Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022

Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022

Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022 is a book project by compiler and soprano Randye Jones to document commercially produced recordings of Negro spirituals composed for solo concert vocalists. Presently, tracks listed in the project have references that exceeded 5,000 entries covering more than a century of recordings on compact discs, long-playing albums, 78 rpm records, 45 rpm discs, digital streamed files, audio cassettes, as well as demonstration recordings from musical score collections or other print resources.

Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022 Cover

The book’s goal is to assist the vocalist, the vocal coach/teacher or the accompanist who is looking for these recorded resources. These recordings serve as an opportunity for the singer, voice instructor or other musician to discover resources that enhance their study of concert spiritual performance in a studio, concert, service or competition setting. Even the composer, music historian, educator, librarian, researcher, or the enthusiast who simply wants to hear these great songs performed will have reason to seek out information about the wide range of recordings.

Recordings include a variety of vocal and/or instrumental accompanying forces–such as chorus, piano, orchestra, guitar, flute, violin, etc.; however, those forces are always secondary to the role of the vocal soloist in the listed performance. Also, the voice type (soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto, countertenor, tenor, baritone, bass-baritone, bass) of the soloist is included to assist those who are looking for recordings by a specific voice type.

Three features have been added to Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022. First, where Jones was able to listen to the recordings, she evaluated the level of dialect discerned in the performance and categorized the tracks as either “no dialect discerned,” “light dialect,” “moderate dialect,” or “heavy dialect.” Also, with a goal of addressing as many of the recordings where the composer information is either lacking or listed only as “Traditional” as she could find, Jones assessed the recordings available and provided composer information when possible.

Finally, Jones selected 29 of the most frequently recorded spirituals–representing nearly 60% of the book’s entries–and created introductory notes that variously include scriptural references, song texts, song collections containing the concert spiritual, as well as comments about performance practice, compositional approach, and/or historical information.

NOTE: Since the contents referenced in Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022 are commercially produced sound recordings, the book’s content are structurally organized in the manner of a discography. There are, indeed, many elements of a discography included; however, this guide is intended to encourage use of the recordings themselves, rather than solely to provide historical data.

Pre-order information for Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022 is available at https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/recorded-solo-concert-spirituals-1916-2022/. The book is scheduled to be available in softcover ($75.00) and ebook ($44.95).

Limited portions of the book’s contents continue to be available on the free online site, The Spirituals Database (URL: http://spirituals-database.com). The site, however, contains a variety of information that is not available in the book.

If you have questions or comments about The Art of the Concert Spiritual, please contact Randye Jones at projects@artoftheconcertspiritual.com. Thanks for visiting!