André Raphel conducts Coleridge-Taylor, Still, and Caine with the Uri Caine Trio, Barbara Walker, vocalist, and Catto Chorus
American conductor André Raphel leads this first program in a series exploring complex social issues. The centerpiece of these concerts is Philadelphia jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine’s gospel and popular music-based The Passion of Octavius Catto, which tells of the 19th-century civil rights leader’s fight for justice. English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s charming potpourri Petite Suite de Concert dates from about 1911. In four movements, “Longing,” “Sorrow,” “Humor,” and “Aspiration,” William Grant Still’s 1930 Afro-American Symphony, his best-known work, is a bluestinged panorama of the composer’s heritage.
In the second program of a series of concerts exploring complex social issues, conductor Thomas Wilkins leads clarinetist Anthony McGill in Anthony Davis’ concerto You Have the Right to Remain Silent, a musical response to a tense encounter with law enforcement in a case of mistaken identity. Margaret Bonds’ spiritual-based Montgomery Variations is a 1963 tribute to Montgomery, Alabama, and to Martin Luther King. William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony was a huge success upon its premiere at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1934 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski. The symphony’s themes are taken from the melodies of spirituals.
In this third concert in a series exploring complex social issues, frequent guest Giancarlo Guerrero leads American composer Julia Wolfe’s BSO co-commissioned Her Story, featuring the Lorelei Ensemble women’s vocal group. Originally commissioned to commemorate the centenary of women’s right to vote in the U.S., the piece broadly speaks of the continuing struggle for women’s rights. The three movements of Polish composer Henryk Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs movingly contemplates the anguish of the separation of a mother from her child.
Both works performed with English supertitles