Few events happen that shock all living generations, causing them to never forget their memories. For many, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. is such an event. In 1970, composer Mary Ann Joyce-Walter wrote a piece in honor of King, Immortal Diamond – the title track on her release single on Ravello Records.
The form of this orchestral and choral work is modeled after Bach's Passion of St. Matthew. While the work has excerpts from the Bible illustrating moments of Jesus' life and death, these are not separated by chorales as in Bach's Passion. Rather, these images are intertwined with "stream-of-consciousness" excerpts from 19th- and 20th-century texts, including Alice in Wonderland and selections from the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, T.S. Eliot, John L'Heureaux, Robert Frost, and others. The piece is a realization of the composer's personal belief that the individual has a unifying spiritual connection to the suffering of Jesus Christ.
A composer whose works have been performed at international festivals and concerts throughout the United States, Europe, and Russia, Mary Ann Joyce-Walter taught as professor of music at Manhattanville College in New York City for over 30 years.