Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Music Guide: Symphonies 2 & 3 of Adolphus Hailstork 'are full-fledged specimens of the neo-Romantic symphony'

[Adolphus Hailstork: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3; Grand Rapids Symphony; David Lockington, Conductor; Naxos 8.559295 (2007)]

All Music Guide
David Lockington
by James Manheim
“The large, ambitious symphonies of the imposingly named Adolphus Hailstork presented here do not make much explicit use of African-American vernacular materials, but the composer's heritage shows through in his preference for band-like textures -- and he indeed has written music for bands. There is a good deal for the percussionists to do as well, but this quality has as much to do with the basic musical language employed as with any questionable cultural affinities -- these are full-fledged specimens of the neo-Romantic symphony, albeit diverted from crowd-pleaser status by a serious tone that pervades the Symphony No. 2, especially. Hailstork notes that he intended the work as abstract, not programmatic, but a visit to the Ghanaian forts and dungeons from which slaves were sent off to death or doom. The Grave second movement of that work, part of a pair with the broadly hopeful finale that forms the work's heart, is an episodic lament framed by solo utterances from an English horn, an impressive dirge that is moving even if one is unaware of the programmatic content.” [Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]

No comments: