African Heritage Symphonic Series, Vol. 2
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Not since the LP era of the 1970s has there been anything like Cedille Records' African Heritage Symphonic Series.
Volume II features compositions by exceptional Black composers from the 1940s to the 1980s, performed by the Chicago Sinfonietta led by its founder and music director, Dr. Paul Freeman,"one of the finest conductors our nation has produced." (Fanfare)
Ulysses Kay's ebullient Overture to Theater Set (1968) exudes a broad and good-natured energy. George Walker's intensely romantic Lyric for Strings (1941) is one of the great gems of the string orchestra repertoire. With his acclaimed Eight Miniatures for Small Orchestra (1948), Panama's Roque Cordero succeeded in synthesizing the avant-garde techniques he learned in the U.S. with the Latin and Afro-Caribbean music of his homeland. Accented with archetypal African drumming patterns, Hale Smith's Ritual and Incantations (1974), radiates an aura of mystery and suspense. Adolphus Hailstork's An American Port of Call (1985) takes the listener on a lush, fanciful, and jazzy excursion. Ten years in the making, Hailstork's Epitaph for a Man who Dreamed (1979) pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King with passages of exquisite tenderness and noble power.
Paul Freeman and the Chicago Sinfonietta's idiomatic and highly polished performances bring each work vividly to life. -- ClassicsToday.com
The Chicago Sinfonietta gives excellent readings of these first-rate works. -- American Record Guide