Cover image for Hard trials : the life and music of Harry T. Burleigh
Hard trials : the life and music of Harry T. Burleigh
Simpson, Anne K. (Anne Key), 1924-
Publication Information:
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
xvii, 476 pages : illustrations, music ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.B97 S5 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) was recognized as the first African-American art song composer and arranger of spirituals for concert use. Includes a bibliography, chapter notes, and detailed index. Many photos and musical examples.

Author Notes

Anne Key Simpson (BS, piano performance; MA, musicology, Texas Women's University), retired as Staff Accompanist from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, is a freelance writer and accompanist. Her articles have appeared in American Music, The School Musician, Journal of Band Research, Journal of Erie Studies, American Music Teacher, and College Music Symposium.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Although Simpson states that this book is not "the ultimate definitive work" on Burleigh (p. xv), it is likely to be the most penetrating and useful source for some time. (It is also one of the most comprehensive in its series.) The author has thoroughly researched numerous primary and secondary sources and has presented as complete a picture of Burleigh as possible. This very readable book is divided into thoroughly documented discussions of the life (209 p.) and musical works (146 p.), followed by an extensive catalog of music, discography, bibliography, and index. The book is extensively illustrated, with 33 pictures of Burleigh, his family, and associates, and 29 musical examples, a few of them entire pieces. Burleigh is remembered today as a singer-arranger-composer whose early association with Dvorak at the National Conservatory in New York proved to be mutually beneficial, for Burleigh undoubtedly was instrumental in acquainting Dvorak with the rich American store of black spirituals; and the Bohemian master, in turn, revealed to his young friend their potential as art music. Simpson reinforces these essential impressions with her wealth of detail. Although Burleigh's primary occupation was as baritone soloist at a prestigious New York church (1894-1946), his recognition in musical history stems from his numerous solo and choral arrangements of spirituals in the early and mid-20th century. Burleigh literally defined the medium of the concert spiritual. Recommended for all libraries. -W. K. Kearns, University of Colorado at Boulder