This month, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra reissued the CBS Records’ Black Composers Series, originally recorded between 1974 and 1979 by Columbia Masterworks and released as part of a nine LP box set. The reissue of the historically significant recordings was made possible by the DSO’s 2002 Classical Roots Celebration Committee, a group of prominent metro-Detroiters dedicated to raising funds for all of the DSO’s African-American programs.
Licensed under special arrangement with Sony Classical, the new double-CD features the original LP repertoire. Disc One includes two works by Roque Cordero: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra featuring violinist Sanford Allen, and Eight Miniatures for Small Orchestra. On Disc Two is George Walker‘s Piano Concerto with Natalie Hinderas as the soloist, Adolphus Hailstork‘s Celebration!, and Hale Smith‘s Ritual and Incantations. The new CD set comes with the original program notes and background on the composers, as well as an introduction from the 2002 Classical Roots Committee.
The CD reissue will be the fourth DSO release since 1993 featuring all African-American composers. Previously the DSO has recorded and released works by William Grant Still, Duke Ellington, William Levi Dawson, Olly Wilson, Anthony Davis, Alvin Singleton, and Jonathan Holland.
Composer George Walker, one of the composers featured on the new CD, notes that the reissue demonstrates the DSO’s “commitment to validating the significance of these remarkable documents.”
“This Classical Roots Celebration is the realization of a dream that I’ve had for a long time,” says Arthur L. Johnson, Co-Chair of the 2002 Classical Roots Committee. “The success of the first two events is a clear indication that the community is fully supportive of the DSO and, in particular, its efforts to recognize and promote the contributions of African American musicians to the classical repertory. The re-release of these essential recordings is an important first step in our efforts.”
The DSO’s CD reissue of the Black Composers Series (catalog No. DSO-1111) can be purchased online.