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An American Heritage of Spirituals

This week we turn the clock back 13 years. In 1996, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir released the CD “An American Heritage of Spirituals” under conductor Albert McNeil. And to make sure there were going about things the right way, they brought on board the great arranger, composer and conductor Moses Hogan. Hogan died seven years later, but his legacy remains as a champion of the spiritual and its performance.

This is a treasury from the great spiritual arrangers H. T. Burleigh, William L. Dawson, and Jester Hairston, and several others. Classics like “I Want Jesus” stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Albert McNeil’s own compositions including “All My Trials.”

The massive Tabernacle choir delivers a powerful performance of these incredibly personal pieces, and it still rings true all these years later. Whether you’re an old fan of the choir or the genre, you’re going to be rewarded with this purchase.

Our quick pick this week is the latest CD from Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. A complete performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 is matched up with Estonian composer, Veljo Tormis’s Overture No. 2, a composition that Shostakovich told Tormis would work well as a movement of a symphony… one that remains unwritten so far.

Music Heard On This Episode

H.T. Burleigh (1866-1949): My Lord, What A Mornin'
Albert McNeil/Mormon Tabernacle Choir — An American Heritage of Spirituals (Bonneville, 1996)
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H.T. Burleigh (1866-1949): My Lord, What A Mornin'
Albert McNeil/Mormon Tabernacle Choir — An American Heritage of Spirituals (Bonneville, 1996)
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John W. Work III (1901-1967): Rockin' Jerusalem
Albert McNeil/Mormon Tabernacle Choir — An American Heritage of Spirituals (Bonneville, 1996)
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Moses Hogan (1957-2003): Battle of Jericho
Moses Hogan/Mormon Tabernacle Choir — An American Heritage of Spirituals (Bonneville, 1996)
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Veljo Tormis (b. 1930): Overture No. 2
Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra — Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10; Veljo Tormis: Overture No. 2 (Telarc, 2009)
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album cover
Dmitir Shostakovich (1906-1975): Symphony No. 10 in e, Op. 93: Allegro
Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra — Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10; Veljo Tormis: Overture No. 2 (Telarc, 2009)
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David Wood

Originally from Leavenworth, Kansas, David Wood moved to Bloomington in 2005. He received his Bachelor of Music from Kansas State University, and his Master of Music from the University of North Texas. He studied ensemble direction at the Jacobs School of Music's Early Music Institute and joined WFIU in 2006 as an announcer. In 2008 he became WFIU's Music Director and also served as Art Bureau Chief from 2008-2013. David’s interests include Irish music and language (particularly traditional singing), music and religion, running, the outdoors, and, of course, classical music!

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  • Rita Wood

    Thanks for calling my attention to this CD of Spirituals! Wow!

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