Go Down Moses, arr.

Instrumentation: SATB & piano
  SATB & piano
  *arranger's  portion of proceeds go to NAACP Empowerment Programs
Duration: 3:00
Language: English
Story:  This new setting of the traditional spiritual Go Down, Moses uses ostinatos and pulsing rhythms to build a sense of musical urgency. Although ostensibly about Moses' leadership of the flight of the Israelites from Egypt, as with many spirituals, there is an intended double meaning: the text is also about the plight of 19th century enslaved persons in the American south. The association between the two stories runs even deeper - in the Bible, Egypt is almost always referred to as “down” or “below” other lands, and in the context of the United States “down” can be seen as synonymous with “down the (Mississippi) river” - it was common knowledge that the conditions of slavery worsened the farther “down the river” one went.


Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt's land,
Tell ol' Pharaoh: “Let my people go.”

When Israel was in Egypt's land,
oppressed so hard they could not stand,

As Israel stood by the other side,
At God's command it did divide,

When they had reached the other shore,
They let the song of triumph soar.

perusal score