Monday, November 15, 2010

Paul Freeman: Still 'always emphasized the “flow” of the music, and faster tempos were often the natural outcome.'

[Afro-American Symphony; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Karl Kruger, conductor; Bridge 9086 (1999)]

Cedille Records is offering the CD African Heritage Symphonic Series, Vol. 1 (2000), at a sale price reduced from $16.00 to $14.80. The recording time is 51:26. William Grant Still's Symphony No. 1 (Afro-American) (21:10) is accompanied by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Danse Nègre from African Suite (6:14) and Petite Suite de Concert (13:36), as well as selections (10:02) from African Suite of Fela Sowande.
Chicago Sinfonietta
Paul Freeman, conductor
Cedille Records CDR 90000 055

"10/10 -- A sonic and musical treasure" (
"This music is all first-class . . . it's hard to imagine that you won't be beguiled by this collection." (Fanfare)

“This recording is the first disc in an emerging three-CD series devoted to twentieth-century composers of African descent, a project inspired by CBS Records' landmark Black Composers Series of the 1970s. Paul Freeman, artistic director and featured conductor for the long out-of-print CBS series, conducts the Chicago Sinfonietta for Cedille's African Heritage Symphonic Series. Dominique-René de Lerma, chief consultant and program annotator for the CBS series, is writing the program notes for Cedille's series. This recording was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Chicago Sinfonietta.”

“William Grant Still's Symphony No. 1, 'Afro-American', evolved from blue-based sketches he wrote during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance while arranging for jazz ensembles. Freeman's sultry, swinging interpretation is several minutes faster than competing CD versions. Freeman, who worked directly with Still on performances of the First Symphony and other works, says Still 'always emphasized the “flow” of the music, and faster tempos were often the natural outcome.'" [Paul Freeman (b. 1936), Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), Fela Sowande (1905-1987) and William Grant Still (1895-1978) are featured in biographies at]

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