A Playlist to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy

A Playlist to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy

Photograph by Unseen Histories on Unsplash From the very starting of his life, music was a central, unifying drive for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Whereas his father was the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, his mom was the church’s choir director. She would maintain weekly choir rehearsals on the household dwelling


Photograph by Unseen Histories on Unsplash

From the very starting of his life, music was a central, unifying drive for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Whereas his father was the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, his mom was the church’s choir director. She would maintain weekly choir rehearsals on the household dwelling on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. As a younger boy, King took piano classes (the piano he practiced on nonetheless sits within the entrance parlor) and he would ultimately be part of the choir his mother performed at Ebenezer Baptist. When he went off to high school, King saved singing. He was a member of the distinguished Glee Membership at Morehouse School and he married a soprano and music schooling graduate from New England Conservatory, Corretta Scott.

Dr. King’s writings and speeches are crammed with references to music. His inspiring dream for America, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., concludes with the exhortation to “remodel the jangling discords of our nation into a lovely symphony of brotherhood.”

Beneath is a few music for this vacation. A few of which honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. straight and a few of which speaks to the causes he vigorously championed and finally gave his life for.

Duke Ellington’s last composition was a ballet rating commissioned by the Dance Theatre of Harlem for jazz band and symphony orchestra known as Three Black Kings. The gospel-inflected last motion is a tribute to Dr. King.

24 years earlier than Dr. King’s celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech, contralto Marian Anderson stood on those self same steps of the Lincoln Memorial and sang for an viewers of 75,000 after having been denied a efficiency on the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Structure Corridor as a result of she was Black.

William Levi Dawson’s Negro Folks Symphony is an inspiring symphony from 1934 and one which deserves to have extra than simply three whole recordings.

Sanctum is Courtney Bryan’s response to occasions of police brutality which birthed the Black Lives Matter motion. The piece incorporates components of recorded sound together with the voices of protestors in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 following the capturing of Michael Brown.

Commissioned by the Sphinx Group as a tribute for the 2 hundredth anniversary of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” Jessie Montgomery’s Banner goals to reply the query: “What does an anthem for the twenty first century sound like in as we speak’s multi-cultural atmosphere?”

Whereas as we speak is a day to have a good time the life and work of Dr. King, this elegy by Adolphus Hailstork is a haunting tribute to a life tragically minimize brief due to racism and hate.

Also known as the “Dean of Black Girls Composers,” Undine Smith Moore’s oratorio Scenes from the Lifetime of a Martyr was written within the years following Dr. King’s assassination. This excerpt, from a current Detroit Symphony Orchestra live performance, captures the visceral shock on the information of his demise earlier than finally putting a hopeful tone.

Los Angeles composer Derrick Spiva’s current work American Mirror often is the most vivid realization of Dr. King’s dream of a “symphony of brotherhood.” Drawing on musical influences from numerous immigrant cultures, Spiva weaves collectively a piece that celebrates the variety of this nation.


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Brian Lauritzen

Brian Lauritzen is the weekday afternoon drive host on Classical KUSC and host of the nationally-syndicated radio broadcasts of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

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