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American Spiritual ‘Deep River’ Gets New Life

The spiritual “Deep River” can attribute its success to Harry Burleigh, the son of a former slave who, from the late 19th to mid-20th century, made his living as a composer and professional baritone singer. The onetime assistant to the great Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, Burleigh produced a concert arrangement of “Deep River” that would have a significant impact on the presentation of it and other spirituals on the concert stage.