Race has long played a crucial role in the development of composers and their public identities. The American poet Langston Hughes said this about black music: "Black Music is the tom-tom of revolt against the weariness of an oppressive society... it's the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and of pain swallowed in a smile." This week on All Ears, Terrance McKnight features works that embody the soulful sounds, rhythms and beauty often associated with black music.
On June 7, 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared June Black Music Month, and honored the month with musical performances at the White House. The month-long celebration would later be acknowledged by presidents such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In celebration of this month, the show opens with the Klazz Brother's performing the slow movement of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata. By fusing elements of jazz and classical, the group highlights the ballad-like qualities inherent within the work. Percussionists Brian Resnick and Matthew Gold team up with the Ahn Trio in Kenji Bunch's Concerto for Piano Trio and Percussion. Bunch mixes and mingles with various musical styles, and even employs a drum set for a bit of panache.
Igor Stravinsky also explored elements of black music, composing his Ebony Concerto for Woody Herman and his big band, First Herd. We hear the Netherlands Wind Ensemble performing this work. The soulful artist Meredith Monk sings, sighs and wails in her original composition, New York Requiem. Bringing the program to a close, Philip Glass' String Quartet No. 2 gracefully dances between meters, weaving from one idea to the next .
Also on this program: music by Samuel Barber, Charles Ives, Jason Treuting, and much more.
Playlist (In alphabetical order by composer):
Johann Sebastian Bach
Prelude No. 1 in C
Jacques Loussier, piano; Vincent Charbonnier, double bass; Andre Arpino, drums
Canzone, Op. 38
Gil Shaham, violin; Andre Previn, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13, "Pathetique": 2nd movement
Concerto for Piano Trio and Percussion
The Ahn Trio
Matthew Gold, percussion; Brian Resnick, drum set
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 34
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
David Lloyd-Jones, conductor
Peter Donohoe, piano
Angele Dubeau, violin
String Quartet No. 2, "Company"
The Unanswered Question
New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
New York Requiem
Meredith Monk, vocals; Harry Huff, piano
Piano Trio Elegiaque No. 1 in G Minor
Prelude and Fugue No. 16 in B-flat Minor
Keith Jarrett, piano
Netherlands Wind Ensemble
Edo de Waart, conductor
George Pieterson, clarinet