Wide As Heaven: A Century Of Song By Black American Composers
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80845     Release Date: 2024-03-15

James Martin, baritone; Lynn Raley, piano

This collection of songs represents one hundred years of music produced by American composers and poets of color — the best of us. Some identify(ied) as Negro, some African-American, some Black, some men, some women, and some insisted they were beyond classification, adamant that their work speak for itself. Unfortunately, too many of these voices have been stifled from inclusion in our American story thus far. But the time is right, and the fruit is ripe for the picking. The harvest has come in, and the first fruits of the fields yield a bounty of beauty so remarkable that silence is no longer an option. In fact, it is annihilated. Where once the famed halls of old lived on solely in black and white, they are now alive and brimming in technicolor, vividly representative of truth and creative vision—Heaven.

The songs collected here are a mere sampling of the finest of those neglected voices. Most are from our published archives. Some have been recorded from transcriptions of sound recordings. Are they “art” songs? Are they popular songs? Is it jazz, Bebop, or blues? Is it “classical” music? It is music, in all cases. Music to be enjoyed and reflected upon. Performed with integrity and informed enthusiasm by all who would approach it. Resist the urge to classify and segregate. Enjoy the creativity and savor the sounds of words and music dancing together as one in each singular work of art.  --James Martin

Harry T. Burleigh (1866–1949): Elysium, Ethiopia Saluting the Colors/ J. Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954): Li’l Gal / Florence B. Price (1887–1953): Song to the Dark Virgin/ Hall Johnson (1888–1970)/Toy Harper (unknown): On the Dusty Road/ (Traditional) (arr. Roland Hayes): Lit’l Girl/ Howard Swanson (1907–1978): The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Pierrot, Night Song, A Death Song/ Dorothy Rudd Moore (1940–2022): Harlem Sweeties/ W. C. Handy (1873–1958): Harlem Blues/ Margaret Bonds (1913–1972): The Way We Dance (in Harlem), To a Brown Girl Dead(Traditional) (arr. Roland Hayes): O Le’ Me Shine/ William Grant Still (1895–1978): Grief/ Hall Johnson: David/ Anthony Davis (b. 1951): Bells/ H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932): Prayer/ Robert Owens (1925–2017): Three Songs for Baritone, Op. 41: The Lynching, If We Must Die, To the White Fiends

James Martin & Lynn Raley

Wide As Heaven: A Century Of Song By Black American Composers

MP3/320 $16.00
FLAC $16.00
WAV $16.00
CD $26.00

Track Listing

Elysium
Harry Thacker Burleigh
Buy
Ethiopia Saluting the Colors
Harry T. Burleigh
Buy
Li'l Gal
J. Rosamond Johnson
Buy
Song to the Dark Virgin
Florence B. Price
Buy
On the Dusty Road
Hall Johnson, Toy Harper
Buy
Lit'l Girl
Traditional
Buy
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Howard Swanson
Buy
Pierrot
Howard Swanson
Buy
Night Song
Howard Swanson
Buy
A Death Song
Howard Swanson
Buy
Harlem Sweeties
Dorothy Rudd Moore
Buy
Harlem Blues
W.C. Handy
Buy
The Way We Dance in Harlem
Margaret Bonds
Buy
O Le' Me Shine
Traditonal
Buy
To a Brown Girl Dead
Margaret Bonds
Buy
Grief
William Grant Still
Buy
David
Hall Johnson
Buy
Bells
Anthony Davis
Buy
Prayer
H. Leslie Adams
Buy
Three Songs for Baritone, Op. 41: The Lynching
Robert Owens
Buy
Three Songs for Baritone, Op. 41: If We Must Die
Robert Owens
Buy
Three Songs for Baritone, Op. 41: To the White Fiends
Robert Owens
Buy