Monday, March 14, 2016

Kirke Mechem's cantata SONGS of THE SLAVE presented by The Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra, The Orange Coast College Chamber Singers

John Malveaux of 

SONGS of THE SLAVE (cantata by Kirke Mechem) presented by The Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra, The Orange Coast College Chamber Singers, Marlissa Hudson, Soprano, Wayne Shepperd, Bass-Baritone, Eliza Rubenstein, Conductor, March 13, 2016, Grace First Presbyterian Church, Long Beach, Ca.
Traditional African-American Spirituals:
Over My Head I Hear Music in the Air
Ain't That Good News (arr. Moses Hogan)
All My Trials (arr. Norman Luboff)
Daniel, Servant of the Lord (arr. Undine Smith Moore)

Kirke Mechem: Songs of The Slave
1. Blow Ye the Trumpet
11. My Friends, You do Me Too Much Honor/The Songs of the Slave
111. Dear Husband
1V. Dan-u-el
V. A Speech by Frederick Douglas; Declaration

The work begins with new music to the text of John Brown's favorite hymn, "Blow Ye the Trumpet," a choral piece whose inspiring and solemn words prophesy both the day of jubilee and the martyr's death that Brown knew would hasten the destruction of slavery. The centerpiece of the suite is "Dan-u-el," a rousing piece in the rhythmic style of the black spiritual. Already published as an octavo, "Dan-u-el" has become one of the most acclaimed new American choral works, receiving worldwide performance. 

In the suite's second movement, Douglass sings of the sorrows of the slave. In the fifth, he describes American slavery to an English audience, using all his powers of ridicule, pathos and mimicry. This leads directly into a finale that brings the cantata to a great climax, Douglass and the chorus singing a portion of the Declaration of Independence: "All men are created equal." 

The concert was a sell out with large stand. I chatted with Eliza Rubenstein during the reception. Eliza is a close friend of Marlissa Hudson. I first met Marlissa after a prior performance with Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra. Please see attachments of program image and me with Wayne Shepperd and Marlissa Hudson 

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