equestrian history · morgan history · Uncategorized

Justin Morgan’s Amanda

I’m tired and grumpy and generally fed up with the world right now, so I am not up to an actual blog post, but here: have a hymn composed by Justin Morgan (yes, the one who had a horse) and named after me.

Not really, probably a random name he picked out of a hat more or less, but definitely a lament/love song written for his wife. (Who was not named Amanda.)

In his lifetime, Morgan was far more famous as a singing master and composer than as a stallion owner. In certain circles, he still is. The tune is still popular in shapenote circles.

If you’ve never heard shapenote singing before, it’s kind of a trip and worth watching the second video. It also has the actual hymn words in caption, though they’re super depressing. (“Death, like an overflowing stream/Sweeps us away, our life’s a dream, etc.”)

I like the Canning/orchestral treatment of the melody better, though.

I’d known about the melody for quite a while, but a few weeks ago came in to work to find a copy of the sheet music on my desk, so now it decorates my tiny little half-cubicle and makes me smile at least a little bit when I see it.

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