The Music of Langston Hughes

Freedom’s Plow – Orchestra (Score & Parts)


Product Description

Freedom’s Plow

Festival Choral Orchestra (Score & Parts)

Quotes of the beloved spiritual “Hold On” are combined with excerpts from “Freedom’s Plow” by Langston Hughes in this powerful and dramatic work commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony. Themes of the struggle for liberty and justice throughout America and the world make this a magnificent concert closer for festival and community performances with keyboard, bass and drums or the optional orchestral accompaniment! Available separately: SATB divisi, Orchestra score and parts (fl, ob, cl, bn, hn, tpt 1-3, tbn 1-2 [btbn], bells, perc 1-2, vn 1-2, va, vc, db). Duration: ca. 5:00.

  •  Festival Choral
  •  Hal Leonard
  • Orchestra (Score & Parts)
  •  Rollo Dilworth, Langston Hughes

“Hold On” and “Freedom’s Plow”: Building a Better World Through Resilience and Unity

In a world filled with challenges, inequalities, and uncertainties, the power of words and music has always been a source of solace and inspiration. Two works that stand out in this regard are the song “Hold On” and excerpts from Langston Hughes’ poem “Freedom’s Plow.” These pieces, individually potent in their own right, when combined, possess the ability to contribute significantly to making the world a better place. “Hold On” embodies the spirit of resilience and hope, while Hughes’ “Freedom’s Plow” underscores the importance of unity and collective effort in the pursuit of justice and freedom. This essay explores how the fusion of these works can inspire positive change and contribute to the betterment of our world.

Resilience and Hope in “Hold On”

“Hold On” is a traditional spiritual song that has roots in the African American experience, particularly during times of slavery and oppression. The lyrics, with their simple yet powerful message, implore individuals to hold on and have faith in the face of adversity. The refrain, “Hold on just a little while longer,” serves as a reminder that no matter how dire the circumstances may seem, there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.

This message of resilience and hope is essential in today’s world, where people face various challenges, from personal struggles to global crises. The power of “Hold On” lies in its ability to instill a sense of perseverance and determination, encouraging individuals to overcome obstacles and keep moving forward. In a world that can often feel overwhelming, a song like “Hold On” can provide the strength needed to face adversity and work towards positive change.

Unity and Collective Effort in “Freedom’s Plow”

Langston Hughes, one of the most celebrated poets of the Harlem Renaissance, penned “Freedom’s Plow” as a call to action and unity. The poem speaks of the collective effort required to sow the seeds of freedom and justice. Hughes employs powerful imagery and metaphors, comparing the struggle for freedom to plowing and planting a field. He emphasizes that the work of achieving freedom is not for a select few but requires the participation of all, regardless of their background or circumstance.

“Freedom’s Plow” reminds us that the fight for justice and equality is a collective endeavor. It underscores the idea that individuals must come together, each contributing their unique skills and perspectives, to create a better world. Hughes’ words are a reminder that unity and cooperation are essential ingredients for societal progress. In a world marked by division and polarization, “Freedom’s Plow” encourages us to work together towards common goals, fostering understanding and empathy.

The Synergy of “Hold On” and “Freedom’s Plow”

When “Hold On” and excerpts from “Freedom’s Plow” are combined, they create a powerful synergy. “Hold On” provides the emotional strength and resilience needed to face challenges, while “Freedom’s Plow” adds depth by emphasizing the importance of collective action and unity. Together, these works offer a comprehensive message of hope, resilience, and social responsibility.

In today’s world, marked by ongoing struggles for social justice, economic equality, and environmental sustainability, this fusion of music and poetry becomes a guiding light. It encourages individuals to hold on to their dreams and aspirations while inspiring them to actively engage in the collective effort to create a more just and equitable society.

“Hold On” and “Freedom’s Plow,” when combined, serve as a beacon of hope, resilience, and unity in an often tumultuous world. The power of music and poetry to uplift the human spirit and inspire positive change cannot be overstated. “Hold On” reminds us to persevere in the face of adversity, while “Freedom’s Plow” calls for collective action and unity in the pursuit of justice and freedom.

Together, these works offer a profound message: that by holding on to hope, by standing together in unity, and by actively working towards a better world, we can make a difference. In a world that so often seems divided and troubled, the combination of “Hold On” and “Freedom’s Plow” can indeed contribute to making the world a better place by instilling in us the strength, resilience, and determination needed to face the challenges of our time and work towards a brighter future for all.

