Southern Lullaby, 1920. Harry Thacker Burleigh, 1866-1949. Music Division, Library of Congress. Call number: M1582.B
One of Burleigh's original compositions, Southern Lullaby, was published in 1920 by G. Ricordi & Co., New York, in editions for both solo voice and for unaccompanied mixed chorus with soprano and tenor solos. The text is by poet George V. Hobart (1867-1926), a Burleigh acquaintance from Nova Scotia. They both became charter members of the American Association of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), founded in 1914. Burleigh inscribed the SATB version of Southern Lullaby to the Burleigh Club of New Bedford, Massachusetts, conducted by Mrs. Addie R. Covell. Several choruses dedicated to the work of Harry Burleigh existed in the early twentieth century, with names such as "Burleigh Glee Club," "Harry Burleigh Chorale," and "Burleigh Choral Society."
The unaccompanied work opens with the chorus providing a homophonic, hummed accompaniment to the solo soprano melody, "De night am long an' de col' win' roar, Yo' Pappy he doan come hom no mo', sleep li'l' chile, go sleep." Burleigh uses seventh chords and a greater degree of chromaticism than that found in his spiritual settings, e.g., at "An' do he hear yo' Mammy moan?" A tenor solo opens the second verse accompanied by SSAA humming, "De stars am hid an' de sky am black. . . . Yo' Pappy am gone, an' he doan come back." Burleigh's demanding concert work ends pp on an eight-part divisi chord with the soprano soloist on a high A-flat.