Marian Anderson: Beyond the Music [CD + Book]

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A 2021 GRAMMY Nominee for Best Historical Album!

Sony Masterworks announces the release of Beyond the Music, a special 15-CD edition celebrating contralto Marian Anderson, the first Black singer to perform at the Met Opera.

On April 9, 1939, a cold Easter Sunday, a woman in a fur coat walked down the steps of Lincoln Memorial, ready to perform open-air after being refused the largest hall in Washington because she was Black. As contralto Marian Anderson raised her voice to sing the words of "My Country, ’Tis of Thee" to the 75,000 who gathered to listen to her, an unforgettable historic moment unfolded. The great voice of “The Lady from Philadelphia,” first discovered by her local neighborhood, took her to global fame on the stages of Europe, Asia, and America. She became the first Black woman to perform at the Met in New York; she sang for presidents and kings, defied the Nazis to sing in Germany in the 1930s, and was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom; and with her dignity, courage, and unwavering belief in equal rights, she became an icon in her supportive role for the civil rights movement.

The present edition is the first release of Marian Anderson’s complete recorded legacy for RCA Victor. Along with the first-ever complete release of her legendary Farewell Recital at Constitution Hall in 1964, many recordings appear here on CD for the first time. From her debut in 1924 for the Victor label to her last LP from 1966, all recordings have been meticulously restored and remastered from the original analog masters using 24 bit / 96 kHz technology. 72 works are appearing on CD for the first time, 9 recordings previously unreleased. The 228-page coffee-table book is richly illustrated with numerous photos and facsimiles, a new essay by Raymond Arsenault – author of The Sound of Freedom and Freedom Riders – and full discographical notes. It is a homage to the artistic life of a singer “one is privileged to hear only once in a hundred years” (Toscanini) and who left us a legacy of humanity, generosity, talent, and faith.


What emerges on every track (11 of them available for the first time) is a contralto whose voice is characterized by an inner glow, crisp diction and unwavering dignity, no matter what the genre. Special mention must be made of this set’s presentation, which stands among the glories of the CD era not just for its musical comprehensiveness, but also for its artful design.

– Opera Magazine

Product Description:

  • Release Date: August 27, 2021

  • Catalog Number: 19439836492

  • UPC: 194398364926

  • Label: Sony

  • Number of Discs: 15

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Adolphe Adam, Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonín Dvořák, Charles Gilbert Spross, Christopher Joseph Thomas, Cyril Scott, Engelbert Humperdinck, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Franz Xaver Gruber, Frida Sarsen-Bucky, George Frideric Handel, Giovanni Bononcini, Giuseppe Verdi, Gustav Mahler, Halfdan Kjerulf, Henry Purcell, Howard Swanson, James A. Bland, James Hook, James Lynam Molloy, James Pierpont, Jean Sibelius, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, John Francis Wade, Jonathan Edwards Spilman, Jules Massenet, Lewis H. Redner, Liza Lehmann, Lowell Mason, Richard Storrs Willis, Richard Strauss, Robert Schumann, Roger Quilter, Samuel Barber, Sergei Rachmaninov, Stephen Foster, Thomas Moore, Traditional

  • Conductor: Charles O'Connell, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Erich Leinsdorf, Eugene Ormandy, Fritz Reiner, Pierre Monteux, Robert Russell Bennett, Robert Shaw

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

  • Performer: Jan Peerce, Marian Anderson