I heard this story on the radio while commuting one day recently. It is a part of an NPR / 1A series that “explores the roots of America’s Black classical music” and is eye-opening. The piece that is highlighted, composer William Dawson’s “Negro Folk Symphony”, is lush, gorgeous and moving, and it’s hard to believe that it “sank into oblivion” after a triumphant and successful debut in 1934. Give the 47-minute story a listen if you’re interested in classical music or Black history – you won’t be sorry.
You are invited on a journey of rediscovery — from the sorrow songs to the spiritual arrangements of composer Harry Burleigh.
Source: Lost & Found: America’s Black Classical Music
William Dawson’s masterpiece has been in the shadows for too long, and is now being revived, played, reviewed, discussed. That’s a good thing. There’s a shorter story, also from an NPR show, All Things Considered: Someone Finally Remembered William Dawson’s ‘Negro Folk Symphony’.
Both stories have links to the music itself, and I highly recommend a listen.
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