The Birth of Liberty

Composer(s): Traditional, William Billings, Abraham Wood, Anonymous
Album Title: The Birth of Liberty 
Cat. No.: 80276
Genre: Classical
Description: Music of the American Revolution

Sherrill Milnes-baritone; Seth McCoy-tenor; American Fife Ensemble; The Continental Harmony Singers; The Liberty Tree Wind Players

Just in time for the Fourth of July festivities, this reissue of music from the American Revolution restores to the catalog a classic of the original Recorded Anthology of American Music. It is a scholarly and well-programmed musical recreation of a defining moment in the nation's history, mixing propaganda songs, psalmody, fife-and-drum music, and wind band music, the four types of music most prevalent and popular at the time. Highlights include baritone Sherrill Milnes's renditions of three propaganda songs, in particular the stirring "Liberty Song", probably the most popular of these songs; tenor Seth McCoy's biting rendition of The King's Own Regulars, a wickedly comic song lampooning the British Army; William Billings's two hymns, the moving Lamentation Over Boston, commemorating the occupation of that city in 1775-1776, set to a text which paraphrases verses from Psalm 137 (By the rivers of Babylon), and Independence, an uplifting exhortation to all men, new "Americans" in particular, to answer to no king but the one true King;

Abraham Wood's two hymns, the extraordinarily tender and evocative Warren, a lament for a young and courageous patriot leader who fell in the Battle of Bunker Hill; and A Hymn on Peace, which brings the disc to a joyous and rousing conclusion. Spirited renditions of popular marches and dances of the time, played by fife-and-drum ensembles and wind bands, are generously sprinkled throughout the collection. The accompanying 40-page booklet contains extensive scholarly notes situating the music in its historical context, complete song texts, a selected bibliography and even a table of important events of the American Revolution. 
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