Fi-Yer!
Quantity in Basket: None WILLIAM BROWN, TENOR Fi-Yer! TROY329 - Price: $16.99
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Classic African-American songs in energetic performances.

The music generally recognized as most authentically American - blues, ragtime, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and its descendants - has deep roots in African-American culture and musical traditions. Equally important in African-American life though less well known is the tradition of concert music. The concert genres of art song and spiritual arrangements have a history dating back to the Federal period when the United States was still struggling to separate its own unique cultural and artistic identity from European influences. As the minstrel show assumed a prominent place in American musical life, mainstream American composers and African-American composers such as Frank Johnson, A.J.R. Connor and Henry F. Williams wrote charming, light-hearted parlor songs reflecting the forms, harmony, and limpid melodies of their British antecedents; some Louisiana composers wrote equally attractive songs using French texts and occasionally showing the influence of opera. Enclaves of free black Americans formed many of the first benevolent societies and African-American churches where educational opportunities and economic independence were more available to them than in other parts of the young United States. It is from this background that William Brown has drawn the delightful collection of songs that appears on this disc.
Contents:
Thomas Greene Bethune, composer
That Welcome Day
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Margaret Bonds, composer
Three Dream Portraits
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

John William Boone, composer
Whar Shill We go When de Great Day Comes?
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Harry T. Burleigh, composer
Sleep, L'il Chile, Go Sleep!
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Harry T. Burleigh, composer
By the Pool of the Third Rosses
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Will Marion Cook, composer
An Explanation
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Will Marion Cook, composer
Wid de Moon, Moon, Moon
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

R. Nathaniel Dett, composer
I'm A-Travelin' to the Grave
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

R. Nathaniel Dett, composer
Ride On, King Jesus
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Roland Hayes, composer
Ezekiel Saw de Wheel
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Roland Hayes, composer
Sister Mary Had-a but One child
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Hall Johnson, composer
Po' Mo'ner Got a Home at Last
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Hall Johnson, composer
Fi-yer!
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Florence Price, composer
Night
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

William Grant Still, composer
The Breath of a Rose
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

John W. Work, composer
Soliloquy
William Brown, tenor, Ann Sears, piano

Review:
"William Brown's premiere performances and recordings over the last three decades have become a lightening rod for new works by black composers. Fi-Yer! Pursues a different course, restoring life to landmarks from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This expansive yet focused treatment of the development of black song as an art form includes early parlor and plantation songs, turn-of-the-century racial humor, as well as art songs and spirituals by modernist composers. Although the selections in this well-chosen compendium are ordered stylistically, Ann Sears's engaging and thorough notes treat the material chronologically...The genius of these fresh performances is a combination of the daring and imaginative with the careful and calculated. Brown has found a great foil here in the finesse and clarity of Sears's piano accompaniments, which are no less assertive and confident than the principal voice....Because he has adapted his formidable vocal technique to the rhetorical demands of the culture, Fi-Yer! Elucidates the expressive interrelations between field, street, and concert hall in African-American heritage." (Society for American Music)
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