Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Leopold Stokowski's 1963 Recording of William Levi Dawson's 'Negro Folk Symphony' (35:44) on YouTube

[William Levi Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony; American Symphony Orchestra; Leopold Stokowski. Conductor (Cover of original LP: American Decca DL 10077)]

The Negro Folk Symphony (35:44), a major work and William Levi Dawson's only symphony, was posted on YouTube May 23, 2012:

William Levi Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony (1934)

Published on May 23, 2012 by robt0007
Composer: William Levi Dawson (September 26, 1899 -- May 2, 1990) was an African-American composer, choir director and professor.

Composition: Negro Folk Symphony (1934)
I. The Bond of Africa 
II. Hope in the Night 
III. O Let Me Shine! 

Orchestra: The American Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski conductor

Cover Art: 
1a. Bond of Arfica: African Elephant
1b. African Sunset by Abglanz
2 Hope in the Night: African Night Jungle Landscape by Abhidhanbad
3 O Let Me Shine!...African Sunset”

William Levi Dawson (1899-1990) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, The Dawson page discusses the recording by Leopold Stokowski:

Leopold Stokowski conducted the first performance of Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony in 1934. He also recorded the work for Decca Records in 1963. The LP recording has since been  reissued on CD by Deutsche Grammophon as DG 477 6502 (2007). Alan Newcombe says in the liner notes that the work was important to the evolution of the American symphony:  

“His Negro Folk Symphony was first performed by Leopold Stokowski with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1934. After making a study of indigenous African music, in 1952 Dawson revised his work to give it a more 'African' rhythmic underpinning. While recalling the idiom of Dvorak's 'New World' Symphony and the cyclic principles of the César Franck school, not to mention Bruckner's Fourth at the opening of the last movement, the work's individuality of texture and rhythmic energy make it a significant, albeit largely unacknowledged, contribution to the development of the American symphony.”

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