Monday, June 16, 2014

Respect For Women: It's Time for a Change

In the June 3, 2014 edition of the New York Times, Jon Caramanica’s “critic’s notebook” article,  “Retro Rap That Puts Women Down” speaks to an issue long dear to my heart: the apparent – current -  stance of too many young African American males that has misdirected a tradition of love and romance in popular music from one of heartfelt respect, longing and true love, to misogynistic misinterpretation of what it means to be powerful in relationships to women. 

The Biblical Scripture, “ Submitting yourselves one to another “ ( Eph: 5,21. ) has never been effectively manifest in the general population. Women have been mistreated, at least as long as I can remember in my own observations of life in our America: forced, however subtly or persuasively, to “ submit ” to men ( i.e., scripturally, to their husbands ( Eph: 5,24.). This is a complex subject, but it seems to me that if society is going to select scripture to justify these relationships, it will be much healthier to select the former: a righteous power emerges when women and men submit to one another in the fear of - awesome love and respect to – God.

We are equals. History shows that women are still emerging from under this international religious, corporate and intimate-relational oppression. I only hope that the long tradition of religious faith in the African American Community can find a music that will consistently honor women and their life-saving role in the survival of a people – from the time of American slavery to the present. Mr. Caramanica’s article should sound an opportunity for young song writers, producers and recording / concert artists to establish a new and consistently healing music, one based in the religious faith of the best traditions of their forbearers.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Program Notes

Randall's program notes from the Ellington Sacred Concert Performance ( 12/14/'13, Queens College, NYC ):

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Remembering James De Preist

(Picture courtesy of NY Times)

I read, yesterday, that the conductor James De Preist died at age 76 on February 8. In recent years Maestro DePreist privileged me to attend his rehearsals with the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra. He was Director of Orchestra Activities at the school. I greatly enjoyed that privilege, and was always deeply moved and impressed whenever I had an opportunity to visit with him after rehearsals. He was encouraging and motivating in his succinct advice to me and in his response to my Mahler research and writing ( re: Mahler's Ninth Symphony). DePreist's performances with the Juilliard Orchestra were inspiring and exemplary for my development as a "late bloomer", given that he never let obstacles stop him from achieving his goals. He rehearsed the orchestra and conducted its public performances from a wheelchair (he had contracted polio in 1962).

News of Maestro DePreist's passing marks a crossroads in my thoughts. As I continue to institute my own work in the field of conducting here in New York City, his important example will remain a guide, his kindness will be remembered, and even his historical family roots will help to edify my perspective: His Aunt was the great contralto, Marian Anderson, whos name was a household staple in the Horton home as I was growing up. My mother, herself a noted soprano in the Boston area when I was a child, revered Ms. Anderson.

If I think of obstacles, I will think of Maestro James DePreist and Marian Anderson. Their stories are outlined at: