Grief Monument, Augustus St. Gaudens [Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.] National Photo Company Collection , Prints and Photographs Division.
by William Grant Still (1895-1978)
William Grant Still's setting of LeRoy V. Brant's text was composed in Los Angeles in 1953. According to Judith Anne Still, her father preferred his original title for the song "Weeping Angel." The song was not commercially published until 1955 by the Oliver Ditson Music Company. However, a copy of the manuscript was sent for copyright registration, processed on June 15, 1953, and subsequently placed in the Music collection of the Library of Congress. The first public performance of the song took place on May 23, 1954 at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, California. The performers were Theodore Simmons, tenor and Barbara Simmons, piano. Some current published versions of the song contain a discrepancy with the original published sheet music, as well as with the manuscript, in which the final note of the vocal line does not match the penultimate note, creating a dissonance with the final harmony not intended by the composer.