The Music of Langston Hughes

Words Like Freedom – SATB


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Product Description

Words Like Freedom 

(from Langston Hughes’ Dream of Freedom)

Contemporary Choral 

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

The final movement of Langston Hughes’ Dream of Freedom is a dramatic and emotional outpowering for truth and justice. Opening with powerful block chords, the soloist and chorus build to a joyful gospel finale of “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” Duration: ca. 4:00.


Choral Voice

“Words Like Freedom” is a poem written by Langston Hughes, a renowned American poet, social activist, and writer. This poem is part of his larger body of work focused on themes of freedom, civil rights, and the African American experience. Here is the text of “Words Like Freedom” by Langston Hughes:

Words like freedom
Sweet and wonderful
Oh, what a sound

Freedom’s the thing
Everybody wants
Freedom’s the thing
Everybody needs

You know I mean
Freedom, yeah freedom
Oh freedom

This short poem emphasizes the idea of freedom as something sweet and desirable, something that everyone longs for and needs. Langston Hughes often used his poetry to address issues of racial injustice and inequality, and “Words Like Freedom” reflects his commitment to the struggle for civil rights and freedom for African Americans in the United States. The repetition of the word “freedom” throughout the poem underscores its significance and the universal desire for it.

Learn About The Composer Evan Mack

With a fervent belief that opera should be a theater of soaring emotions, telling stories that transcend the ordinary, and showcasing music that captures the raw power of the human voice, Evan Mack has dedicated a significant portion of his creative life to the realm of opera and song. His journey into the world of opera composition began with his maiden opus, “Angel of the Amazon,” where he took on the dual roles of composer and librettist.

In the spring of 2011, the world witnessed the premiere of “Angel” at the illustrious Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City, courtesy of Encompass New Opera Theatre. This groundbreaking opera soon found its way into the hearts of audiences worldwide when it was released on CD by Albany Records.

Mack’s creative alliance with librettist Joshua McGuire bore fruit with “The Secret of Luca,” which graced the stage at Fresno State Opera Theater in 2013. This collaboration marked the inception of a series of memorable works.

One of their most celebrated creations, the American grand opera “Roscoe,” took center stage at Seagle Music Colony in August 2016, drawing critical acclaim. The opera garnered further recognition with its orchestral world premiere featuring the renowned Deborah Voigt, courtesy of the Albany Symphony.

Amid these grand endeavors, Mack and McGuire embarked on an unusual but remarkable project—an opera for Twitter, aptly titled #IsOperaDead. This concise yet captivating five-act opera, spanning a mere one minute and forty seconds, showcased their innovation and adaptability.

Their enchanting Christmas opera for children, “Lucinda y las Flores de la Nochebuena,” has carved its place as a holiday tradition, gracing the stages of San Francisco Opera, Opera in the Heights, and Fresno State Opera, who initially commissioned this heartwarming piece.

In 2019, the one-act opera “The Ghosts of Gatsby” made its debut under the auspices of Samford Opera in Birmingham, AL, ultimately winning the prestigious National Opera Association’s Argento Chamber Opera Competition.

Their latest creation, “Yeltsin in Texas!” premiered in 2020 at TCU and Opera in the Heights, promising to add a touch of musical comedy to their repertoire as it progresses into development.

Evan Mack’s prowess extends beyond opera into the realm of songwriting. His composition “A Little More Perfect,” which sets Justice Anthony Kennedy’s closing paragraph from the 2015 Supreme Court Marriage Equality Decision, captivated audiences at Seagle Music Colony in 2015. This song quickly found favor among notable baritones such as Michael Mayes, Daniel Okulich, and Michael Miller. Its professional premiere at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2016 and orchestral debut at the Fort Worth Opera Festival in 2017 solidified its place in the annals of contemporary classical music.

Mack’s recent cycle, “If Only Lenny Were Here,” pays tribute to the legendary Leonard Bernstein and made its world premiere with the Schenectady Symphony in October 2018.

Recognitions have not eluded Evan Mack; he was honored as the “2018 Professional of the Year” by Musical America and has served as a composing fellow at the John Duffy Composers Institute. He also enjoyed a residency at Yaddo and is a published composer with works available through Hal Leonard, Alfred, and Amazon.

Beyond his musical pursuits, Evan holds the role of a Teaching Professor at Skidmore College. He resides in Ticonderoga with his wife, Kristin, and their two sons, Carter and Henry, adding yet another facet to his rich and diverse life journey.


Product Details

  • Inventory: #HL 08711532
  • UPC: 884088518875
  • Width: 6.75″
  • Length: 10.5″
  • Page Count: 12 Pages

Additional information

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SKU: 8711532 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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