Thomas Hampson’s Introductory Guide to Song of America .Net


In these 15 audio segments, Thomas Hampson presents an Introductory Guide to the Hampsong Foundation’s vast Song of America.Net archive and history of American song.  Song of America.Net explores connections between poetry and music, and between history and culture, through the work of American composers and poets – and in this Guide here, Thomas Hampson contextually navigates the listener through some of the principal musical and sociological themes that are fundamental to the Song of America.Net overview of American song.  As he says: “this Guide is both an introduction for sampling the many layers of Song of America.Net and an amplification of some of the discussions I gave in the thirteen part Song of America.Net radio series.”

Music illustrations that are referred to in the Guide are featured below each segment where they are discussed.

Jon Tolansky, Feature Producer – June 2020

Segment 1

Birth and concept of Song of America.Net

Music: Neidlinger – “Memories of Lincoln” – discussed at 1’45”

Explore Song of America.Net here:

Song of America

Exploring the history of American culture through the eyes of our poets and the ears of our composers

Visit site

Segment 2

Evolution of American Song in the 19th Century

Music: HopkinsonMy days have been so wondrous free – discussed at 3’26”

Music: FosterNellie was a lady – discussed at 5’34”

Music: Foster – Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair – discussed at 7’42”

Music: Foster – Hard Times – discussed at 8’54”

Segment 3

From the time of Stephen Foster up to World War One – multiplicity of cultural layers

Music: MacDowell – Das Rosenband – MacDowell lieder discussed at 2’05”

Music: Griffes – An den Wind – Griffes lieder discussed at 2’39”

Music: IvesIn Flanders Fields – Ives discussed at 3’42”

Segment 4

Before and after World War One – the disparity of American wealth and poverty profiled in poetry and music

Music: Griffes – Auf ihren Grab – Griffes discussed at 2’53”

Segment 5

After World War One: the decline of German dominance in American culture, the rise of African/ American poetry and music, Langston Hughes, Daniel Du Bois, and the War Cries radio feature

Music: PriceMy Dream – Florence Price discussed at 4’10”

Music: BondsThe Negro Speaks of Rivers – Margaret Bonds discussed at 4’12”

Margaret Bonds: "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

Thomas Hampson, baritone; Vlad Iftinca, piano
Minnesota Beethoven Festival, 2011
Minnesota Marine Art Museum (Winona, MN, U.S.A.)

Segments 6, 7 & 8


Social issues in the American heritage of poetry, and the “ordinary” man featured in American poetry and art – Walt Whitman and his influence on early 20th Century American music, and the emergence of Henry Burleigh

Music: BurleighEthiopia Saluting the Colors – discussed at 6’16”


More on Henry Burleigh and Walt Whitman and their influence

Music: StillGrief – William Grant Still discussed at 0’55”


Walt Whitman and the music of Frederick Delius

Music: Delius – Sea Drift – Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking – discussed at 0’39”

Segments 9, 10 & 11


The 20th Century from Charles Ives to Ned Rorem via Arthur Farwell, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and John Duke, and various radio features from the Song of America radio series

Music: Ives – Ich grolle nicht – discussed at 0’35”

Music: FarwellSong of the Deathless Voice – discussed at 7’20”

Music: RoremLook Down, Fair Moon – Rorem discussed at 8’37”

Music: BarberThe Daisies – Barber discussed at 8’57”

Music: DukeRichard Cory – Duke discussed at 9’31”

Music: CoplandNature the Gentlest Mother – Copland discussed at 9’43”


David Bispham, Walter Damrosch, and John Duke’s settings of Edwin Arlington Robinson

Music: DamroschDanny Deever – discussed at 0’21”

Music: Duke – Miniver Cheevy – Duke discussed at 1’31”


American poetry and music and social enlightenment, and There Is No Gender In Music radio feature

Music: WarrenGod Be In My Heart – Elinor Remick Warren discussed at 0’20”

Segment 12

Langston Hughes and his influence through the 20th Century

Music: BergerLonely People – discussed at 6’43”

Segments 13 & 14


Emergence of an American “sound” during the 20th Century, and exiled composers Walter Arlen and Hans Eisler writing in America

Music: Copland – The Dodger – Copland discussed at 1’23”

Music: Barber – With Rue My Heart Is Laden – Barber discussed at 2’31”

Music: Eisler – An den kleinen Radioapparat – Eisler discussed at 3’41”


Ideologies from the 1930s to today seen from the perspectives of their contemporary times

Music: Eisler – In Die Staedte Kam Ich – Eisler discussed at 0’13”

Segment 15

Brief mentions of American song composers of the present time – Heggie, Corigliano, Adamo, Danielpour, Feruz, Larsen, Higden

Music: HeggieThe Leather Winged Bat – Heggie discussed at 0’07” (we can use the recording on the Song of America.Net site as it is Warner Classics Teldec copyright)

Related Resources


Singers on Singing :
Thomas Hampson


“Wondrous Free: Song of America II:” Song Texts and Translations


“Song of America: Music from the Library of Congress”: Texts and Translations


“I Hear America Singing”
(August 2001)