Returning to the work of Black American composer William Grant Still today, and yet another work by a Black composer that makes me think, “Why have I never heard that before?” It’s a work of American Impressionism called Kaintuck, and from what I’ve read it’s intended to express Still’s own feelings and impressions of mist-covered blue grass meadows of Kentucky. It’s not a long work, but it packs a lot of thoughtful lyricism and introspection into its roughly ten minutes. We open with the solo piano playing a motif of leaping intervals, and then the orchestra comes in and meanders thoughtfully with the soloist before fading out with just the soloist again. It’s quite an evocative, wonderful work. So, why have I never heard this before?
As with most such cases, I’m afraid I have a pretty good idea what the answer is…or at least, what it partly involves.
Here’s Kaintuck by William Grant Still.