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Songs on Theme of Economic Inequality

Does anyone know of choral songs that touch on the theme of economic inequality?   There are some opera choruses & lots of folk songs...but I seek good choral repertoire in diverse musical genres. Thanks much!
Jane Hulting
Unitarian Universalist Church of Restoration
Replies (21): Threaded | Chronological
on February 11, 2016 5:04pm
Do you have a good ad. libbing pianist? I've got an arrangement of "Ain't I Got a Right to the Tree of Life" in a gospel style, that I haven't bothered to write out a piano part for (yet:) You're welcome to it for free if you like.. but its just chord symbols (mostly) in the accompaniment..  the vocal parts are complete
on February 12, 2016 8:48am
This sounds great, Adam.  I'd like to take a look at it.
Thank you!
on February 11, 2016 5:12pm
Faulte d’argent (“Poor and in need”) by Josquin is one of the best constructed pieces I’ve ever sung.  It’s wonderful, sad, and a little bitter all at the same time.
Hope that helps!
Michael A. Gray 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 19, 2016 3:49am
Thank you...  I never would have found this on my own!  I'm taking a look at it.
on February 11, 2016 6:36pm
Rutter - Distant Land:)
Amalie Hinson
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 12, 2016 2:35am
My composition "To Reach Them My Hand" was a recent silver platter award winner. It's a setting of Whitman's Song for Occupations and deals was written in 2011 when the present economic crisis was in its infancy. SATB with piano
on February 12, 2016 4:48am

Dear Jane,

The Christian choral tradition has a wealth of repertoire about the value of helping the poor. Several texts are:

  • The parable of Dives and Lazarus, which exists as a fifteen-verse carol arranged by Vaughan Williams;
  • The Beatitudes ('Blessed are the poor') set by several composers, including Arvo Pärt;
  • Matthew 25 is about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. My wife, Helen Williams, wrote St Martin's Vision about the saint's response to that text;
  • Set most often of all is the verse in Luke 'He hath filled the hungry with good things and the rich he hath sent empty away.' As part of Magnificat, it has been set by church composers since before Palestrina. There are Catholic liturgical settings, including several by Victoria, and grand concert or concert-style versions, such as those by Bach, Monteverdi, Schütz, Stanford, Mozart. Anglican liturgical, usually paired with Nunc Dimittis, can be simple (Stanford again, Charles Wood, Tallis, John Ireland) or spectacularly polyphonic (Byrd, Mundy) or exciting (Dyson, Howells, Walmisley, Purcell). There are so many to choose from, I've even written one myself  and you may have written one of your own.
Best wishes,
on February 19, 2016 3:50am
Thanks Nigel, for these beautiful selections.  I'm taking a look at the Vaughn Williams.
on February 12, 2016 10:03am
You might be interested in two arrangements of mine, both SATB a cappella: Hard Times Cottonmill Girls and Hard Times Come Again No More. I can send you a perusal copy of either or both--just let me know your email.
best wishes,
on February 13, 2016 6:10am
Undine Smith Moore's Mother to Son could work.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 25, 2016 9:28am
Hi Nancy.....unable to find a copy of Undine Smith Moore's "Mother to Son" (text Langston Hughes).    
Where did you find copies of this piece?  
Thanks much....
on February 15, 2016 1:11am
Esurientes implevit bonis et divites dimissit inanes.  
Part of the Magnificat text. 
on February 19, 2016 3:52am
yes.....I'm including one. thank you.
on February 16, 2016 8:40am
All My Trials arr. Luboff
on February 17, 2016 11:20pm
Walk A Mile, Pepper Choplin, SATB divisi, a cappella shuffle with finger snaps - an uplifting, engaging piece to challenge any type of inequality I think.
on February 20, 2016 4:42am
Seize the Day from the musical Newsies is available in two arrangements on Hal Leonard. 
on February 21, 2016 7:21am
A few things come to mind...  "God Bless the Child That's Got His Own" by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr
"I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'" by George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward.
"Tu Pauperum Refugium" by Josquin des Pres
Jeremy McLeod
on February 21, 2016 1:32pm
Here's the Esurientes movement from my Magnificat, using orchestra; there's a straightforward piano reduction available.  
on February 24, 2016 9:08am
Thanks to everyone for your fine suggestions! 
on February 26, 2016 2:32am
one of Handel's Foundling Hospital anthems is "Blessed are they that considereth the poor"

Kate Simmons
on February 27, 2016 3:58am
Jim Jerome Williams' "No Hands but Yours..."
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