Much, if not most, of the choral music sung in the western world in the last millennium, has been inspired by and written for the Christian Church. Like nearly all choirs, Chor Leoni has sung and enjoyed this treasure trove of choral masterpieces by the likes of Byrd, Bach, Handel, and virtually all of the ‘classical’ composers.
Many of our audience and singers have also enjoyed performing and hearing Christian music written not for the concert hall, or great cathedral, but by and for ordinary people. Partly at our listeners’ request, and partly for our own enjoyment, we put together a collection of hymns and spirituals for our spring 2009 concert. The wildly enthusiastic, standing-room-only response to those performances inspired us to make this CD.
So here is (we hope) your favourite men’s choir, singing songs written by and for ministers, congregations, believers, workers, slaves, and just plain folk. Many of them sung first, and only written down later. This was music originally heard not in concert halls or cathedrals but in country churches, cotton fields, ghettos, and – at ‘meetin’s.’
We invite you to sit back and let these beloved old songs and spirituals wash over you. May they bring you back to less complicated times when people shared through common song their joys, their pain, and their hopes.
1. There’s a Meetin’ Here Tonight – music and text: traditional, arr. Ron Smail
2. Shall We Gather at the River – music and text: Robert Lowry
3. Hard Times – music and text: Stephen Foster, arr. Willi Zwozdesky
4. All Beautiful the March of Days – music: trad., arr Ralph Vaughan Williams
5. Not One Sparrow is Forgotten – music and text: Shaker hymn, arr. William Hawley
6. Precious Lord – music: Thomas A. Dorsey after George N. Allen, arr. Diane Loomer
7. Eternal Father, Strong to Save – music: John B. Dykes, arr. Paul Sjolund, text: William Whiting
8. Goin’ Home – music: Antonin Dvořák, arr. Diane Loomer, text: William Arms Fisher
9. Nobody Knows the Trouble I See – music and text: spiritual, arr. Roland Pack
10. Blessed Assurance – music: Phoebe P. Knapp, arr. Ken Cormier, text: Frances J. Crosby
11. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – music and text: spiritual
12. In Dat Great Gittin’ Up Mornin’ – music and text: spiritual, arr. Jester Hairston
13. Witness – music and text: spiritual, arr. Jack Halloran, Jonathan Quick
14. All Through the Night – music: traditional Welsh, arr. Mack Wilberg, text: Sir Harold Boulton, alt.
15. In the Garden – music and text: C. Austin Miles, adapt. Charles H. Webb
16. Wehrlos und verlassen – music: William Warren Bentley, text: Mary Dagworthy James
17. Abide with Me – music: William Henry Monk, text: Henry Francis Lyte
18. Over Yonder – music and text: spiritual, arr. Diane Loomer
19. Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal – music and text: traditional, arr. Alice Parker
20. Ain’-A That Good News! – music and text: spiritual, arr. William L. Dawson