"Grief" also goes by the name "Weeping Angel With Pinions Trailing." The poem is repeated in the song.

Date: 1953Composer: William Grant StillText: LeRoy V. Brant

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    The story behind the art song goes:

    “Brant was accompanying Theodore Simmons, a music student, to a local cemetery, where he saw a commonly seen statue of an angel with his head down, enclosed in his arms, weeping. The statue inspired Brant who wrote the lyrics as a poem, which he sent to Still, who set it to music. The piece was premiered by Theodore Simmons (tenor), who sang it at a concert, accompanied by his wife Barbara on the piano, also a student of Brant. Still was in attendance.”

    From the unpublished letters of William Grant Still to Theodore Simmons (Public Domain)


    by LeRoy V. Brant

    Weeping angel with pinions trailing
    And head bowed low in your hands.
    Mourning angel with heart-strings wailing,
    For one who in death’s hall stands.

    Mourning angel silence your wailing,
    And raise your head from your hands.
    Weeping angel on your pinions trailing
    The white dove, promise, stands!

    Related Information

    Sheet Music

    Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers, Compiled by Willis C. Patterson

    Composer(s): H. Leslie Adams, David Baker, Margaret Bonds, Charles Brown, Cecil Cohen, Noel de Costa, Mark Fax, Adolphus C. Hailstork, Eugene Hancock, Thomas Kerr, Jr., Charles Lloyd, Jr., Wendell Logan, Maurice McCall, Dorothy Rudd Moore, Undine Smith Moore, Robert Owens, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Florence Price, Hale Smith, William Grant Still, Howard Swanson, George Walker, Olly Wilson, John Work, Jr.

    Song(s): For You There is No Song (H. Leslie Adams)
    Early in the Mornin' (David Baker)
    A Good Assassination Should Be Quiet (David Baker)
    Status Symbol (David Baker)
    Three Dream Portraits: Minstrel Man; Dream Variations; I, Too (Margaret Bonds)
    The Barrier (Charles Brown)
    Song Without Words (Charles Brown)
    Death of an Old Seaman (Cecil Cohen)
    Two Songs for Julie Ju (Noel da Costa)
    Cassandra's Lullaby (Mark Fax)
    Love (Mark Fax)
    A Charm at Parting (Adolphus C. Hailstork)
    I Loved You (Adolphus C. Hailstork)
    Absalom (Eugene Hancock)
    Nunc Dimittis (Eugene Hancock)
    Riding to Town (Thomas Kerr, Jr.)
    Compensation (Charles Lloyd, Jr.)
    If There Be Sorrow (Wendell Logan)
    Marrow of My Bone (Wendell Logan)
    Chanson Triste (Maurice McCall)
    Sweet Sorrow (Maurice McCall)
    Weary Blues (Dorothy Rudd Moore)
    Love Let the Wind Cry...How I Adore Thee (Undine Moore)
    Faithful One (Robert Owens)
    Genius Child (Robert Owens)
    A Child's Grace (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
    Melancholy (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
    Night (Florence Price)
    Song to the Dark Virgin (Florence Price)
    Velvet Shoes (Hale Smith)
    Grief (William Grant Still)
    A Death Song (Howard Swanson)
    I Will Lie Down in Autumn (Howard Swanson)
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers (Howard Swanson)
    Lament (George Walker)
    A Red, Red Rose (George Walker)
    Wry Fragments (Olly Wilson)
    Dancing in the Sun (John Work, Jr.)
    Soliloquy (John Work, Jr.)

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    Composer(s): William Grant Still

    Voice Type: High

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