October 6, 2012

Carl Sandburg – “Midnight Train”

Tonight we are premiering Hungarian Gospel Suite with Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. Dan composed the piece setting music to lyrics collected by folk historian, Carl Sandburg. Here’s what Mr. had to say about the meaning of Midnight Train:

“Railroad trains hurtling with smoke, fire and thunder across peaceful landscapes at night, rushing remorseless as fate along the iron rail pathways, holding to a fixed timetable and repeating the performance ever midnight or early morning “fo’ day”- out of this the negro worker has made a song that pounds home with the beats and accents of a Limited Express.  The grind of flanges, steel burnishing steel in a tireless syncopation, is here, in melody and overtone. . .  All night long the trains weave: every night they repeat the weave: civilization hangs on the time table.  The “same train” runs, and always “all night long” …   A smokestack with a maroon plume of sparks, a firebox square of crimson, the onrushing monotone of a strong, long drawn locomotive whistle-thus the tempo. . . . In Montevallo at the State Teachers College of Alabama they sing it: and there are variants at the University of Georgia, and at the State Teachers College at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. . . “

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Kugelplex totally rocked Midnight Train and all the songs we performed together last night. I had a blast! It was a really good time and I’m so glad we’re getting the opportunity to work with you all!


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