Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This episode of All Ears previously aired on January 16, 2010

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up listening to and singing church songs, and saw gospel and folk music as natural tools to further the civil rights movement.

This week we’re listening to A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey in the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., which charts Dr. Martin Luther King’s musical biography. From the church songs that resonated with him to the classical music with which he wooed his wife, Terrance illustrates how Dr. King brilliantly harnessed the power of music to affect personal as well as universal change. We'll hear Marian Anderson and Pete Seeger, as well as Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson, all threads in the civil rights movement that helped Dr. King's cause.

We'll also hear examples of how the musical community responded to Dr. King's call to action--and continue his legacy today--with works by Leonardo Balada and Nicolas Flagello.


Precious Lord Take My Hand
Stan Whitmire, piano
Green Hill Productions

Soon, One Mornin'
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways 40194

Gone With the Wind: Tara's Theme
Max Steiner
Charles Gerhardt, conductor
National Philharmonic Orchestra
RCA Victor
Ave Maria
Franz Schubert
Marian Anderson, voice
WNYC Archive

My Country 'tis of Thee
Marian Anderson, voice
WNYC Archive

Brothers, Sing On
Edvard Grieg
Morehouse College Glee Club
MCGC 1990

Lonesome Trail Blues
Bumble Bee Slim
Document Records

Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)
Billie Holiday, vocals
Eddie Heywood and His Orchestra
Sony 85979

One O'Clock Jump
Count Basie and His Orchestra

Der Nussbaum No. 3, Op. 25
Robert Schumann
Marian Anderson, voice
Franz Rupp, piano
Nimbus 7895

Louise: Depuis le jour

Gustave Charpentier
Dorothy Maynor, soprano
Arpad Sando, piano
Bride Records 9233

Plaisir D'Amour
Johann Paul A. Martini
Paul Robeson, bass
Angel/EMI 15586

Symphony No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 21
George Chadwick
Neeme Jarvi, conductor
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Chandos 9334

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 83
Johannes Brahms
Arthur Rubenstein, piano
Charles Munch, conductor
Boston Symphony Orchesta
RCA 63022

Lucia di Lammermoor: Regnava del silencio
Gaetano Donizetti
Beverly Sills, soprano
Thomas Schippers, conductor
London Symphony Orchestra
Deutsche Grammaphon 471250

The Alabama bus
Brother Will Hairston
Brother Will Hairston, vocals
Various Artists
Pony Canyon

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round
The Freedom Singers
Smithsonian Folkways 5488

We Shall not be Moved
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways 5594

Elijah Rock
arr. by J. Hairston
Mahalia jackson, voice
Columbia 47083

Black, Brown, Beige: Black
Duke Ellington
The Carnegie Hall Concerts, January 1943
Fantasy Records

King Fit de battle of Alabama

Duke Ellington
Irving Bunton Singers

Guys and Dolls: The Oldest Established (Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York)
Frank Loesser
The Rat Pack Live at the Sands
Capitol records

Otis Redding
Otis Redding,voice
Rhino Atlantic

We Shall Overcome
Pete Seeger
Smithsonian Folkways 40096

We Shall Overcome

Pete Seeger
The Freedom Singers
Dorothy Cotton, vocals
Pete Seeger, vocals
Smithsonian Folkways 40062

Only a pawn in their Game
Bob Dylan
Columbia Records

Oh freedom
Grammercy Records

John Coltrane
John Coltrane, saxophone
Verve Records

Freedom Now Suite: Freedom Day
Max Roach
Max Roach, drums
Abbey Lincoln, vocals
Coleman Hawkins, saxophone
Candid Records

Fables of Faubus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus, bass
John Handy, Booker Ervin, Shafi Hadi, saxophones
Willie Dennis, Jimmy Knepper, trombones
Horace Parlan, piano
Dannie Richmond, drums
Columbia Reocrds

Change is Gonna Come
Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke,voice
ABKCO Records

People Get Ready
Curtis Mayfield
Curits mayfield and the Impressions
Geffen Records

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Robert Parris Moses, vocals
Smithsonian Folkways

There is a Balm in Gilead
The Florida A&M University Concert Choir
Smithsonian Folkways

Precious Lord Take My Hand

Stan Whitmire, piano
Green Hill Productions

Precious Lord Take My Hand
Mahalia Jackson, voice

Precious Lord Take My Hand
Stan Whitmire, piano
Green Hill Productions

The Passion of Martin Luther King
Nicolas Flagello
Raymond Bazemore, bass
Portland Symphonic Choir
James DePreist, conductor
Oregon Symphony
KOCH International 7293

Symphony No. 1 (Homage to M.Luther King)
Leonardo Balada
Enrique Garcia Asensio, conductor
Spanish Radio/TV Symph. Orch.
Albany 474

Comments [13]

Kizzie from New York, NY

Simply beautiful. An exceptional tribute to an extraordinary human being. And told with such sincerity and grace!

