Two Songs from the Sacred Harp for String Orchestra
I. The Morning Trumpet
Barbara Harbach has always been fascinated with early American hymn tunes and has set many of them throughout her compositions. The first movement, I. The Morning Trumpet is based on the melody, “The Morning Trumpet,” 1844, composed by Benjamin Franklin White (1800 – 1879), a singing master and compiler of the shape-note hymn book The Sacred Harp.
Early American composer, William Billings (1746-1800), wrote the tune in the second movement, II. Chester, adding his own patriotic text and it became the unofficial national anthem of the American Revolution. In music, Billings was largely self-taught, a tanner by trade. His New England Psalm-Singer (1770) was the first collection of music entirely by an American composer.