Jess Langston Turner

I Know Moonrise


Spiritual for wind ensemble

View Score
Band/Wind Ensemble
Solo with Ensemble
Grade 4
Published in 2019 5:00


“I Know Moonrise” began its life as a work for chior with alto soloist adapted from this anonymous spiritual text from the mid-1800s:

I know moonrise, I know starrise,
Lay dis body down.
I walk in de moonlight, I walk in de starlight,
To lay dis body down.

I walk in de graveyard, I walk through de graveyard,
To lay dis body down.
I’ll lie in de grave and stretch out my arms,
To lay dis body down.

I go to de judgement in de evenin’ of de day,
When I lay dis body down;
And my soul and your soul will meed in de day
When I lay dis body down.

The piece starts slowly and falteringly, (marked “Haltingly, mournful”) with a solo french horn taking the place of the alto voice in a
poignantly blues-inflected melody. The music darkens as it passes out of moonlight into the graveyard and down into the grave.
But on the other side of the grave waits joy, reconciliation, light, and rest. “I Know Moonrise” was commissioned for the retirement of my
father, Dr. Daniel Turner, after more than 40 years of service as Director of Bands, and Head of the Department of Music Education at
Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC. The commissioning parties are as follows: Bob Jones Academy, Mr. Eric Woods, Bob Jones University
Division of Music, Bob Jones University Symphonic Wind Band, Dr. Bruce Cox, California Baptist University, Dr. Guy Holliday, Charleston
Southern University, Dr. Marshall Forrester and Dr. Nicholas Holland, Clemson University, Dr. Mark Spede and Mr. Tim Hurlburt, Fort Mill
High School, Mr. John Pruitt and Mr. Ren Patel, Furman University, Dr. Leslie W. Hicken and Prof. Jay Bocook, Hutchinson Community
College, Mr. Chris Miertschin, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Timothy A. Paul, Musical Innovations, Syracuse University, Dr. Bradley
Ethington and Dr. Timothy W. Diem, University of Central Missouri, Dr. Anthony Pursell, University of Illinois at Chicago, Prof. Nicholas J.
Carlson, University of South Carolina, Dr. Cormac Cannon, Winthrop University, Dr. Lorrie Crochet and Dr. Doug Presley