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Foreword

Foreword I had the pleasure of meeting William Grant Still in 1970 on the occasion of a celebration of his seventy-fifth birthday sponsored by Oberlin Conservatory of Music, which I helped organize when I was a professor there. What is most memorable about the experience was Still's personal grace, charm, dignity, and profound sense of artistic and individual integrity. This warm and honorable person clearly transcended the specific differences we obviously had regarding both avant-garde techniques in new music and the black consciousness and cultural movement in American society and the arts. Still's insistence on referring to himself as an American composer was consistent with his social outlook. He was a populist whose unbridled dislike for what he saw as the esoteric intellectualism of the avant-garde is well documented in the writings of this volume. This outlook also finds its roots in the populist, nationalist perspec­ tive of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as in Still's own personal experience as a musician and composer whose professional life included the popular arts. Despite some of our differ­ ences, I discovered that the basic values we shared were more impor­ tant than those we did not. I also http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

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Copyright
Copyright © 1992 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-6.2.v
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

I had the pleasure of meeting William Grant Still in 1970 on the occasion of a celebration of his seventy-fifth birthday sponsored by Oberlin Conservatory of Music, which I helped organize when I was a professor there. What is most memorable about the experience was Still's personal grace, charm, dignity, and profound sense of artistic and individual integrity. This warm and honorable person clearly transcended the specific differences we obviously had regarding both avant-garde techniques in new music and the black consciousness and cultural movement in American society and the arts. Still's insistence on referring to himself as an American composer was consistent with his social outlook. He was a populist whose unbridled dislike for what he saw as the esoteric intellectualism of the avant-garde is well documented in the writings of this volume. This outlook also finds its roots in the populist, nationalist perspec­ tive of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as in Still's own personal experience as a musician and composer whose professional life included the popular arts. Despite some of our differ­ ences, I discovered that the basic values we shared were more impor­ tant than those we did not. I also

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1992

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