Press contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

April 22, 2008

American Choral Music Web Site Launched

Music Covers Period 1870 to 1923

In collaboration with the American Choral Directors Association, the Library of Congress Music Division has launched a Web site as part of its online Performing Arts Encyclopedia, called "American Choral Music, 1870-1923." The site is available at http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/html/choralmusic/.

This presentation features 28 pieces of choral music by American composers, illuminating a period beginning shortly after the Civil War, when many large mixed-voice choral societies proliferated and enormous choral festivals became a popular medium of expression in American musical society. The site provides access to significant choral sheet music in the public domain, which can be downloaded for immediate use by choirs and choruses. Included in this collection are examples of both sacred and secular music, a combination of works for mixed choirs, for women’s and men’s ensembles, and for children’s choruses.

The composers whose works are represented are Amy Beach (Mrs. H.H.A. Beach, 1867-1944), one of the first American composers to be trained completely in the United States and the first American woman to achieve widespread recognition as a composer; Dudley Buck (1839-1909), an organist, conductor and founding director of the Brooklyn Apollo Club’s male chorus; George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931), credited as the "dean of American Music," a highly respected teacher who reorganized the New England Conservatory; William W. Gilchrist (1846-1916), one of the founding members of the American Guild of Organists; Mabel Wheeler Daniels (1878-1971), who wrote "The Desolate City," op. 21, among other significant works during her many stays at the MacDowell Colony; R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943), who as director of the Hampton Institute developed a choir into a superior organization that won critical acclaim in both the United States and Europe; Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867-1972), a composer whose singular song "Ojalá" brought her international attention at the Paris Exposition of 1889; and Horatio William Parker (1863-1919), a composer and educator known for major vocal and choral compositions, many of which are held in manuscript in the Music Division.

Among the first works in the series are "Far Awa’" and "Peace on Earth," by Amy Beach; "O How Amiable," by Dudley Buck; "Elfin Song" and "Inconstancy," by George W. Chadwick; "The Voice of My Beloved," by Mabel Daniels; "There’s A Meetin’ Here Tonight," and "Done Paid My Vow to the Lord," by Nathaniel Dett; "Ponder My Words," by William Gilchrist; "The Old Man With a Beard," and "The Lonely Rose," by Margaret R. Lang; and "Three Words, "My Love," and "Valentine," from Horatio W. Parker’s set of love songs, "Three Choruses, op. 33"

In her "Music’s Ten Commandments as Given for Young Composers" (1915), Amy Beach wrote, "Hear as much choral music as possible. The study of voice writing, as illustrated in the master works, is of the greatest importance."

To explore other music, theater and dance collections of the Library, see the Performing Arts Encyclopedia at www.loc.gov/performingarts/.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Its more than 138 million items--books, newspapers, periodicals, manuscripts, maps, photographs, films, sound recordings and digital materials--are accessible through its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill. The Library’s newspaper collections have grown to comprise more than 1 million current issues, more than 30,000 bound historical volumes and more than 600,000 microfilm reels. The Library also makes more than 22 million digital items available on its various Web sites at www.loc.gov.

# # #

PR 08-081
04/22/08
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top