Commissioned by the Rhinebeck Choral Club, on their 65th anniversary.
To the Rhinebeck Choral Club and their artistic director, Charles Kelley
Freedom's Plow is a dramatic--and abridged--setting of a long poem by Langston Hughes. The narrator and cello work in tandem to create a sense of theatricality, with responses by the chorus. For most of the work, I've stayed true to the intentions of the African-American spiritual "Keep your hand on the plow, hold on!" - However, for the ending of the work, I've paid homage to a famous recording of the spiritual by Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson. This recording is swung in Duke's signature style, and I've incorporated that feel into my composition.