The cover article of the current March 2018 issue of Choral Journal highlights William Grant Still’s eighteen-minute choral-orchestral work …And They Lynched Him on a Tree.
The cover artwork depicts the story of this piece with a powerful contrast of dark and light, a parallel to Still’s scoring for White and Black Chorus, Mother, Narrator, and Orchestra. Author Brandon Williams writes in the introduction of the article, “This dramatic work for orchestra and racially distinct choirs was well received at its premiere, but the provocative title, intense subject matter, and atypical vocal forces could establish this as a less-than-desirable option for performance. Its message is particularly relevant in today’s sensitive climate.”
As the Choral Journal continues to explore important topics relating to equality and diversity, we hope you will consider the performance suggestions for programming Still’s composition, which “deserves to be performed not as a token work by an African American but as a well-crafted American masterpiece and a plea for justice and peace.”
A list of companion works for a full program is included. Readers may also be interested in the April 2016 Choral Journal feature article on William Grant Still’s Three Rhythmic Spirituals, written by Jeffrey Webb, which includes a composer biography, photos, and performance considerations for the work.
*ACDA Active, Life, and Retired members will receive a print copy of the current issue in the mail. Student and Associate members can view the electronic version but will not receive a print copy. For more questions about membership, contact our membership coordinator, Garrett Hammonds.