American bass Kevin Maynor strode on stage and, with two screens of images and videos, not to mention the very capable Eric Olsen on piano, wove his tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Most of the music was inspired by King, with settings by composers such as Margaret Bond, David Baker and Wendell Logan. When Maynor let forth with Bond's I, Too, standing in front of video footage of King himself, it was goosebump time.

Songs such as this were so much more affecting than three extracts from Nicolas Flagello's portentous Passion of Martin Luther King cantata, however much vocal heft they were given. And Maynor's full-strength voice could make one believe that all the heavens themselves were reverberating in the spaces of the cathedral.

On the talking side, Maynor was a noble orator. Between songs, extracts were delivered from both men's speeches and writings. These were all accompanied by Olsen, fluently albeit fulsomely, although for a musical ear there was much to admire in the rhapsody that had been fashioned from My country tis of thee.

Maynor, with immaculate articulation, clearly enjoyed it when Martin Luther King combined wit with unanswerable logic for political purposes. A prime example was a reading from a 1967 sermon on peace in which an American breakfast was analysed in terms of the United States' dependence on the world around them.

Not surprisingly, King came off best - after all, he was there, on screen, in some of his key speeches. Footage from the Birmingham and Selma protests, accompanied by Neil Young's Southern Man on the soundtrack, proved that they still have the power to shock. After all, this is history.

For Gandhi, alas, we were relegated to melodramatic excerpts from Richard Attenborough's 1982 biopic.

The second-third of Maynor's programme had closed with a luminous rendition of Eugene Hancock's Nunc dimittis.

The programme itself would end with King's own favourite spiritual, Precious Lord, but there was more to come.

While Olsen fluttered in the top register of the piano, Maynor returned on stage with a selection of spell-binding spirituals bidding us an optimistic farewell with My Lord, what a morning.

Maynor performs his much-acclaimed tribute to Paul Robeson tonight at the same venue, and tomorrow he will offer a tribute to Malcolm X, including extracts from Anthony Davis's opera X.