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Classical Notes

New Morning the morning after

Posted at 5:26 PM on January 16, 2007 by Don Lee

Were you listening last night at 7:00 when Bill Morelock played a recording of New Morning for the World by Joseph Schwantner? It's a setting of Martin Luther King texts for narrator and orchestra. Would I be right to say that we're not hearing it as much now as we did in the years following its 1982 premiere?

Maybe neglect is what motivated Schwantner to introduce a version for chamber orchestra two years ago. I just noticed it on his Web site.

It's a colorful, stirring piece, one that deserves to be heard more often…more often than once a year on the King holiday. Do Dr. King's words have the effect of binding the music to his annual birthday celebration? What irony that would be.