Color in Music

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

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

Samuel Barber
Canzone,  Op. 38
American Scenes
Gil Shaham, violin; Andre Previn, piano
Deutsche Grammophon

Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13, "Pathetique": 2nd movement
Klazz Brothers
Cuba Percussion

Kenji Bunch
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
John Gardner
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
David Lloyd-Jones, conductor
Peter Donohoe, piano

Philip Glass
La Pieta
Angele Dubeau, violin

Philip Glass
String Quartet No. 2, "Company"
Kronos Quartet

Charles Ives
The Unanswered Question
New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein, conductor

Meredith Monk
New York Requiem
Meredith Monk, vocals; Harry Huff, piano

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Piano Trio Elegiaque No. 1 in G Minor
Kempf Trio

Dmitri Shostakovich
Prelude and Fugue No. 16 in B-flat Minor
Keith Jarrett, piano

Ebony Concerto
Igor Stravinsky
Netherlands Wind Ensemble
Edo de Waart, conductor
George Pieterson, clarinet

Jason Treuting
So Percussion

Comments [5]

WQXR doesn't publish playlists prior to broadcasts, it's an FCC regulation. However, for All Ears, we're able to post the playlists out of sequence. Thank you all for being here, I'm so glad you're listening

Jun. 13 2011 09:29 AM
Rafael Gonzalez

I do agree with the recent coments that it shouldn't be so difficult to identify a particular selection. Howerver, with little difficulty I was able to track the Keith Jarrett piece by Shostakovich as well as the Meredith Monk selection, both which I loved.
Thanks Terrance!

Jun. 11 2011 11:38 PM
linda from NYC

I love the music that is being played at this very moment----10:45 PM, July 11. I am familiar with it but cannot remember composer or piece by
name. What is very frustrating is that I cannot locate the information on your website. You show "Playing Now" but do not give the piece only the moderator. I am trying to figure it out by your playlist and p[erhaps will catch it when you announce it at the end but it should be more evident.
Thank you.

Jun. 11 2011 10:53 PM
Frederick Willman from Madison, WI.

Terrance, as usual you play gorgeous stuff.

And as usual, I don't know what you're playing.

The composers are listed alphabetically, not as they are played.

I tell you, QXR must stop being lazy and integrate the evening selections in the "On the air now" format.


Fred Willman
Madison, WI.

Jun. 11 2011 10:16 PM
Richard Greene from Philadelphia area

Listeners should also be aware there are almost 200 black classical composers on CD. Along with their many, many hundreds of unrecorded brethren, these men and women span centuries, continents, and music traditions. The eldest living black composer is George Walker - still going strong.

Jun. 11 2011 01:41 AM

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