Deep River

Instrumentation

 

Flute

Oboe
Clarinet in B

Bassoon
3 Horns in F
Timpani
Suspended Cymbal

Harp
Violin I
Violin II
Viola
Cello
Contrabass
Organ (optional)

 

Program Notes

The African American spiritual “Deep River” is a passionate song of hope expressing a yearning for peace and freedom, both in the present and in the afterlife. The accompaniment for this setting, scored for SATB choir and chamber orchestra, reflects the inner tranquility and optimism of those who originally sang these words. A refrain from a similar spiritual of faith and trust, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” is also heard as the work concludes with quiet confidence.