Margaret Bonds’s The Ballad of the Brown King

December 25, 2021, 4:30 pm

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black and white portrait of Margaret Bonds wearing white hat
Margaret Bonds

Margaret Bonds’s charming The Ballad of the Brown King focuses on Balthazar, the dark-skinned king who journeyed to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus Christ. First premiered in 1954, the revised and orchestrated version was dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1960. For Christmas Day, Oliver presents the complete 24-minute work for three soloists, chorus, and orchestra.


Margaret Bonds: The Ballad of the Brown King
Libretto by Langston Hughes
Laquita Mitchell, soprano
Lucia Bradford, mezzo-soprano
Noah Stewart, tenor
The Dessoff Choirs & Orchestra
Malcolm J. Merriweather, conductor
Recorded in 2018
Avie Records AV-2413