The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (FSO) celebrates Black History Month with a performance of William Grant Still’s ﬁ rst Afro-American Symphony on Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. in the J.W Seabrook Auditorium located on the campus of Fayetteville State University.
William Grant Still is the ﬁ rst African-American to conduct a symphony in the South, and have a symphony and opera performed by a major company. Still is referred to as the dean of African-American composers. Still composed his music in the 1930s, during which time a large amount of blues was incorporated into African-American music. Still used these tunes and incorporated them into a symphony instead of pop pieces.
Mark Savage, executive director of the FSO, explained that the orchestra will perform four movements from Still’s symphony: “Longing,” “Sorrow,” “Humor” and “Aspiration.”
Savaged explained the orchestra selected these particular composers because FSO’s tribute to Still is a true celebration of Black History Month. Savage also explained that Still is an African-American composer, who was raised in the United States noting, “It is his time to be recognized.”
The program will also feature Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, and Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird Ballet.
Mozart selected the key of G minor because to him, it was the key of extreme pathos and despair. At the age of 17, Mozart wrote Little G Minor Symphony (No. 25), which was rarely heard in concert halls until after the ﬁ lm Amadeus, in which it served as background music for the opening credits.
The Suite has remained Stravinsky’s most frequently performed work.
The title of Mozart’s ﬁ rst movement is “Allegro Con Brio,” next is “Andante, Menuetto and Trio, and Allegro.”
Stravinsky extracted from a ballet to make the music more accessible for the resources of an orchestra.
From Stravinsky’s symphony, the orchestra will perform six movements: the introduction of the characters of the suite, Firebird and its dance, Princesses Khorovod also known as the (around dance), the Infernal Dance of King Kashchei (he is the bad guy in the ballet). The ﬁ fth movement Berceuse (lullaby), and the sixth movement is the Finale.
Savage explained that Stravinsky’s ballet tells the story of a heroic prince who rescues the beautiful princess Tsarevna and her friends from an evil magician named Kashchey. The Prince marries the princess and a grand ceremony is held for the victor and the Firebird.
Stravinsky was selected because his composition consists of a struggle between good versus evil and good overpowers evil and wins. Savage feels with the state of the economy and the different devastations that are happening at this particular time, good overpowering evil is a nice change. Mozart’s piece was chosen because of its strength, and the fact that it is different from the other two composers, this difference makes it a nice closer for the concert.
Savage added that county residents need to come to the concerts and support the orchestra. He said, “If you come and listen, you won’t be disappointed! You will get your monies worth and then some.”
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for Seniors and Military, and Students with an ID are $8. You can purchase tickets online at www.fayettevillesymphony.org or call (910) 433-4690. Free shuttle service available from a central location — call for details and to make a reservations.