OBJECTIVE: Heighten awareness of historically significant, but little known, symphonic, chamber, and vocal music -including operas.
Composer Hale Smith (1925-2009) RITUAL and INCANTATIONS suffer benign neglect. Hale Smith desired that his works be evaluated for their merit and not featured exclusively for African American programs. However, he was proud of his heritage. “I am a Black composer who has extensive experience in jazz and non-jazz areas. When I write of these experiences, my way of sensing rhythm, pitch relationships, formal balances, and so on, are influenced by my background. The fact that a lot my music would come off much better if it were played by performers with jazz backgrounds doesn’t mean that I’m writing jazz, but it does mean that it’s written by a person who had that type of experience, who thinks that way”. Hale Smith is a contemporary American composer. Paul Freeman conducted the Houston Symphony Orchestra in the 1974 premiere of RITUAL and INCANTATIONS. Hale Smith makes extensive use of West African drumming throughout the composition suggesting an atmosphere of mystery and impending evil. Two recordings of RITUAL and INCANTATIONS, both conducted by Paul Freeman, may be heard on Youtube and purchased. Visit Sony Music remastered, Detroit Symphony https://www.youtube.