Rollo Dilworth: A Journey of Musical Passion and Innovation

Rollo Dilworth, a renowned composer, conductor, and educator, has left an indelible mark on the world of music. His journey from a young boy with a passion for singing to an accomplished composer with over 150 published works is a testament to his dedication and talent. In this comprehensive biography, we will delve into the early influences that shaped his musical path, his higher education, and his contributions to the world of music. From teaching at North Park University to his current role as a professor at Temple University, Dilworth’s impact on music education is immeasurable. We’ll also explore his unique style and the diverse influences that have informed his compositions, making him a prominent figure in both classical and African-American music.

Early Education: Fostering the Musical Spark

Rollo Dilworth’s musical journey began at a young age, as he discovered his love for singing while participating in school and church choirs. At just 11 years old, he started experimenting with music, exploring alternate pitches and rhythms. His elementary music teacher recognized his curiosity and encouraged his early work, igniting the spark of his passion for arranging music. Simultaneously, Dilworth delved into music theory and piano, setting the foundation for his future musical endeavors. As he progressed through high school, it became clear that his calling lay in pursuing music as a lifelong career.

Higher Education: Nurturing Musical Ambitions

To realize his musical ambitions, Rollo Dilworth continued his education at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, where he furthered his studies in voice and piano, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. During this time, he also dedicated a year to teaching elementary school music while pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. It was during this period that he had the privilege of being mentored by his musical idol, Robert Ray, who imparted invaluable composition and arranging skills.

In 1994, Dilworth completed his master’s degree, marking a significant milestone in his journey. His dedication to education and music led him to serve as the director of music education and choral programs at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois, from 1996 to 2009. During this period, his talent was recognized by prominent publishers Colla Voce and Hal Leonard, who offered him publishing contracts. This marked the beginning of a prolific career as a composer, with over 150 of his works now in print.

Rollo Dilworth’s Impact on Music Education

Rollo Dilworth’s contributions to the world of music education are immeasurable. After his tenure at North Park University, he accepted a position as a professor of music at Temple University in Pennsylvania, where he currently serves as the chair of the Music Education and Music Therapy department. In 2017, he received the Temple University Faculty Award for Research and Creative Achievement, highlighting his dedication to advancing music education and his creative endeavors.

Dilworth’s influence extends beyond the classroom, as he has become an active participant in both domestic and international music communities. His commitment to teaching excellence, combined with his passion for music, has shaped the future of countless aspiring musicians and educators.

Innovative Compositions and Collaborations

One of the remarkable facets of Rollo Dilworth’s career is his innovative compositions and collaborations. In celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, Dilworth, along with fellow composers Jay Fluellen, Ruth Naomi Floyd, and Evelyn Simpson, undertook the ambitious task of reworking Bernstein’s Mass. They were tasked with creating a new version that expressed their faith or crisis of faith. This new composition premiered at Philadelphia’s Monumental Baptist Church in August 2018, a testament to Dilworth’s ability to blend classical and spiritual influences into captivating music.

Style and Influences

Rollo Dilworth’s musical style is a rich tapestry woven from classical, gospel, spiritual, and African-American folk influences. While classical icons like Beethoven and Chopin hold a special place in his heart, it is the gospel and spiritual composers like Robert Ray and Moses Hogan who have significantly shaped his compositional style. Dilworth’s compositions resonate with the soulful and uplifting essence of gospel music, captivating audiences with their emotional depth and spiritual resonance.

Moreover, Dilworth draws inspiration from the African-American literary tradition, with a particular affinity for the works of Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar. This love for poetry has driven him to create musical settings of their texts, infusing his compositions with a unique blend of literary and musical artistry.

Rollo Dilworth’s journey through the world of music, from his early passion for singing to his current role as a distinguished professor and composer, is a testament to his unwavering dedication and boundless talent. His impact on music education, innovative compositions, and diverse influences have solidified his place as a prominent figure in the realms of classical and African-American music. With over 150 published works and a commitment to excellence in teaching, Dilworth continues to inspire and shape the future of music, leaving an indelible mark on the world of composition and education. As we celebrate his remarkable journey, we are reminded of the transformative power of music and the enduring legacy of Rollo Dilworth.

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The Music of Langston Hughes

Inspired by his messages of justice, freedom, and the hope that a brighter future lies ahead, notable composers and arrangers have beautifully coupled Langston Hughes' passionate words with equally captivating music.

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This Music of Langston Hughes website has been developed by the Fred Bock Publishing Group.

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