Lara Downes | Photograph by Max Barrett As we commemorate the Juneteenth vacation, we’re celebrating freedom. We’re remembering the freedoms of the previous – lengthy fought for, exhausting gained – and reminding ourselves of the significance for each human being to be free. And we have fun the liberty present in music – the facility
Lara Downes | Photograph by Max Barrett
As we commemorate the Juneteenth vacation, we’re celebrating freedom. We’re remembering the freedoms of the previous – lengthy fought for, exhausting gained – and reminding ourselves of the significance for each human being to be free. And we have fun the liberty present in music – the facility of music to liberate our voices and our feelings, to share our tales, and to alter our world.
Tune in for Let Freedom Ring: A Musical Celebration of Juneteenth with Lara Downes, a singular journey by means of musical heritage and the celebration of freedom. Within the meantime, get pleasure from a collection of items featured on this system beneath.
Jessie Montgomery: Starburst
Jessie Montgomery is a capturing star within the musical galaxy, and her Starburst for string orchestra is impressed by this definition of a starburst: “The speedy formation of enormous numbers of recent stars in a galaxy at a fee excessive sufficient to change the construction of the galaxy considerably.”
Lettie B. Alston: Variations on Raise Each Voice and Sing
“Sing a music filled with the religion that the darkish previous has taught us,
Sing a music filled with the hope that the current has introduced us;
Going through the rising solar of our new day begun,
Allow us to march on ’til victory is gained.”
Each new day begins in darkness. Because the solar rises, the primary mild reveals a special world than the one we put to mattress the evening earlier than. Every little thing has shifted – the earth has turned, the tide has come and gone, even the cells of our our bodies have renewed themselves. Each lifetime is stuffed with so many new mornings, so many new beginnings. As we emerge from the darkness of pandemic and unrest to face a brand new day, this anthem of religion and freedom sounds as a name for motion and a promise to the following technology.
John Newton/E. O. Excell/Nameless: Superb Grace
The late, nice soprano Jessye Norman is an icon and an inspiration whose musicianship and generosity touched numerous hearts. Once we misplaced her in 2019, we misplaced a guiding mild. Right here performance-for-the-ages of Superb Grace speaks to me so profoundly of lineage and legacy, the songs and tales we move alongside from one technology to the following.
Florence Value: Mississippi River Suite
Florence Value was a power of nature. Fiercely gifted, formidable, prolific – she was forward of her time in so some ways. Born and raised in Arkansas, she left the South throughout a time of intense racial violence, and took her household north to Chicago. She claimed a spot within the historical past books when the Chicago Symphony performed her Symphony in E minor in 1934 – the primary Black feminine composer ever carried out by a significant American symphony orchestra. Her Mississippi River Suite takes us downriver alongside the banks of the Mississippi, accompanied by haunting melodies, the songs of the birds within the brush and the wind within the bushes, and the echoes of previous spirituals: “Stand Nonetheless, Jordan,” “Go Down, Moses,” and “Deep River” – rolling collectively right into a climactic refrain of “No person Is aware of the Hassle I’ve Seen”, earlier than the music fades into the space. You possibly can study extra about Florence Value on our Open Ears weblog collection here.
Justin Holland: Peek-a-Boo Waltz
Justin Holland (1819 – 1887) was a composer, classical guitarist, educator, neighborhood chief, and activist for equal rights who labored with Frederick Douglass to assist slaves on the Underground Railroad. His music is stuffed with attraction, grace, and European gentility, an ironic distinction to the realities of his life and occasions.
Scott Joplin: Treemonisha: Overture
Scott Joplin, referred to as the “King of Ragtime”, was the composer of the primary African American opera. He wrote Treemonisha in 1911, however its solely efficiency throughout his lifetime was a live performance read-through in 1915 with Joplin on the piano, on the Lincoln Theater in Harlem, New York, produced and paid for by the composer. In 1976 — virtually 60 years after Scott Joplin died — the opera was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Joplin blazed the path for different notable greats like George Gershwin, together with his music leaving an indelible mark on the world. His music has a particular place in my coronary heart – my recording of his piano rag ”Solace” is the theme for Amplify with Lara Downes.
Michael Abels: Winged Creatures
Michael Abels (composer of the soundtracks to the Jordan Peele movies Get Out and Us) wrote Winged Creatures impressed by the flight of butterflies and different creatures – delicate, frenetic, hovering, and highly effective. Brothers Anthony and Demarre McGill deliver next-level virtuosity to this music, together with a way of sibling camaraderie.
Lara Downes is KUSC’s Resident Artist and is at present KUSC’s Night Host weeknights 8PM-Midnight.