This symphony takes its inspiration from the blues in the 1920s, which were much different than the blues we typically hear today. Join us to learn how Still uniquely brought different styles of music together, new instruments in the orchestra, and his motivation.  

Show Notes


The poetry associated with each movement by Paul Laurence Dunbar

1st movement "Longing"

Excerpt from Dunbar's Twell de Night Is Pas'

All de night long twell de moon goes down,
Lovin' I set at huh feet,
Den fu' de long jou'ney back f'om de town,
Ha'd, but de dreams mek it sweet.
All my life long twell de night has pas'
Let de wo'k come ez it will,
So dat I fin' you, my honey, at last,
Somewhaih des ovah de hill.

2nd movement "Sorrow"

Excerpt from Dunbar's W'en I Gits Home.

It's moughty tiahsome layin' 'roun'
Dis sorer-laden erfly groun',
An' oftentimes I thinks, thinks I,
'T would be a sweet t'ing des to die,
An go 'long home.

3rd movement "Humor"

Excerpt from Dunbar's An Ante-Bellum Sermon.

An' we'll shout ouag halleluyahs,
On dat mighty reck'nin' day.

4th movement "Aspiration"

Excerpt from Dunbar's Ode to Ethiopia.

Be proud, my Race, in mind and soul,
Thy name is writ on Glory's scroll
In characters of fire.
High 'mid the clouds of Fame's bright sky,
Thy banner's blazoned folds now fly,
And truth shall lift them higher.

Performances of Still's Afro-American Symphony and his following Symphony in G minor.