One of our constant struggles is finding an appropriate level of difficulty for the book. Here are two challenging songs, one (WASHINGTON’S DIRGE) which we decided not to include and one (302 PARADISE) which is still in contention (update: Paradise is in!). We first heard Washington’s Dirge on Northampton Harmony’s spectacular 1996 album The Hooke’s Regular Sing. It’s by Uri K. Hill, from volume one of the American Musical Magazine (1800). I went to the Pocumtuck Valley Library in Deerfield MA to take pictures of the original and of 194 DESPAIR, which is on the same recording. We love hearing Northampton Harmony sing Washington’s Dirge but decided it would be too risky for class singing. We even joked about having a special section at the end of the book sealed with “caution” tape, but finally concluded that the best solution is to post the song on our web page!
Here’s the song in shapes so you can try it:
For comparison, here is a song, from Benham’s Social Harmony, that we’re keeping in the book, at least for now, though it’s tricky. The composer, Barnabas McKyes, also wrote 453 CRUCIFIXION, which may be familiar from the Norumbega Harmony.
What do you think?
Update: See my post on challenging songs, part 2.