Taken from the album The American Myth by Alti & Bassi, this When the Saints Go Marchin' In is an a cappella elaboration full of variety and surprises. Again, the vocal quintet or choir wishing to undertake the study will certainly face quite a challenge, but not without reaping the necessary rewards in performance!
"When the Saints go marchin in" is a traditional American religious hymn that, although conceived within the tradition of the spiritual to accompany the
funeral marches in Louisiana, has subsequently undergone numerous elaborations in gospel, jazz and swing. While respecting the original text, an elaboration of an exquisitely Italian character is proposed here, i.e. a choral arrangement with the typical hallmarks of the madrigal lesson and classical polyphony: as it happens, everything has
beginning with the bass voice, with the upper parts harmonising. Subtle and skilful are the compositional choices made. In fact, the beginning of the bass part has an immediate consequence on the entire sound architecture: the piece presents a continuous ascent of tonality, per tonos, as the greatest 'arranger' of religious hymns of all would have expressed it
era, Bach. Here, then, is a happy slip by our author, a cultured polyphonist, who does not, however, renounce the sonorous joy of the original sound, and who willingly indulges in the irresistible power of rhythm, with a studied crescendo that leads to the exaltation of the sound texture by means of the ever-present riffs and scat.
Alti & Bassi, Antonio Eros Negri