“Voices of Freedom” is a suite of choral works based a variety of American texts ranging from documents like the Preamble to the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation to an excerpt from Frederick Douglass’ “Speech on West Indies Emancipation” and the traditional spiritual, “Go Down Moses.” When assembled together, we see how the legal proclamations of our country reflect off of the words of a great leader and the timeless narrative of the Hebrew Exodus.
The world musical setting of these texts is designed to frame these ideas, fundamental to our American imagination, in the context of global sensibilities. We may assume a European cultural backdrop to our American documents, but their meaning and impact transcends the limits of Western Europe. Here we listen to these words with choral gestures that refer to West Africa and 19th century Spirituals. Similarly, the steel drum accompaniment, inspired by the Frederick Douglass speech on the West Indies, transforms these familiar documents and songs into a broader cultural framework.