We will be joined by the Harlem Chamber Players for the New York premiere of The Dream Keeper by Philip Lasser. Composed in 2006, the work for chorus and eight instruments sets poetry by Langston Hughes. In describing his choice of Hughes’ poetry for what he calls a “Secular Cantata,” Lasser says, “The wonderful fluidity and subtle flow of his words inspired me to bring into actual melody the music I believe is already embedded in the poems.” You can watch The Dream Keeper composer Philip Lasser talk about why he chose to set poems by Langston Hughes.
Members of the Harlem Chamber Players will also perform Lyric Quartette by William Grant Still. Still, whose works include five symphonies and nine operas, plus choral and chamber works, is at the forefront of Black composers of the 20th Century. Composed in 1960, the string quartet has three movements, each a musical portrait of a friend of Still’s (“The Sentimental One,” “The Quiet One,” and “The Jovial One”).
As the culmination of a year-long exploration of choral music from historically underrepresented composers, we will start the program with a cappella works by six esteemed Black artists, whose pieces demonstrate a wide variety of styles within the choral form. With The Lee Shore, the British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor writes in the style of the 19th century part song. With Sicut Cervus composer Rosephanye Powell presents her version of Renaissance counterpoint. Hale Smith’s I’m Coming Home has its roots in jazz. Also on the program are Undine Smith Moore’s arrangement of the spiritual We Shall Walk Through the Valley and powerful works by Adolphus Hailstork and Ulysses Kay.
Tickets are on sale now.
All NAS singers and staff are fully vaccinated. All audience members will be asked to provide proof of vaccination and to remain masked throughout the performance.
|The Dream Keeper
|Arise my Beloved
|O Praise the Lord
|The Lee Shore
|We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace
|Undine Smith Moore
|O Praise the Lord
|William Grant Still