Conductor Andre Raphel To Collaborate With Uri Caine To Record Caine's Oratorio 'The Passion Of Octavius Catto'
Conductor André Raphel joins Jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine in an exciting recording project of historical significance, taking place August 22 and 23, at New York City's DiMenna Center. They will be collaborating to record The Passion of Octavius Catto, an oratorio by Uri Caine for jazz trio (with Uri Caine at the piano), vocalist Barbara Walker, gospel choirs and the New York Studio Orchestra. The piece combines classical, gospel, jazz and pop styles to create a powerful work.
Octavius Catto, a pioneering figure in American history who lived in the 1800's grew up in Philadelphia. He was an educator, civil/voting rights activist, orator, and baseball player in the early Negro League. Catto was educated at the Institute of Colored Youth (predecessor to Cheyney University, the Nation's first historically black university).
André Raphel states, "The Passion of Octavius Catto is a piece of music unlike anything I have ever conducted given its historical significance. Uri's work fuses together different musical styles and does it in the framework of telling Catto's story. The piece made an incredible impression when we performed it live. With the feeling of excitement created by the premiere, it seemed important to find a way to share it worldwide. Catto wasn't just an important figure in Philadelphia history, he was a forgotten figure in U.S. history. It is history that needs to live, and one way it can live is through this recording."
Uri Caine first encountered Octavius Catto's story when he read the book, "Tasting Freedom." He says, "With the political climate today it is important to keep reiterating the fact that 'All Men Are Created Equal'. This attempt to divide is not what our country is about. As a musician I've seen a way through music to express that feeling and that wish for people to connect and say no and to resist to these types of appeals of hatred, division, stereotyping and racism."
The Passion of Octavius Catto premiered at the Mann Center in 2014 with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by André Raphel, with Barbara Walker, soloist and a community gospel choir from Philadelphia.