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.
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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