Deep River - low voices 4-part ensembles

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Posted by K on June 25, 2003 at 11:55:14:

New upload of free music in .pdf format. The preface:

Deep River

Negro Spiritual

Arranged for 4-part male choir by William Arms Fisher (Copyright MCMXVI and MCMXVIII)
partially after the piano transcription by Coleridge-Taylor.
Edited for various instrumental ensemble constellations by Klaus Bjerre (2003)

The source was found at The Library Of Congress:
You then can go via Collection Finder > Performing Arts > African American Sheet Music > Title Index.

This version of Deep River is one I never met before, but as it has text all the way, it must have root in some tradition. It ex-presses its era and sounds beautifully, so I want to make it available for very diversely composed groups, which can be quar-tets or 4-part-ensembles, all in the same key, the original G major concert. No parts, only two-page playing scores, are provided. All versions can be mixed and/or can be played simultaneously, if the ensemble director distributes the available instruments to the voices in a way, which ensures a good balance. This is necessary, as the 3 upper voices all play the lead at some point:

The all bass clef version directs itself towards 3T-1B trombones, 4 euphoniums, 3 euphoniums and 1 bass tuba, or 4 celli.
The all treble clef version for 3 Bb tenor voices and 1 Eb bass voice directs itself towards 3 baritones/euphoniums and an Eb tuba. Or towards 3 tenor and 1 baritone saxophones. Or 3 bass clarinets and a contralto clarinet.
The all treble clef version for 2 Bb clarinets, alto, and bass clarinets will also allow a TC euphonium to play the Bass II voice.
The version in alto and bass clefs directs itself towards violas and celli.
The version for 4 horns in F has a very comfortable range for the upper voices. Nothing passes beyond D in the staff.

This piece can be programmed in any type of ensemble concert, but of course it is especially relevant for church ensembles. Hence I have added two versions, which will allow for doublings of the original octave. They shall just add a tonal flavour to the original octave. Therefore there are no parts for trumpets:

An upper octave quartet can play from the version for flutes, violins, and a Bb clarinet.
The version for 2 tenor recorders, bass recorder, and bass/great-bass recorder can be played as a stand alone, as the recorders give the impression of sounding an octave lower.

For larger ensembles a part for optional string bass and or contrabass tuba is provided.

This edition can be used together with the original version for male chorus and optional piano, if the two bars for solo piano are observed.

Klaus Bjerre
Retired teacher
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