Margaret Bonds: "Troubled Water" and the Story of Spirituals


In this episode of Bach@Home pianist Magdalena Baczewska celebrates Margaret Bonds: a pianist, composer, pedagogue, and a lifetime supporter of the creativity of African-American artists and musicians. Despite the racial discrimination she faced in college Bonds became the first African-American woman to ever perform with a renowned American orchestra, the Chicago Symphony. In this episode, you will learn about the spirituals and their function in the lives of enslaved African-Americans. As always, you will hear a live performance, Margaret Bonds' piano fantasy "Troubled Water." The piece is based on a popular spiritual "Wade in the Water," a melody that is said to have been strategically used by Harriet Tubman, who brought as many as 70 slaves to freedom. Following the performance you will hear a short analysis of the techniques and influences Bonds used in her composition.