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Three Desperadoes

for SSA choir and piano

Year:  2010   ·  Duration:  9m

Year:  2010
Duration:  9m

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: 2. John Harty: Page 1 - 3

See details ➔
Sample Score

Sample: 1. Spanish Johnny: Page 1 - 3

See details ➔
Sample Score

Sample: 3. Billy the Kid: Page 1 - 3

See details ➔


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When Jane Money brought her choir Boston City Singers to New Zealand, she left me with a copy of American Ballads and Folk Songs (edited by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax). This collection of songs was originally published in 1934, and collected together songs from various folk traditions from across the USA: railroad sings, songs about outlaws, Creole songs, spirituals, minstrel songs, reels, songs of childhood and so on.

In choosing three songs to arrange I decided to turn to three songs about desperadoes - those living on the fringes of the law. Each comes to an unfortunate end - two by hanging and the third shot by the law. Of the three, Billy the Kid (who purportedly killed twenty-one men) is the best known.

Dedication note

Written for Boston City Singers and conductor Jane Money

Contents note

Three songs:

  1. Spanish Johnny
  2. John Harty
  3. Billy the Kid

Text note

Traditional American folk songs