Friday, January 13, 2012

David Denton: Fort Smith Symphony 'give hugely attractive performances' of Still Symphonies 2 & 3, 'Wood Notes,' on Naxos

[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)]

David Denton of the U.K. writes David's Review Corner. This review appears at

“David Denton
January 2012
William Grant Still became the first coloured American to have a symphony played by a major orchestra and the first to conduct one of the major league orchestras. His symphonies were largely lightweight, pleasant and undemanding on both the performer and listener… They are easy to listen to and are also amusing caricatures of the weekend break and its religious connotations. Wood Notes offers more pictures of American life, the work here receiving its world premiere recording. Originally in five movements, but published in the four we have here, it ends in sheer fun with Whippoorwill’s Shoes, the whole piece again in the world of light music. The large Fort Smith Symphony is the best known orchestra from Arkansas and, together their long established music director, John Jeter, they give hugely attractive performances. The sound quality is very good, the disc completing the Naxos release of Still’s five symphonies.” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

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