A performance edition of Five works by William Grant Still (1895-1978): brass quintet arrangements of Memphis man, Bayou home, Mississippi, Elegy, and All that I am

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Earl Armstrong Jr. (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Dennis Askew

Abstract: William Grant Still (1895-1978) was one of the most prolific African-American composers of the 20th Century. In fact during his career, Still composed over 150 musical works. He was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, hear his own Symphony performed by a leading orchestra, have his opera produced by a major opera company, and view his opera broadcast on a national television network. As a result of these and many other musical accomplishments, Still has been titled, "Dean of African-American Composers." Still spent the majority of his life composing and arranging compositions that featured his unique style of incorporating Western harmonies with African-American blues. Although known primarily for his orchestral works, Still's vocal works have been integrated into the core repertoire of many college, university, and professional ensembles. The purpose of this study was to arrange five works by Still for brass quintet including Memphis Man (1923), Bayou Home (1944), Mississippi (1948), Elegy (1963), and All That I Am (1965). A secondary purpose was to present a biographical sketch of Still. A descriptive analysis about each of the arrangements for brass quintet was included along with the actual settings. Included in the document are performance editions of the five works. The vocal works, Memphis Man, Bayou Home, and Mississippi were created from versions of songs in William Grant Still, An Art Song Collection compiled by Celeste Anne Headlee with lyrics by Verna Arvey. Elegy was taken from William Grant Still: An Organ Collection and is the only work in the collection written for organ. All That I Am was transcribed from an edition for solo voice and piano edited by Celeste Anne Headlee. The spirituals included in this study that date from several different periods of his career are representative of many of his other compositions because they do not include extensive ornamentation or embellishment found in works by other composers. Still created passionate melodic lines and straightforward harmonies to communicate inherent emotion and powerful impact to the audience. In these settings, the melodies have been left unaltered.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
William Grant Still, African-American composers,
Still, William Grant, $d 1895-1978. $t All that I am; $o arranged
Still, William Grant, $d 1895-1978. $t Bayou home; $o arranged
Still, William Grant, $d 1895-1978. $t Elegy; $o arranged
Still, William Grant, $d 1895-1978. $t Memphis man; $o arranged
Still, William Grant, $d 1895-1978. $t Mississippi; $o arranged
African American composers

Email this document to