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February 2014
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Black History Month: William Grant Still’s 2nd Symphony

William Grant Still

William Grant Still

Still’s Symphony No.2, Saturday at 6:00 PM

 
By 1930, William Grant Still had emerged as an all-American composer; all-American because he was uniquely American; he could not have come from anywhere else. His ancestry was African, European, and native-American . His musical voice was a melting pot of spirituals and European traditions. 1930 was the year of Still’s First Symphony, which he titled “Afro-American.” According to the composer it “represented the Negro of days not far removed from the Civil War.” Indeed Still’s grandparents had been slaves.

The next chapter of Still’s narrative, his Second Symphony of 1937 looks to his present. According to the composer, the G Minor represents “the American colored man of today, in so many instances a totally new individual produced through the fusion of White, Indian and Negro bloods.”

Hear this Symphony No.2, which he called Song of a New Race on Saturday at 6:00 PM on WFMT.

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