Monday, June 14, 2010

“I had a...version of 'There is a Balm in Gilead;' 'Is this the same William L. Dawson?'

[The Spirituals of William L. Dawson; The St. Olaf Choir; Anton Armstrong, conductor; Marvis Martin, soprano; St. Olaf Records 2159 (1997)]

This afternoon, a visitor to left a question in the Guest Book about a spiritual arranged by William Levi Dawson:

Kathleen Simms
Monday, 6/14/10, 1:18 PM “Loved reading your site. I remember about twenty years ago, and I have moved several times, I had a 1949 copyrighted version of 'There is a Balm in Gilead' (Tuskegee Choir Series) (published by Tuskegee Institute) by William Levi Dawson. Is this the Same William L. Dawson? Thanks. From: Washington, DC”

Perhaps the date was actually 1939? Here is an excerpt from the entry which Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma has written on this work, and which can be found at Note that Prof. De Lerma also wrote the liner notes for the CD The Spirituals of William L. Dawson, which is available at websites such as

“There is a balm in Gilead, for SATB with piano reduction (1939). Tuskegee: Music Press, 1939. 8p. Text: Jeremiah 8:22. Duration: 5:12.

Park Ridge, San Diego: Neil A. Kjos, 1967, 1939 (Tuskegee Choir series, T-105).
----- for soprano & SATB with piano reduction. Tuskegee: Music Press, 1939. 8p. (Tuskegee Choir series, T-105). Text: Jeremiah 8:22. Dedication: G. Lakelines. Library: Library of Congress, Yale.

CD: Leontyne Price, soprano; Rust College Choir; Lassaye van Buren Holmes, conductor. BMG 09026-68157-2(1996).

CD: Marvis Martin, soprano; St. Olaf Choir; Anton E. Armstrong, conductor. St. Olaf Records E-2159 (1997). Liner notes: Dominique-René de Lerma; “Conductor’s notes” by Anton E. Armstrong.”
[William Levi Dawson (1899-1990) is profiled at, which features a complete Works List compiled by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma]

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