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The life and career of the African-American composer William Grant Still qualifies as the quintessential American ‘success story.’ Often referred to as the ‘dean of African-American composers,’ Still rose from humble beginnings to work as an arranger while studying composition with Chadwick and Varèse. Still embraced the blues, spirituals, jazz, and other ethnic American musics within classical forms. Wood Notes musically depicts Still’s love of nature. Symphony No. 2, the last of a trilogy of works depicting the African-American experience, presents the vision of an integrated American society, while Symphony No. 3 describes a spiritual ‘day in the life’ of a devout worshipper. This disc completes the Naxos cycle of William Grant Still’s Symphonies.
William Grant Still: Wood Notes
I. Singing River: Moderately slow
II. Autumn Night: Lightly
III. Moon Dusk: Slowly and expressively
IV. Whippoorwill's Shoes: Humorously
William Grant Still: Symphony No. 2 in G minor, "Song of a New Race"
II. Slowly and deeply expressive
III. Moderately fast
IV. Moderately slow
William Grant Still: Symphony No. 3, "The Sunday Symphony"
I. The Awakening: Moderately fast
II. Prayer: Very Slowly
III. Relaxation: Gaily
IV. Day's End and a New Beginning: Resolutely
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.