Sorrow Song and Jubilee

Score title

Sorrow Song and Jubilee


Libby Larsen

More about the composer


Program note

During Antonin Dvorak’s years in America (1892-1895) as director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City, composer Henry Thacker Burleigh, who was enrolled in the school at the time, introduced Dvorak to African American spirituals and dances, deeply influencing Dvorak’s American works. Just as Dvorak used “Going Home” as the basis for the largo theme in his symphony From the New World, in my new composition for the Apollo Chamber Players, Sorrow Song and Jubilee, I’ve based the music on the “sorrow song” (now known as spiritual) “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”. It’s a short piece, a miniature dumka and furiant or introduction and dance, composed as an homage to the creative partnership of Burleigh and Dvorak.