Partite Américaine 2004, 22′

soprano, mezzo, vn, vc,harpsichord

Commissioned by Bach Aria Soloists of Kansas City

Available from Subito Music

Prelude Largo “Rock my soul”
Courante Allegretto “My lord, what a morning”
Aire Largo; Passacaille “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child”
Gavotte Tempo rubato
Bourée Andante moderato “I got shoes”
Gigue Allegro “Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham”

Performed by Bach Aria Soloists of Kansas City

The title derives from the two principal elements of this piece. The form I used is a strict French partita, a suite of dance movements in the same order and character as Bach inherited and deployed them nearly three centuries ago. The texts, however, are from various Negro Spirituals. I chose these well-known and beloved lyrics both to honor them as unique, beautifully wrought poetry and imagery, among the finest ever produced in this country and because they contain emotional and religious sensibilities and a narrative arc that the baroque listener would have found completely familiar.