Thursday, May 24, 2012

William Grant Still - Sahdji (Ballet) by Eastman-Rochester Orchestra; Howard Hanson, Conductor, YouTube

[Africa: Piano Music of William Grant Still; Denver Oldham, piano; Koch International Classics 3-7084-2H1]

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,  Still's ballet Sahdji (20:31) was recorded by Mercury in 1959, and is still in print on CD. Howard Hanson and the Eastman-Rochester Orchestra and Chorus performed the work, which is now available on YouTube with detailed notes:

William Grant Still - Sahdji (Ballet)  (20:31)

Published on May 14, 2012 by scrymgeour34 

Sahdji (Ballet) (1930)

"[A] love for stage productions led Still to the ballet, and one of his earliest was Sahdji, undertaken after more than a year of studying African music and legend. The work was first produced at the Eastman School in 1931, under the direction of Howard Hanson. The setting of the ballet (which calls for chorus, as well) is a hunting festival of the Azande tribe in central Africa. Sahdji, the favorite wife of the Azande chieftain Konombju, is infatuated with his nephew and succesor, Mrabo. While Konombju is away on a hunting expedition, Sahdji and Mrabo betray him; a few hours later, at sunset, the hunters return carrying Konombju's body: he has been killed on the expedition. According to tribal custom, the favorite wife of the chieftain must take her life when her husband dies. Sahdji, torn between her loyalty to the death vow and her desire for life and the love of Mrabo, dances before the bier of Konombju and finally stabs herself with the sacrificial dagger." - Shirley Fleming

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