American Carols - Digital Download
American Carols for Children's Chorus and Orchestra
by William Berry - Recorded in 2004
Verne Windham - Conductor, Spokane Youth Orchestra
Kristina Ploeger - Artistic Director, Spokane Area Children’s Chorus
Thirteen American shape note, African-American and white spirituals, and folk melodies from the 1860s and earlier comprise this Christmas collection. The goal in setting them was to present the texts and the melodies in a form which would reflect the roots and spirit of the originals in a contemporary framework. As a result, the orchestrations neither attempt to be traditional folk representations nor are they intended to supplant or overwhelm the historic material with current techniques, but are timeless settings in keeping with the simple, sturdy nature of the songs themselves.
Over time, these wonderful tunes have been set aside or forgotten. If this collection serves as a catalyst for returning a few of these to their rightful place in the repertory and helps people to celebrate the rich legacy of American song, it will be a success. I am hoping that these versions of the carols will sound natural and familiar, even on the first hearing, and will bring happiness to musicians and audiences for a long time to come.
It is gratifying that this premiere recording of American Carols features the very same young musicians for whom it was written and who gave the work its first performance.
This Digital Download includes a 9-page pdf booklet and a complete set of 13 mp3 album tracks.