The Music of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes’ Dream of Freedom – SATB


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Product Description

Langston Hughes’ Dream of Freedom 

(Choral Suite)

Contemporary Choral 

  • Series:  Contemporary Choral
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard
  • SATB
  • Composer:  Evan Mack
  • Author:  Langston Hughes

The poetry of Langston Hughes inspires this 25-minute choral suite, telling a story of many aspects of life, prayer, love, death, and perseverance. Through it all, these elements play into our constant struggle to be free, where freedom means more than just a word. For SATB voices, soloists and piano, movements include: Wisdom, Feet o’ Jesus, Silence, Lonesome Corner, Autumn Thought, Still Here, Dream of Freedom, Words Like Freedom. Total Duration: ca: 25:00.

Song List 

  • Feet O’ Jesus
  • Lonesome Corner
  • Silence
  • Still Here
  • Wisdom
  • Words Like Freedom



Langston Hughes: A Journey of Prayer, Love, Death, and Perseverance

Langston Hughes, one of the most prominent figures of the Harlem Renaissance, left an indelible mark on American literature with his poetry and writings. Born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, Hughes spent a significant part of his childhood in Lawrence, Kansas, under the care of his grandmother, Mary Patterson Langston. These formative years in the heartland of America greatly influenced his work, as he grappled with the themes of prayer, love, death, and perseverance throughout his life.

Childhood in Kansas: The Roots of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes’s early life was marked by instability and separation from his parents. After his parents’ separation, Hughes’s mother, Carrie Langston, moved to Topeka, Kansas, while his father, James Hughes, moved to Mexico. Left in the care of his grandmother, Mary Patterson Langston, in Lawrence, young Langston found solace and a sense of belonging in the nurturing environment she provided.

Prayer: Finding Spiritual Connection

In the midst of the racial tensions and segregation of the early 20th century, prayer became a cornerstone of young Langston’s life. Hughes often addressed the theme of prayer in his poetry, drawing upon his experiences in a racially divided society. He saw prayer as a source of strength, resilience, and solace. Raised in a deeply religious household, Langston’s grandmother, Mary, instilled in him a strong faith in God.

In Langston’s formative years, his grandmother’s prayers became a constant presence. Her prayers were not only a means of spiritual connection but also a way to find inner peace and courage in the face of external challenges. Mary Patterson Langston’s unwavering faith and her belief in the power of prayer left an indelible mark on Langston’s soul. This influence would manifest in his later works, where he would often evoke the spiritual and the divine as a source of hope and guidance for African Americans.

Love: Exploring the Complexities

Hughes’s childhood in Kansas also laid the foundation for his exploration of love in all its complexities. His familial love for his grandmother and the strong bonds within his extended family were instrumental in shaping his understanding of love as a source of inspiration and solidarity. These early relationships nurtured his sense of belonging and self-worth.

However, love was not always an easy journey for Hughes. He experienced the complexities of romantic love and grappled with the challenges of navigating love within the context of the African American experience. In his poetry, he portrayed love realistically, acknowledging its joys and hardships. Love could be both a source of inspiration and a wellspring of pain and longing, reflecting the intricacies of his own life experiences.

Death: Confronting Mortality

The theme of death was a recurring presence in Langston Hughes’s poetry. Growing up in a racially divided society, he witnessed the harsh realities faced by African Americans, which often included premature deaths due to violence, discrimination, and poverty. Hughes contemplated death as a universal human experience, portraying it as an inevitable part of life.

In his poems, he explored how people confronted mortality with both fear and acceptance. Death, for Hughes, could symbolize the end of suffering and the hope for a better future. He used his art to highlight the need for change and justice in a world where African Americans faced not only physical mortality but also the death of dreams and opportunities due to systemic racism.

Perseverance: Celebrating Resilience

Throughout his life, Hughes celebrated the resilience and determination of African Americans in the face of adversity. His experiences growing up in a racially divided society and witnessing the struggles of his community informed his deep appreciation for perseverance as a recurring theme in his poetry. Hughes believed in the inherent strength of individuals and communities to overcome challenges through resilience and determination.

