Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Patrick D. McCoy, Examiner.com: 'A Mighty Stream: Music in tribute to MLK flows from NSO in DC at THEARC'

[Conductor Nolan Williams, Jr. congratulate the musicians for a job well done. Credits: Patrick D. McCoy]


January 9, 2012
“Towards the end of the magnificent tribute concert in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the evening’s conductor Nolan williams, Jr. exclaimed from the stage, 'This is your National Symphony Orchestra.' The audience erupted in rousing applause and shouts of admiration for the orchestra filled the packed performance space at THEARC in Southeast D.C. Perhaps for the first time, there were listeners who realized that the music of a symphony orchestra is not only for the advantaged, but to all that seeks its beauty. Under the direction of Nolan Williams, the program’s theme: A Mighty Stream eloquently embodied the diversity and equality that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought long and hard for. Williams expressed his gratitude for the opportunity.”

“Who would have thought we would see the day that a symphony orchestra, let alone, the National Symphony Orchestra welcome a concert that featured a harmonicist, soulful gospel soloists and choir: joined together seamlessly by words of a congresswoman? Mayor Vincent Gray was welcomed to the stage for a statement of occasion.

“Grouped in two parts, the program opened with the Moderato assai from the Afro-American Symphony by William Grant Still. Conductor Nolan Williams led the venerable orchestra with a dedicated fervor. Harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet joined the orchestra for a moving rendering of the spiritual “O Freedom,” accompanied by a stirring reading by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Norton was featured in selected readings throughout the evening, which seamlessly tied the elements of the program together.”

For the second half of the program, The National Symphony Orchestra shined in Pulitzer Prize winning composer George Walker's 'Lyric for Strings.' Elegant phrasing and lyrical playing by the orchestra marked the performance of this lovely work. Spoken word artist Messiah Ramkissoon rendered an original piece called 'A Mighty Stream.' Blending traditional sentiments with modern dialect, Ramkissoon captivated the sold out audience with this original style.”  [George Walker (b. 1922) and WilliamGrant Still (1895-1978) are profiled at AfriClassical.com, which features comprehensive Works Lists by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com]

No comments: