Still - Darker America

February 5, 2022

Robert G. Hasty conducts the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Darker America by William Grant Still.

Darker America brilliantly balances sorrow and triumph as Still represents his place in early twentieth century America. His opening theme is announced by unison strings before developing further throughout the ensemble. The sorrow theme is announced by the English horn, before the theme of hope is ushered in through muted brass, string, and woodwinds. Regarding the conclusion, Still said, “Again hope appears and the people seem about to rise above their troubles. But sorrow triumphs. Then the prayer is heard (given to oboe); the prayer of numbed rather than anguished souls. Strongly contrasted moods follow, leading up to the triumph and the people near the end, at which point the three principal themes are combined.”

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