August 8, 2022

7 Pieces to Commemorate Juneteenth

Lara Downes|Photo by Max Barrett

7 Pieces To Commemorate Juneteenth

Tune in this Saturday, June 19, 2-5PM for Let Freedom Ring: A Musical Celebration of Juneteenth with Lara Downes, an unique journey through musical heritage and the event of freedom. In the meantime, delight in a choice of pieces featured on the program listed below.

7 Pieces To Commemorate Juneteenth

As we commemorate the Juneteenth holiday, were commemorating freedom. Were keeping in mind the liberties of the past– long combated for, hard won– and reminding ourselves of the significance for every human being to be totally free. And we commemorate the freedom discovered in music– the power of music to free our voices and our emotions, to share our stories, and to alter our world.

7 Pieces To Commemorate Juneteenth

Jessie Montgomery: Starburst

7 Pieces To Commemorate Juneteenth

Jessie Montgomery is a shooting star in the musical galaxy, and her Starburst for string orchestra is influenced by this meaning of a starburst: “The quick development of large numbers of brand-new stars in a galaxy at a rate high sufficient to change the structure of the galaxy substantially.”

7 Pieces To Commemorate Juneteenth

Every brand-new day starts in darkness. As the sun rises, the very first light exposes a various world than the one we closed the night before. Everything has shifted– the earth has actually turned, the tide has actually reoccured, even the cells of our bodies have actually renewed themselves. Every lifetime has plenty of so lots of brand-new mornings, many brand-new starts. As we emerge from the darkness of pandemic and discontent to face a brand-new day, this anthem of faith and freedom sounds as a require action and a guarantee to the next generation.

7 Pieces To Commemorate Juneteenth

The late, fantastic soprano Jessye Norman is an icon and an inspiration whose musicianship and kindness touched many hearts. When we lost her in 2019, we lost a guiding light. Here performance-for-the-ages of Amazing Grace speaks with me so exceptionally of family tree and legacy, the tunes and stories we pass along from one generation to the next.

7 Pieces To Commemorate Juneteenth

John Newton/E. O. Excell/Anonymous: Amazing Grace

” Sing a song filled with the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song loaded with the hope that the present has actually brought us; Facing the increasing sun of our brand-new day begun, Let us progress til victory is won.”

Lettie B. Alston: Variations on Lift Every Voice and Sing

Florence Price: Mississippi River Suite

Florence Price was a force of nature. Fiercely talented, enthusiastic, prolific– she was ahead of her time in so many ways. Born and raised in Arkansas, she left the South during a time of extreme racial violence, and took her family north to Chicago. She declared a place in the history books when the Chicago Symphony played her Symphony in E minor in 1934– the very first Black female composer ever performed by a major American symphony orchestra. Her Mississippi River Suite takes us downriver along the banks of the Mississippi, accompanied by haunting tunes, the tunes of the birds in the brush and the wind in the trees, and the echoes of old spirituals: “Stand Still, Jordan,” “Go Down, Moses,” and “Deep River”– rolling together into a climactic chorus of “Nobody Knows the Trouble Ive Seen”, before the music fades into the distance. You can find out more about Florence Price on our Open Ears blog series here.

Justin Holland: Peek-a-Boo Waltz

Justin Holland (1819– 1887) was an author, classical guitarist, teacher, community leader, and activist for equal rights who dealt with Frederick Douglass to assist servants on the Underground Railroad. His music is full of appeal, grace, and European gentility, an ironic contrast to the truths of his life and times.

Scott Joplin: Treemonisha: Overture

He composed Treemonisha in 1911, however its only efficiency throughout his life time was a show read-through in 1915 with Joplin at the piano, at the Lincoln Theater in Harlem, New York, paid and produced for by the author. His music has a special location in my heart– my recording of his piano rag “Solace” is the theme for Amplify with Lara Downes.

Michael Abels: Winged Creatures

And we commemorate the flexibility found in music– the power of music to liberate our voices and our feelings, to share our stories, and to alter our world.

Michael Abels (composer of the soundtracks to the Jordan Peele movies Get Out and Us) composed Winged Creatures influenced by the flight of butterflies and other animals– fragile, frenetic, soaring, and powerful. Brothers Anthony and Demarre McGill bring next-level virtuosity to this music, together with a sense of sibling friendship.

Be sure to tune in this Saturday, June 19, 2-5PM for more on Let Freedom Ring: A Musical Celebration of Juneteenth with Lara Downes.

Every life time is complete of so numerous brand-new early mornings, so numerous brand-new starts. As we emerge from the darkness of pandemic and unrest to deal with a new day, this anthem of faith and flexibility sounds as a call for action and a promise to the next generation.

Her Mississippi River Suite takes us downriver along the banks of the Mississippi, accompanied by haunting melodies, the songs of the birds in the brush and the wind in the trees, and the echoes of old spirituals: “Stand Still, Jordan,” “Go Down, Moses,” and “Deep River”– rolling together into a climactic chorus of “Nobody Knows the Trouble Ive Seen”, prior to the music fades into the distance. His music has a special place in my heart– my recording of his piano rag “Solace” is the style for Amplify with Lara Downes.