Leonard De Paur

Wednesday, September 10, 1952

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Leonard Etienne De Paur (November 18, 1914 – November 7, 1998) was an African-American composer, choral director, and arts administrator.

De Paur discusses his career as an infantry musician and plays musical selections (not included):

Explains the background behind the Story of Roger Young.

The first Army glee club. Introduces "The Song of the French Partisan" and "I've Got Six Pence."

After returning from Europe, visited with an executive at Columbia Records, then recorded a collection of religious music, "The Choral Concert: A Group of Songs of Faith."

Explanation of his interest in Latin American folk music. Introduces a song called "La llorona" (?) with a story about being in El Paso, Tex., on election night, 1932, where he heard the Mexican balladeers.

Introduces a song from Brazil, "Coco di Notte."

A song from Trinidad, "The Mourning Song," a sad calypso.

Introduces "The Ugly Woman."

Explanation of becoming the conductor of the Hall Johnson choir. Segues in to talking about his own choral group, which began before the war. Introduces "Honor, Honor Unto the Dying Lamb."

Discussion of African-American spirituals, particularly those about holidays. Introduces "Take My Mother Home," "Great God Almighty," "Water Boy," "Listen to the Lambs," and "Sweet Little Jesus Boy."

Preview of a new album so new he doesn't know the title or song order.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72679
Municipal archives id: LT3887

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Leonard De Paur


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About Speaking of Music

This popular interview, commentary, and discussion program features some of the greatest composers, performers, and critics of the music world.

The gifted musicians and critics from this program, many of them still revered today, offer their talents to the radio-listening public. Brief but probing introductions of musical performances (which are not included in the archival collection) enthrall the listener and span genres.  

The show, which was broadcast from 1952 to 1955, included guests such as composer Morton Gould, pianist and composer Walter Hendl, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, pianist Gyorgy Sandor, composer Elie Siegmeister, music commentator Walter Stegman, and violinist Isaac Stern.  

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