On 9th April, Chineke! Orchestra performed the world premiere of Daniel Kidane's Dream Song as part of a concert which marked the re-opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London since it closed for refurbishment in 2015. Setting words from Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream..." speech, Daniel's choice of text provided an extra layer of significance to the event, as it took place exactly 50 years to the day since King's funeral on 9th April 1968.
Scored for solo baritone, chorus and orchestra, Daniel's work has already received critical acclaim across the board:
"It is to Kidane’s credit that his piece, Dream Song, didn't provide a facile mood of optimism and celebration. Rather the reverse, in fact. The words, sung with powerful conviction by Roderick Williams and echoed by the Chineke! choir, seemed trapped in a realm of dreamlike oppression, the tense string lines shot through with threatening brass. Just as one felt a sense of light dawning, the piece came to an end. It felt like a powerful but enigmatic sketch for something that ought to be much bigger-boned." - Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph
"Dream Song is an ambitious, densely scored setting, for baritone (Roderick Williams), choir (the Chineke! Chorus) and orchestra, of fragments from Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, which underpins a declamatory vocal line with insistent brass riffs and choral tone clusters, though the textures brighten as we reach the final assertion of “Let freedom ring." - Tim Ashley The Guardian
"If we expected Gospel-flavoured pastiche, Kidane delivered a shock. This turned out to be a sombre, shadowed piece, the hum and stab of anxiety and trepidation carried by the strings as Roderick Williams forcefully phrased King’s words of hope." - Boyd Tonkin, theartsdesk.com
You can listen to the full concert, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, by clicking here.