Arise, O Zion
A Shaker Tune from Hancock, Massachusetts
For 2 Altos with Flute and Piano
Originally sung in unison as part of the worship service, Shaker songs were typically written in a simplified notation, with no staff and letters to identify pitches. The tunes often served as dances with the service dances as well. The words and melodies of Shaker music are frequently anonymous. This piece has been attributed to Calvin Fairchild, because of its inclusion in the collection of 300 songs he undoubtedly created for Shaker community of Hancock, Massachusetts. Fairchild was a member of this community, living there his entire life and serving as the village schoolmaster. Since the music was shared amoung the various Communities, musicians would take all knowledge of their sources to their grave. The alto voices do begin in unison, before moving into a bit of a canon, finishing back in unison. The flute joins in with the voices at times, but also carries a nice obligato part that works with the melodic line.