Sacred Sunday: “Oh Happy Souls,” Robert Shaw


This piece is an arrangement of an old New England hymn from around 1792.  Originally called “The Slow Traveler,” it was, as far as I’ve been able to discover, published in hymnals regularly for only about a hundred years.  I don’t know enough about Robert Shaw to know how he discovered it, but thank heavens he did.  Robert Shaw and Alice Parker, his frequent collaborator, deserve a Nobel Prize for preserving this style of American music.  There is so much of the American character in this piece.  Its solid, four square construction is brave, unsentimental, and resilient.  It bucks me up whenever I need it.  This is a recording I pinched from my father’s vinyl record collection, which is why it sounds so scratchy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s