A Year
for Music!

Zion's Walls

Zion's Walls

Selected Composition


Aaron Copland, "Zion's Walls" from Old American Songs



Program Notes


Benjamin Britten, the English composer, asked Aaron Copland to arrange a set of American folk songs for his Aldeburgh Music and Art Festival. Copland wrote five songs for male soloist and piano, and they were performed in 1952. These songs were so popular that Copland arranged a second set of five American folk songs, and they were first performed in 1958. Together, the two sets are known as Old American Songs. "Zion's Walls" is from the second set of songs. Copland used this song again in his opera The Tender Land.


The words are from an unknown source:


Come fathers and mothers, 
Come sisters and brothers,
Come join us in singing the praises of Zion. 
O fathers, don’t you feel determined
To meet within the walls of Zion? 
We’ll shout and go round
The walls of Zion.


The music is thrilling to hear. The orchestration features imploring trumpets, and the voices end in exultation. Here is a link to Jerold Ottley conducting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with Michael Tilson Thomas conduction the Utah Symphony Orchestra in this song, from their album Copland: Old American Songs:


Aaron Copland, "Zion's Walls"





I created "Glorious Things," the image above, in 2006. It is based on Mandelbrot fractals. The title is from Psalms 87:3 (KJV): "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God."








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