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Black American Composer Anthology

In 1977 Willis Patterson published his Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers published by E.B.Marks. Although this was not the first anthology of its type, it had been more than 30 years since any previous publications. In addition to the anthology Patterson produced an accompanying recording in 1981 of most of the music in the anthology using then-current Michigan students Richard Taylor, Claritha Buggs, Susan Matthews, Erika Wheeler, Gail Mitchell, Uzee Brown, and Charsie Randolph (Sawyer). There were also several professionals who contributed to this important recording. They were: Willis Patterson, George Shirley, Hilda Harris and Laura English-Robinson.

This historic anthology continues to inspire the study of African American art song today as much as it did when it was first released. In this playlist, you will hear all of the selections in the anthology, some of them from the original recording, others are from commercial recordings and still others live performances as recently as August of 2020. I hope you enjoy the experience!      – Louise Toppin

return to the African American Music Conference

  1. Adams, LeslieFor You There Is No Song from Five Millay Songs
    Kenneth Overton, baritone and Kevin Miller SM ’11, MM ’08 collaborative piano), piano.
    Been in the Storm so long (2012, America Spiritual Ensemble).
  2. Baker, David – Early in the Morning  from The Black Experience
    Richard Taylor, baritone and James Demster (MM ’80 piano) or Barbara Wimunc (DMA ’81 piano), piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  3. Baker, David – A Good Assassination Should be Quiet  from The Black Experience
    Laura English Robinson, soprano and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  4. Baker, DavidStatus Symbol from The Black Experience
    Charsie Randolph Sawyer (DMA ‘ 96, MM ’80 voice) and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  5. Bonds, Margaret
    1. Minstrel Man from Three Dream Portraits
      Icy Rene Simpson, soprano and Artina McCain, piano.
      I, Too, (2012, Longhorn Music))
    2. Dream Variation from Three Dream Portraits
      Dorian Hall (MM ’05 voice), baritone and Tim Cheek, piano
    3. I Too from Three Dream Portraits

      Claritha Buggs (MM ’80, BM’78 voice), mezzo-soprano, and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
      Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)

  6. Brown, Charles (MM ’75, BM ’74 voice) – The Barrier
    Charles Brown, baritone, and Richard Duncan, piano
  7. Brown, Charles –  Song without words
    Charles Brown, baritone and Richard Duncan, piano
  8. Cohen, Cecil – Death of an old Seaman
    Willis Patterson, bass and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  9. DaCosta, Noel
    1. Two Songs for Julie Ju (song 1)
      Christine Jobson, soprano and Jenny Snyder, piano
    2. Two Songs for Julie Ju
      Richard Taylor, baritone and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
      Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  10. Fax, MarkCassandra’s Lullaby from A Christmas Miracle
    Brandie Sutton, soprano and Damien Sneed, piano.
    Classically Harlem (2020, Lechateau Earl Records)
  11. Fax, Mark – Love from Five Black Songs
    Louise Toppin (DMA ’90 voice), soprano and piano
  12. Hailstork, Adolphus – A Charm at Parting
    Louise Toppin, soprano and John O’Brien, piano.
    Songs of Love and Justice (2020, Albany Records)
  13. Hailstork, Adolphus – I Loved You
    Darryl Taylor (DMA ’95, MM ’91 voice), countertenor and Maria Corley, piano (2020)
  14. Hancock, Eugene (MM’56 music literature) – Absalom
    Carl DuPont, baritone and Gregory Thompson, piano.
    The Reaction (2018, Albany Records)
  15. Hancock, Eugene – Nunc Dimitis
    Kevin Maynor, bass and Eric Olsen, piano.
    Black Art Song (2000, Fleur De Son)
  16. Kerr, Thomas  – Riding to Town
    Willis Patterson, bass and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  17. Lloyd, CharlesCompensation
    Lenora Green-Turner (DMA ’20, MM’08 voice), soprano and Louise Toppin, piano
  18. Logan, WendellIf there be sorrow 
    Frank Ward (DMA ’87, MM ’84 voice), bass and Louise Toppin, piano
  19. Logan, WendellMarrow of my bone from Ice and Fire
    Gail Mitchell, soprano and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano. Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  20. McCall, MauriceChanson Triste from In Parting
    Gail Mitchell, soprano and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  21. McCall, MauriceSweet Sorrow from In Parting
    Erika Wheeler (MM ’80 voice), soprano and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  22. Moore, Dorothy RuddWeary Blues
    Richard Banks (MM ’85 voice), baritone, Tim Holley (DMA ’96, MM ’84 cello), cello, and Ed Paolantonio, piano. Performance at the Videmus at 25 Celebration, 2012, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  23. Moore, Undine – Love let the wind cry
    Pamela Dillard, mezzo-soprano and Vivian Taylor, piano.
    Watch and Pray (1994, Koch Records)
  24. Owens, Robert – Faithful One from Mortal Storm
    Phillip Harris, baritone and Damien Sneed, piano.
    Phillip Harris in Recital (2019, Lewis Newell Productions)
  25. Owens, Robert –  Genius Child from Mortal Storm
    Kenneth Overton, baritone and Kevin Miller, piano.
    Been in the Storm So Long (2012, American Spiritual Ensemble)
  26. Perkinson, Coleridge-TaylorChild’s Grace
    George Shirley, tenor and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Sonbs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  27. Perkinson, Coleridge-TaylorMelancholy
    George Shirley, tenor and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  28. Price, Florence – Night
    Darryl Taylor, countertenor and Deborah Hollis, piano.
    Performance at the Videmus Centennial Celebration of Margaret Bonds, March 2, 2013 University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
  29. Price, FlorenceSong to the Dark Virgin
    Robert Honeysucker, baritone and Vivian Taylor, piano.
    Watch and Pray (1994, Koch Records)
  30. Smith, HaleVelvet Shoes from Valley Wind
    Hilda Harris, mezzo-soprano and Zita Carno, piano.
    Music of Hale Smith (2997, Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc.)
  31. Still, William GrantGrief
    Thomas Hampson, baritone and Wolfram Reiger, piano
    (2001, Salzburg Festival Recording – songofamerica.net)
  32. Swanson, HowardA Death Song
    Willis Patterson, bass and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  33. Swanson, HowardI will lie down in Autumn
    James Patterson (MM ’82, BM 80 voice), bass and Patrick O’Donnell, piano.
    Fare Ye Well (1998, Videmus Records)
  34. Swanson, HowardThe Negro Speaks of Rivers
    Oral Moses (DMA ’84, MM ’78 voice), bass and Rosalyn Floyd, piano.
    Oral Moses Sings: Songs of America (2008, Albany Records)
  35. Walker, GeorgeLament
    James Martin, baritone and George Walker, piano.
    Great American Chamber Music (2009, Albany Records)
  36. Walker, George A Red, Red Rose
    Alison Buchanan, soprano and George Walker, piano
    George Walker: Great American Concert Music (2012, Albany Records)
  37. Wilson, OllyWry Fragments
    George Shirley, tenor, Matthew Barber, Robert Gabriele, Don Luizzi, David Steinquist, percussion, and Carl St. Clair, conductor.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)
  38. Work, John – Dancing In The Sun
    Oral Moses, bass and Rosalyn Floyd, piano.
    Oral Moses Sings: Songs of America (2008, Albany Records)
  39. Work, John – Soliloquy
    George Shirley, tenor and James Demster or Barbara Wimunc, piano.
    Art Songs by Black American Composers (1981, University of Michigan)