Friday, January 13, 2012

CCC 013 - Aldolphus Hailstork

The Consonant Classical Challenge continues with American composer Adolphus Hailstork. Hailstork has been quietly building a solid reputation as a composer in a number of areas. His symphonic works have attracted notice, and he's an accomplished vocal and choral composer as well.

Hailstork has a lyrical style infused with African-American traditions. While still writing within the framework of the classical genre, his music has a unique energy to it. In some ways, it's similar to the effect Brazilian folk music had on the writing of Heitor Villa-Lobos.

The Sonata da Chiesa for String Orchesta is a good example of Hailstork's style. While readily accessible, the music is carefully constructed and always introduces some unexpected turns.

Hailstork's masterful orchestration gives his music a fresh sound. His use of percussion is innovative, and his overall tone colors chosen carefully to illuminate the blended harmonies of his compositions. "Celebration" is one of his more popular works, an occasional piece that's taken on a life of its own.

Often Hailstork is sought out because he's an African-American composer. But I don't think that's important. I think he should be better represented in orchestra concerts simply because he's a living composer -- and a darned good one at that.

Recommended Recordings

MUSIC & THE ARTS - VOL. 2 NO. 2 - THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY: Adolphus Hailstork: Epitath; Piano Concerto; Celebration. Mary Howe: Stars. Gottschalk: Symphony No. 1 (Night at the Tropics)

Hailstork: Symphonies 2 & 3

As Falling Leaves: Music by Adolphus Hailstork

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