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Program Notes

On An American Spiritual

David Holsinger, composer

On An American Spiritual is a surprising departure from the two previous hymnsong compositions by David Holsinger. We expect the plaintive opening ("Were you there when they crucified my Lord?...") and the majestic closing ("Were you there when He rose up from the dead?..."), but the chaotic, brutal nature of the center section would seem greatly out of place until one reminds oneself of the lyrics of this Easter Lament, where the center verses recount how they "nailed Him to the tree" and "laid Him in the grave." With this in mind, one realizes that Holsinger’s variation draws heavily on the traditional verses for inspiration and understanding.

—published score


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