His poems often conveyed messages of hope, urging people to persevere in the face of discrimination, poverty, and hardship. He championed the idea that, despite the odds stacked against them, African Americans could endure and thrive, drawing strength from their cultural heritage and shared experiences.

Langston Hughes’s Final Years: A Legacy of Resilience

As Langston Hughes entered his later years, his commitment to the themes of prayer, love, death, and perseverance remained steadfast. He continued to write and speak out against racial injustice and inequality. His poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” reflects the enduring strength and perseverance of African Americans as he traces the history of their struggles and resilience through time.

Hughes passed away on May 22, 1967, in New York City. His legacy endures, not only through his poetry and writings but also as a testament to his unwavering dedication to the African American community and the themes that defined his life’s work.

Langston Hughes’s childhood in Kansas with his grandmother, Mary Patterson Langston, provided the foundation for his exploration of prayer, love, death, and perseverance in his poetry. These themes were not only central to his literary contributions but also reflected the struggles and hopes of African Americans in a racially divided society. Hughes’s enduring legacy continues to inspire and illuminate the human experience, reminding us of the power of faith, love, resilience, and the enduring quest for justice and equality in the face of adversity.

Some Information About Evan Mac, Composer

  • Evan Mack, a dedicated composer, has a profound belief in opera as a form of theatrical expression that delivers larger-than-life stories and music that embodies the full athletic thrill of singing.
  • He has dedicated a significant portion of his compositional career to opera and songwriting, showcasing his passion for creating captivating musical experiences.
  • Evan’s first major venture into opera composition was “Angel of the Amazon,” where he took on the roles of both composer and librettist. This opera premiered in May of 2011 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City and was subsequently released on CD worldwide by Albany Records.
  • In 2013, Evan collaborated with librettist Joshua McGuire for the first time on “The Secret of Luca,” which premiered at Fresno State Opera Theater. This marked the beginning of a fruitful creative partnership.
  • One of their notable collaborations, the American grand opera “Roscoe,” premiered at Seagle Music Colony in August 2016, receiving enthusiastic reviews. Its orchestral world premiere featured Metropolitan Opera star Deborah Voigt, accompanied by the Albany Symphony.
  • In a unique departure from traditional opera formats, Mack and McGuire co-created the groundbreaking opera for Twitter, “#IsOperaDead.” This innovative work is presented in five acts, each lasting only one minute and forty seconds.
  • Evan Mack’s talent extends beyond opera into the realm of songwriting. His composition “A Little More Perfect” sets Justice Anthony Kennedy’s final paragraph from the Supreme Court’s Marriage Equality Decision in 2015. Premiering at Seagle Music Colony in 2015, it has since become a favorite among many baritones, including Michael Mayes, Daniel Okulich, and Michael Miller.
  • The song “A Little More Perfect” achieved its professional premiere at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2016 and its orchestral premiere at the Fort Worth Opera Festival in 2017.
  • Evan’s latest song cycle, “If Only Lenny Were Here,” celebrates the life of the renowned composer Leonard Bernstein. It had its world premiere with the Schenectady Symphony in October of 2018.
  • Evan Mack’s remarkable contributions to music have earned him recognition and accolades. In 2018, he was named “2018 Professional of the Year” by Musical America. He also participated as a composing fellow at the John Duffy Composers Institute and was a resident artist at Yaddo.
  • His compositions are published by prominent music publishers including Hal Leonard, Alfred, and Amazon.
  • Beyond his creative pursuits, Evan serves as a Teaching Professor at Skidmore College.
  • He resides in Ticonderoga with his wife, Kristin, and their two sons, Carter and Henry.






Product Details

  • Inventory: #HL 08711531
  • UPC: 884088518851
  • Width: 6.75″
  • Length: 10.5″
  • Page Count: 64 Pages

Additional information

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SKU: 8711531 Categories: , , ,


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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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