Academic journal article Journal of Singing

JOHNSON, HALL (1888-1970). THIRTY SPIRITUALS for High Voice and Piano

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

JOHNSON, HALL (1888-1970). THIRTY SPIRITUALS for High Voice and Piano

Article excerpt

JOHNSON, HALL (1888-1970). THIRTY SPIRITUALS for High Voice and Piano. Preface by Hall Johnson from the original edition. High and low voice volumes with a CD of piano accompaniments. G. Schirmer, Inc., 2007 (Hal Leonard).

After hearing a violin recital by Joseph Henry Douglas, grandson of Frederick Douglas, Hall Johnson, son of a Methodist minister, was determined to play the violin. He initially taught himself to play from an instruction book and eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1910. He moved to New York City in 1914 and began his musical career as a violinist and violist. He was also active in choral music and founded the Hall Johnson Choir, a small ensemble that continued performing and recording for thirty years. Johnson became a musical coach and turned his talent to composing folk operas and arranging spirituals for choirs and for the solo voice. Having heard his mother and grandmother, both of whom had been slaves, sing spirituals during his childhood, Johnson was especially interested in preserving and furthering this art form.

In 1949 he published his second volume of spiritual arrangements (Thirty Negro Spirituals), and it is this publication that is reprinted in the present volume. In addition to the songs, Johnson's notes on the songs in each section are reprinted. …

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