Moerane’s arrangement of Shenandoah has a wonderfully varied texture, beginning TTBB, changing to SATB and then to SSATB during the course of which the melody moves from voice to voice. The original tune, ‘Shenandoah’, is an American folksong about Iraqois Chief Shenandoah from Virginia, the state whose major river is named after him. The song is usually known as a ‘sea shanty’, and Moerane found the source for his arrangement in Sailor Shanties by Richard Runciman Terry, published by Curwen in the 1920s or 1930s. He may have made this arrangement in the late 1930s, around the same time that Lovedale Press published his arrangement of Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen. An arrangement of the song on Youtube by Mark Patterson filmed in the Shenandoah National Park has a melodic line somewhat different from Moerane’s. Moerane makes the tune more of a sea shanty. 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.