Movement I – Allegro [ma] non troppo: Brilliant, idyllic, and powerful, the music materials in this movement recall Dvořák’s celebrated work Symphony No. 9, especially in its second theme. But considering that Dvořák was borrowing his material, it is perhaps fitting that someone from the community from which it was borrowed should reclaim it for similar symphonic ends.
Movement II – Largo, maestoso: The second movement features a hymn-like melody, with texture inspired by church music. The ten-part brass writing of the movement is as American as you like.
Movement III – Juba Dance: The jovial third movement, Juba Dance, which is based on distinctive African-American ante-bellum dance rhythms, captures the imagination. Inspired by the dance which involves a kind of body percussion, the string section becomes a ‘folk-fiddle’ section with interspersed melodies. The percussion and the slide whistle take it all firmly out of the concert hall.
Movement IV – Finale: Completing a piece of strong influences of Romanticism in her unique American voice, the Symphony closes with a tour de force presto movement based on an ascending and descending scale figure.