"Come join us in singing the praises of Zion&
I know the "Old American Songs" were originally set for solo voice, and I have recordings of Copland accompanying Warfield (the original soloist), and conducting the orchestral version. But I first learned these pieces as a member of a chorus, singing them, so that's my favorite arrangement, though the least common. On this disc, the St James Singers are terrific: the first time I played it, I couldn't believe the speed at which they perform "Ching-a-Ring Chaw." The famous "Simple Gifts" is here, and "By the River"; I really like the ballad "Long Time Ago," too. Just the songs would have been worth the modest cost of this recording, but it also includes an orchestral suite from the opera 'The Tender Land' (with the tune of "Zion's Walls" again) and the rather strange piano concerto (well-played, just not my cuppa).
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