Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review: 'I found many reasons why Still's music still speaks to us today.'

[TOP: William Grant Still Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3, 'Wood Notes' on Naxos 8.559676 BOTTOM: William Grant Still (Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission)]

Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
In this third volume of the orchestral music of William Grant Still (1895-1978)  by John Jeter and the Fort Smith Symphony (Naxos 8.559676) I found many reasons why Still's music still speaks to us today. As the most prominent Afro-American classical composer of his generation, he does not simply fit into a ready-made category. Listen to the three works on this set and you get Still the melodist, the impressive orchestrator, the impressionist-romantic-Americana voice of originality.

“The marvelously evocative 'Wood Notes' (1947) (here in its world premiere recording) puts four pastoral vignettes together that draw on the tonality of traditional black America as well as the rural invocation of nature. It is a delight. The two symphonies represented here (No. 2 from 1937; No. 3 from 1958) similarly evoke folk-ethnic-natural imagery through tone painting of a high order.

"This is music that will breathe fresh air into the cobwebs of your typical listening patterns. It is performed with balance and care by Jeter and the Fort Smith Symphony. Recommended.” Posted by Grego Applegate Edwards
[WilliamGrant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

Comment by email:
This is a very good review--I like it!  And all so true. [Judith Anne Still]

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