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William Walker

Southern Harmony Songs - Volume Two

  • Instrumentation: Medium Voice & Piano 

  • Duration: 9'

  • Texts: collected by William Walker in The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion


Program Note


Reflecting a deep admiration of old American hymnody, this set is a collection of songs written between 2009 and 2015, focusing on lesser-known tunes from the canon. 


Resignation Written in 2009, premiered in 2011 by Sarah Elena Hogrefe in Atlanta, Georgia. The text, by Isacc Watts (1674-1748), is a poetic rendition of the 23rd Psalm - My shepherd will supply my need. The tune is an American folk song of unknown origin. A pastoral accompaniment builds to the statement, "The sure provision of my God attends me all my days," before settling into the calming thought that, when in paradise, one feels like a child at home.


Land of Rest  The text - Jerusalem, my happy home  - is and English translation of a hymn attributed to a 16th century source referenced only by the initials "F.B.P." (which, strangely, are my own initials). The tune was originally collected in The Sacred Harp (1844). The last four notes of the melody are sequenced and layered atop each other to create a flowing modal accompaniment with a constantly shifting tonal center. 


Wondrous Love revisited - Text attributed to Alexander Means (1801-1883); Tune attributed to "Christopher."  Written for Jamie Barton. This setting of a familiar hymn tune is at once a new harmonic exploration of the simple shape-note melody, and a recollection of my setting from Southern Harmony Songs, Volumn One


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