Conductor: Jonathan Taylor Rush
Carlos Simon, composer
Marc Bamuthi Joseph, librettist
Marc Bamuthi Joseph, spoken word artist
Minnesota Chorale and Twin Cities Choral Partners, choir
Brea(d)th is a seminal work written by Grammy-nominated composer Carlos Simon and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph on a commission from the Minnesota Orchestra. Situating George Floyd’s story in the context of America’s centuries-long history of systemic racism and oppression, brea(d)th asks listeners to consider, “How do we move forward? What is the breadth of the task at hand?”
The work features Joseph performing his original text via spoken word. Joseph’s libretto—which in his own words “considers bread, as in value, breath, as in lifeforce, and breadth, as in the radius of American promise”—is tightly woven with Simon’s music of great emotional range. At turns solemn, bluesy, heart-rending and dissonant, the piece includes an instrumental Elegy movement for strings placed at the center.
The recording is drawn from live world premiere performances at Orchestra Hall in May 2023 that featured Jonathan Taylor Rush conducting the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Chorale, 29:11 International Exchange and Twin Cities Choral Partners.
The recorded work is now available on most major streaming platforms.