Wonder Delivers Classical Opus

Performs 20-minute composition before receiving US award
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2009 10:48 AM CST
Legendary musician Stevie Wonder, seated at the keyboard, performs at the Library of Congress yesterday in Washington.    (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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(Newser) – Stevie Wonder performed an original classical piece last night at the Library of Congress, where he is due to receive the second Gershwin Prize for Popular Song tomorrow, the Washington Post reports. He played piano, keyboard, and harmonica along with a 21-piece ensemble performing “Sketches of a Life,” an autobiographical composition he began writing in 1976 but hadn’t performed before.

The 20-minute piece had a “darker” sound than typical Wonder, but it remained “lyrical” and “soulful,” J. Freedom du Lac writes in the Post. Wonder said he’d been waiting for an excuse to perform the work, which featured touches of jazz, funk, and pop, since the 1990s. Fan Barack Obama will present the prize to Wonder tomorrow before a gala concert.