Feb. 06 2011 11:09 AM
Janet Barton from Oyster Bay, NY

Outstanding feat of imaginative teaching/programing. Am forwarding this to colleagues and graduate school music students with whom I work as a mentor; this is a wonderful example of seizing opportunity to develop interdisciplinary study projects that are at once fascinating, relevant and electrically engaging. Can't think of a more mind-opening proof of music's multifaceted power. Thanks for a great afternoon of listening

Jan. 18 2011 09:30 PM
Patrick Loughran from Mount Holly, NJ

Somehow, I felt a connection with this amazing program. You seemed to bring this precious human being back to life by showing the human side. I could visualize Dr King dancing the jitterbug. I enjoyed the program. It was a gift. Thank you.

Jan. 18 2011 06:16 AM
Naomi from Scarsdale, NY

If memory serves, Marian Anderson always avoided using the first person singular, referring to herself as "we"--not just when singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee," but always. Check it out with her nephew, the conductor. He should know.

Jan. 17 2011 03:24 PM
Frank J. Miele from New York NY

The program is powerful, poignant, beautiful.

Thanks you so very much.

I spent the early years of my childhood in Newark. In an integrated neighborhood. Everyone on the block was colored. And then there was us. The white house. I lived in a three-family house with my parents, grandparents, and an aunt and uncle.

I was the only white kid on the block. The only white kid in my class at the Newton Street School.

On occasion I went to a nearby movie theater with my friends for a Saturday matinee. We were not allowed to sit in the front rows. We were colored. And at the soda shop afterward we were not permitted to sit at the counter. We were colored.

When my family subsequently moved to the suburbs--a community predominantly white--I discovered that I could sit anywhere I wanted in the movie theater and that I could sit at any lunch counter as well.

I knew then that I had come face to face with racial discrimination as a child.

So, inspired by memories of my friends, I became very active in the civil rights movement as a young lawyer, and volunteered for the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee (LCDC). I even walked the streets of my old neighborhood in Newark during the 1967 riots.

Your program brought back the memories. The cause. The commitment. The sadness. The joy.

Thanks for the memories.

frank j. miele

Jan. 17 2011 01:57 PM
Patti Hagan from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Thank you for your very moving Martin Luther King "Musical Journey" -- many of us accompanied Dr. King on that journey through the '60s & again, yesterday. When you announced Max Roach's "Freedom Now Suite: Freedom Day" I expected you would, of course, announce the suite's extraordinary Freedom Singer, Abbey Lincoln. I also hoped/expected to hear Dr. Billy Taylor's Civil Rights anthem, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free." Apparently, Dr. King couldn't remember the long title, so he'd just turn to Dr. Taylor [at Birmingham] and say: "Play that Baptist-sounding song!" (Recalled by Kim Taylor-Thompson remembering her father at his Riverside Church memorial celebration last Monday. (The MLK request of Billy Taylor to "Play That Song!" was also mentioned by Kevin Struthers, Kennedy Center director of Jazz Programming.) Maybe new mentions for MLK Musical Journey 2012? Thank you, Patti Hagan

Jan. 16 2011 04:16 PM
Robert Poda

Terrance, this was a very moving program. There were many moments when I was moved to tears. It also gave me some insights on MLK's life that I never heard before or perhaps forgot. Just wonderful! The music highlights were also wonderful. I am now listening to the Flagello piece and find it also moving. I have heard other pieces of music of his and think he is one of many composers who I would call underrated.
Thanks for the wonderful program.

Jan. 16 2011 03:45 PM

So delighted to read these comments. thank you.

Jan. 16 2011 11:24 AM

Again, a wonderful show. It left me wanting to know more about Coretta Scott King. I did not know she was so accomplished as a singer and had achieved as much as she did before she met MLK. It seems, although details were absent in last nigh't show, that she gave up her promising career when she met her future husband.
What about a show about the (hidden) women of the civil rights movement? There was another woman, prior to Rosa Parks, who also refused to move her bus seat. I think she died recently and my understanding is she had a troubled background so was not an immediate choice for media attention a bus boycott would bring. Not to take away from MLK, but I think the story of all these women could be told. (also - Shirley Chisholm!).
Thank you for the show last night and all these programmes. Wonderful!

Jan. 16 2011 09:28 AM
Lisa L from Manhattan

An incredibly moving show. My eyes are wet, but my soul is singing. Thank you.

Jan. 15 2011 11:08 PM
J Cynthia Weber

Powerful, Moving. Thank you.

Jan. 15 2011 10:58 PM
Rita Stewart from Rye, New York

Thank you, thank you, thank you Terence for this wonderful program--I'm old enough to have lived through those times and to attend many local protest groups--particularly against the Vietnam War--you reminded me again about the struggle, which is still not over!

Jan. 15 2011 10:41 PM
judith cooper from nyc

This program is wonderful, but it's making me miss your nightly show on WNYC so much. You are just not on the air enough, Terrance.

Jan. 15 2011 10:20 PM

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