Go Tell It On The Mountains
Moerane set eight African American spirituals, this one, appropriately, as a Christmas song for SATB soloists and SATB choir. The choir sings 8 bars, the solo quartet sings 8, they join forces for the remaining 8 bars, and then there is a short coda. The tune, ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain’ (Moerane makes the mountains plural) was one of almost 300 spirituals collected by Harry T. Burleigh, many of them remembered by his grandfather, a former slave. Burleigh arranged ‘Go Tell It’ for solo voice and piano accompaniment in a book of Negro Spirituals published by Ricordi in 1917, and this may have been the source that Moerane used. Dvořák, who worked closely with Burleigh when he was in America, used ‘Go Tell It’ in the 1st movement of his Cello Concerto Op. 104. The version sung by Jessye Norman on Youtube gives a good idea of the way the tune can be rendered in another style. In order to help choirs learn Moerane’s choral version, a free rehearsal mp3 at a slow tempo is downloadable when the song is purchased.
The audio sample below was generated from the Sibelius file of the score and the image on the right shows the first page of the score.