Title
Old American Songs, Set II
For
voice and piano
Year Composed
1952
ARCO Number(s)
68
Category
Vocal
Duration
12'
Songs
Premiere
  • Ipswich, MA, July 24th, 1953 (William Warfield, Copland)
Publisher
Boosey & Hawkes
Publishing Status
Published: See collections
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Program Note

Copland wrote, "Everyone seemed to enjoy singing and hearing the first set of folk song settings so much that I decided to arrange a second group of five." The second five songs were also drawn from diverse sources: The Little Horses is a lullaby from the South based on a version from a Lomax collection. Zion's Walls, a revivalist song with words and music credited to John G. McCurry, was used again by Copland in his opera, The Tender Land. The Golden Willow Tree is a variant of a well-known Anglo-American ballad which Copland first heard for banjo and voice on a recording at the Library of Congress. At the River is an arrangement of the beloved 1865 hymn tune by Robert Lowry. It has been sung on many occasions, including the memorial concerts for Copland and for Leonard Bernstein. Ching-a-Ring Chaw was originally a minstrel song with a text in dialect that Copland felt had to be rewritten. He explained, "I did not want to take any chance of it being construed as racist."

Author
Vivian Perlis
Year
1998