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Morton Gould

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Spirituals (1961)
G&C Music Corporation
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
20 Minutes
Programme Note
Morton Gould Spirituals (1961)

Composer note:

Spirituals are spiritual. They are simple and profound, unique and recognizable. While national in origin, they echo man’s soul everywhere. Their appeal is universal. They were the start of our jazz, and have spiced and seasoned our creative musical scene, both popular and symphonic. Spirituals are derived from both Negro and white sources, and these influences combine, like all folk expressions, to make an indigenous musical language.

It is the touching and human spirituality of spirituals that communicates to both the most sophisticated and the naïve listener. They have been born of work and play, of suffering and joy, of oppression and liberation. Listening to spirituals is not passive; it is rather an act of participation — a sense of communal expression. The words are invariably basic, and the music mirrors their inflection. Perhaps it is due to this inflection, which is so characteristic, that when one hears the musical phrases alone the matching words are immediately evoked.

— Morton Gould

  • For CDs or scores call Katy Tucker at 212 254 2100:
  • 24 JUN 2017
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Städtisches Kammerorchester Gerlingen
    Matthias Nassauer, conductor

    Other Dates:
    25 June - Stuttgart, Germany
  • 03 NOV 2011
    Blackheath Halls, London
    Trinity Sinfonia
  • 15 FEB 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Cleveland Institute Of Music
    Carl Topilow, conductor
  • 18 NOV 2010
    Flushing, NY
    Queens College/ Aaron Copland School
    Maurice Peress, conductor
  • 10 NOV 2010
    New York, NY
    Bachanalia Festival Orchestra
  • 18 JUN 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Dallas Symphony
    Rei Hotoda, conductor
  • 18 FEB 2010
    Toledo, OH
    Toledo Symphony
    Chelsea Tipton , conductor
  • 14 FEB 2010
    Orchestrina Chur
    Heinz Girschweiler, conductor

    Other Dates:
    21 February - Germany
  • 14 FEB 2010
    Sent, Switzerland
    Orchestrina Chur
    Heinz Girschweiler, conductor

    Other Dates:
    20 February - Chur, Switzerland
    21 February - Thusis, Switzerland
  • 29 JAN 2010
    Liberty, MO
    Liberty Public Schools
    Mary Lou Jones, conductor
  • 18 JAN 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    Philadelphia Orchestra
    Thomas Wilkins, conductor
  • 05 JUL 2009
    Cleveland, OH
    Cleveland Orchestra
    Tito Munoz, conductor
  • 07 JUN 2009
    Columbus, OH
    First Community Church
    Ronald Jenkins, conductor

The music that leaped out at listeners was Gould's Spirituals in Five Movements and Ellington's Three Black Kings. Smart, concise, alternately soothing and shattering, always sincere: Gould's orchestral writing represents everything good and important in the American urban sensibility by hint of exceptional craftsmanship. Popular music is transformed. Ellington's piece reorganizes symphony orchestra sound. Strings are busy but largely subservient to winds and percussion. One was fascinated by the elegance of this music, the fastidious attention to every sonority, the love of delicacy even in emphatic moments.
Bernard Holland, The New York Times,01/01/0001
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