Performance Today

Composer William Dawson

A drawing of composer William Dawson in 1935 by Aaron Douglas. Aaron Douglas/Tuskegee University Archives

June 18, 2021

Two decades after he wrote his Negro Folk Symphony, composer William Dawson traveled to West Africa. Based on what he heard there, he revised his music to convey “...the missing elements that were lost when Africans came into bondage outside their homeland." On today's show, hear Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony played by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with conductor Neeme Jarvi.

Episode Playlist

Hour 1

Traditional, arr. Terence Blanchard: A City Called Heaven
Jubilant Sykes, baritone | Terence Blanchard, piano
Album: Jubilant Sykes
Sony Classical

Margaret Bonds: Spiritual Suite: The Bells
Lara Downes, piano
Album: Some of These Days
Flipside Music

Florence Price: Some Of These Days
Lara Downes, piano
Album: Some of These Days
FlipSide Records

William Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony: Mvts 1-2
Detroit Symphony Orchestra | Neeme Jarvi, conductor
Album: Still: Symphony No. 2 / Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony / Ellington: Harlem

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: from 24 Negro Melodies, Op. 59, Steal Away
Frances Walker Slocum, piano
Album: Coleridge-Taylor: 24 Negro Melodies, Op. 59
Orion 7806

Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From the New World: Mvt 1
Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra | Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Aspen Music Festival and School, Benedict Music Tent, Aspen, CO

Hour 2

Ernesto Lecuona: La Comparsa (Carnival Procession) + Por que te vas? (Why do you go?)
Gabriela Montero, piano
Album: Solatino
EMI 41144

Bedrich Smetana: String Quartet No. 1 in E minor "From My Life"
Yi Zhao, violin
Ling Ling Huang, violin
Allyson Goodman, viola
Daniel Laufer, cello
Grand Teton Music Festival, Walk Festival Hall, Jackson Hole, WY

Peter Tchaikovsky: Serenade melancolique in B flat minor, Op. 2
Ji Yoon Park, violin
Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra | Mikko Franck, conductor
Auditorium, Radio France Broadcasting House, Paris, France

Teresa Carreño: Little Waltz (Mi Teresita)
Gabriela Montero, piano
Album: Solatino
EMI 41144