musical phrase from the spiritual "Wade in the Water." Portrait by Apela, New York City. Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.




Page 6 Burleigh at age 27, when he was hired as baritone soloist at St. George's Episcopal Church, 1894. Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.




Page 12 Two-year-old Burleigh with his grandfather, Hamilton Waters, who taught him spirituals and plantation songs, and his older brother Reginald. ca 1869. Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.






Burleigh with Roland Hayes and Hayes' teacher, Jennie Asenath Robinson at Fisk for a performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah. Burleigh sang Elijah and Hayes the tenor solos. 1915. Courtesy of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II.










Harry T. Burleigh




Deep River Songs and Spirituals




Oral Moses, Bass-Baritone · Ann Sears, Piano




1. Deep River (1917) (2:35) Traditional




2. Lovely Dark and Lonely One (1935) (1:55) Langston Hughes




3. Dry Bones (1930) (1:59) Ezekiel 37




4. Wade In De Water (1925) (1:52) Traditional




5. Ethiopia Saluting The Colors (1915) (5:29) Walt Whitman




6. The Dove And The Lily (1917) (3:08) Swedish Folk song




7. Exile (1922 (2:07) Inez Marie Richardson




8. Stan' Still, Jordan (1926) (4:04) Traditional




9. Little Mother Of Mine (1917) (2:45) George S. Brengle




10. Don't You Weep When I'm Gone (1919) (2:22) Traditional




11. The Spring, My Dear, Is No Longer Spring (1914) (2:16) W.E. Henley




12. Oh! Rock Me, Julie (1921) (1:49) Traditional




13. The Soldier (1916) (3:43) Rupert Brooke




14. Mammy's Li'l Baby (1903) (1:46) Louise Alston Burleigh




15. Hear De Lambs A-Cryin' (1927) (3:19) Traditional




16. The Trees Have Grown So (1923) (2:18) John Hanlon




17. Thy Heart (1902) (1:44) A.V. Williams Jackson




18. Hard Trials (1919) (2:14) Traditional




19. Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel? (1921) (2:05) Traditional




Total Time = 50:46