Ballad and March for Organ

Ballad and March for Organ. 5′. Premiered 19 Aug 2017, Margaret Harper, Central Congregation Church, Newburyport, MA, Newburyport Summer Music Festival.

Transcribed for solo organ from Plain Truths, a song cycle for baritone and string quartet or piano. “Annie Lisle” is No. 2 of that set. It was a popular song whose tune became the melody for dozens of college alma maters, but this, although in the mold of a 19th-century American salon piece, is an original tune. (I deleted the repeated music of the second verse in this transcription.) The final song of Plain Truths, No. 7, is “Spirit of Freedom.” The abolitionist Wm. Lloyd Garrison wrote this in his paper The Liberator, immediately after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery.

Ballad: Annie Lisle
Down where the waving willows
’Neath the sunbeams smile,
Shadowed o’er the murm’ring waters
Dwelt sweet Annie Lisle;
Pure as the forest lily,
Never thought of guile
Had its home within the bosom
Of sweet Annie Lisle.
Wave willows, murmur waters,
Golden sunbeams, smile!
Earthly music cannot waken
Lovely Annie Lisle.
[Sweet came the hallowed chiming
Of the Sabbath bell,
Borne on the morning breezes
Down the woody dell.
On a bed of pain and anguish
Lay dear Annie Lisle,
Changed were the lovely features,
Gone the happy smile.]
“Raise me in your arms, O Mother;
Let me once more look
On the green and waving willows
And the flowing brook.
Hark! the sound of angel music
From the choirs above!
Dearest mother, I am going;
Surely God is love.”
—Henry S. Thompson, 1857

March: Spirit of Freedom
Spirit of Freedom! on—
Oh! pause not in thy flight
Till every clime is won
To worship in thy light:
Speed on thy glorious way,
And wake the sleeping lands!
Millions are watching for the ray,
And lift to thee their hands.
Still Onward! be thy cry—
Thy banner on the blast;
And, like a tempest, as thou rushest by,
Despots shall shrink aghast.
On! till thy name is known
Throughout the peopled earth;
On! till thou reign’st alone,
Man’s heritage by birth;
On! till from every vale,
And where the mountains rise,
The beacon lights of Liberty
Shall kindle to the skies!
—Wm. Lloyd Garrison, from The Liberator, 1865


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3 July, 2019

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