Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Sergio Mims: Margaret Bonds Christmas Cantata "The Ballad of the Brown King" on Avie CD

Margaret Allison Bonds (1913-1972)

Margaret Bonds
The Ballad of the Brown King
& Selected Songs
Laquita Mitchell
Noah Stewart
Lucia Bradford
Ashley Jackson
The Dessoff Choirs & Orchestra
Malcolm J. Merriweather
Avie Records

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Avie Records has released this month the first ever recording of Margaret Bonds' Christmas cantata The Ballad of The Brown King with a libretto of Langston Hughes.

Avie Records

20th-century African-American composer Margaret Bonds receives long overdue recognition with the world-premiere recording of her crowning achievement, The Ballad of the Brown King. With an expressly written libretto by Bonds’ friend Langston Hughes, this Christmas cantata which focuses on Balthazar, the dark-skinned king who journeyed to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus Christ, is beautifully interpreted by New York City-based The Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra, outstanding soloists soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford and tenor Noah Stewart, under the baton of their charismatic conductor, Malcolm J. Merriweather. Bonds authority Dr. Ashley Jackson contributes the inspired liner notes. This unique seasonal album also includes a selection of specially arranged songs, including a setting of Hughes’ seminal poem I, Too, Sing America, performed by baritone Merriweather and Jackson on solo harp.

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