Joseph Brackett

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Joseph Brackett
Joseph Brackett.jpg
Background information
Birth name Elisha Brackett
Born May 6, 1797
Cumberland, Maine
Died July 4, 1882
New Gloucester, Maine

Joseph Brackett Jr. (May 6, 1797 – July 4, 1882) was an American songwriter, author, and elder of The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, better known as the Shakers. Brackett's most famous song, "Simple Gifts", is still widely performed and adapted.

Biography

Brackett was born in Cumberland, Maine, on May 6, 1797, as Elisha Brackett.[1][2] When he was 10, his first name was changed to Joseph, like his father's, as the Bracketts joined the short-lived Shaker community in Gorham, Maine.[2][3] This new Shaker community was centered on the Bracketts' property, until the whole group moved to Poland Hill, Maine, in 1819.[2] Brackett's father died there on July 27, 1838, but Brackett continued to rise in the Shaker community, eventually becoming the head of the society in Maine.[3]

Brackett died in the Shaker community of Sabbathday Lake at New Gloucester, Maine, on July 4, 1882.[1]

Legacy

Brackett is known today primarily as the author of the Shaker dancing song "Simple Gifts", which has become an internationally loved tune, both through his original version and many of its adaptations. The song, written in 1848, was largely unknown outside of Shaker communities until Aaron Copland used the melody in his 1944 composition Appalachian Spring.

Brackett's tune is also known widely through the lyrics "Lord of the Dance", written by Sydney Carter in 1963.

The "Tune Lovers Society", an online organization designed to preserve and protect American tunes from the past, sponsors a birthday commemoration for Brackett on May 6.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b Hall, Roger L. (2006). The Story of SIMPLE GIFTS. PineTree Press. 
  2. ^ a b c Hall, Roger. "Joseph Brackett's "Simple Gifts"". Society for American Music Bulletin. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Glover, Raymond F. (1994). The Hymnal 1982 Companion, Volume 2. New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation. pp. 347–348. 
  4. ^ "Joseph Brackett Day". American Music Preservation.com. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 

External links

  • Joseph Brackett and Simple Gifts
  • Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
  • Free scores by Joseph Brackett at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
  • Joseph Brackett Remembrance
  • Works by Joseph Brackett at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)


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