Deep River (arr.)
for SSAATTBB and piano (1990)
by Ron Hannah

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Words: Traditional Spiritual
Duration: 3.5 minutes



Deep River

Deep River, my home is over Jordan,
Deep River, I want to cross over into campground.

Oh, don't you want to cross over,
To that Gospel feast?
To that Promised Land,
Where all is peace?

Deep River, my home is over Jordan,
Deep River, I want to cross over into campground.

- American Spiritual -
     Here is a sumptuous arrangement in 8 voices (reminiscent of English glees) of a favourite spiritual. After a gentle ragtime piano introduction (homage to Joplin), the women enter in 2 parts, then the men are heard in 4 parts, and finally the whole eight voices come together on the words "Promised Land", in a rich and full setting. It covers a wide range (sopranos to high B, basses to low C). That accompaniment, in fact, is so successful that I extracted it as Deep River Rag, but sadly I can no longer locate it. If anyone expresses interest I might try to re-build it.

     The score may be obtained from the
Canadian Music Centre, or by sending me an email (below).

     It has had several performances that I know of, and is a rewarding piece for an excellent amateur choir. I have placed the text and a live recording here for your enjoyment. The performing group is the Da Camera Singers, of Edmonton, Canada, a group I sang with for many years. If you listen carefully you can hear my voice in the top tenor!


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