fragments of an attempted writing.

may day music

On April 29, 1934, the Workers Music League and Composers Collective organized the Second American Workers Music Olympiad, which featured the premiere performance of Copland’s setting of “Into the Streets May First”, performed by an 800-voice chorus, comprised of all of the revolutionary choruses at the event and in the New York City area. The event also boasted an internationalist array of choruses and ensembles and members of the Collective acting as judges in a performance contest.

- from here.

I can't find a Youtube that has a choral version of this song, but the text of Into the Streets May First is:
Into the streets May First!
Into the roaring Square!
Shake the midtown towers!
Shatter the downtown air!
Come with a storm of banners,
Come with an earthquake tread,
Bells, hurl out of your belfries,
Red flag, leap out your red!
Out of the shops and factories,
Up with the sickle and hammer,
Comrades, these are our tools,
A song and a banner!
Roll song, from the sea of our hearts,
Banner, leap and be free;
Song and banner together,
Down with the bourgeoisie!
Sweep the big city, march forward,
The day is a barricade;
We hurl the bright bomb of the sun,
The moon like a hand grenade.
Pour forth like a second flood!
Thunder the alps of the air!
Subways are roaring our milllons--
Comrades, into the square!


  1. Quite the culturally enriched piece from the Communist Third Period. A year later there was the turn to the Popular Front when the Moscow line aped the "progressive" bourgeoisie. Dreamy rhetoric though. The most interesting people in the CPUSA were the folk far away from the party headquarters working in the mines, mills and factories. Some of these people stuck through the zigs and zags of the Comintern. Their music was great as well.

  2. The bald Mexican01 May, 2011 18:17

    Death to Stalinism!

  3. This tow headed Canadian says death to Stalinism as well; There is a world of difference between defending working people against those who would fleece them and promoting hatred against another person.

  4. Fr. Deacon RS,

    I agree. The CP went control freak and drove artists and writers away. My favorite book on commie history in the U.S. is Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression. They included in their ranks black preachers, and often started their meetings with prayer. The CPers in NYC didn't know what to do with them. Had the commie/socialist sympathies of those in Alabama and Oklahoma and WVA taken the lead from coastal radicals the story could have been much different, with a much better outcome in my opinion.


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