The shape-note singing tradition has given rise to some of America's greatest choral music. Beginning in late 18th century New England, this tradition was preserved and enriched throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in the rural South. In recent years a widespread revival of this hearty community singing style has inspired a flood of splendid new songs by young singer-composers.
Emerald Stream features eleven of these new songs, as well as a varied selection of songs from the early New England tradition. Most of these works can be found in 'Emerald Stream' and 'Northern Harmony', the two shape-note songbooks published by Northern Harmony Publishing Company.
The old and new songs share many characteristics: a hearty, rhythmic singing style; great melodic independence of the parts with frequent voice crossing; much use of contrapuntal "fuging" technique; chief melody most often found in the tenor voice; harmonies frequently in open fifths; Isaac Watts the favored poet.
The unusual combination of adult and teenage voices on this recording accurately reflects the composition of the 18th and 19th century community singing schools, which heavily involved teenagers and young adults. To illustrate the wonderful richness and variety of this music we have employed many different voicings: treble voices alone, men's voices alone, and various quartets and trios. On a few numbers we have even used clarinets and saxophones, to fine effect.
--Larry Gordon, 1992
The Bayley-Hazen Singers, directed by Larry Gordon, was a collaboration of voices from throughout central and northern Vermont who specialized in music from the shape-note singing tradition. They performed extensively in the eastern US and on frequent overseas tours, and recorded several other albums.
released November 6, 2014
Directed by Larry Gordon
Moira Smiley, Carol Chase, Laura Kranis, Marcia Brewster, Liz Thompson, Shari Rutz, Kimberly Taylor, Merideth Wright, Barbara Waters, Pat Mayhew, Kathleen Moore, Lynn Pilcher, Susan Hydusik, Fred Emigh, Paul Bishop, William Morrison, Tom Mousin, Lorenz Rutz, David Gunn
Melissa Miller, Aleph Bloom, Moira Smiley, Ian Smiley, Jenna Carpenter, Katie Carpenter, Beth Carpenter, Emily Wells, Emily Lash, Melissa Brough, Melodie Noel, Sara Leas, Krista Nissl, Caroline Conant, Sara Ceppetelli, Gina Pastore, Porter Lontz Underhill, Toby Wells, Matt Wojcik, Seth Houston, Hannah Wall, Sabin Densmore
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