The music of Don Gillis; Inspiration of jazz
You're listening to music by Don give us. This is Don gallows and this is program number eight in the current series of broadcasts of music brought to you each week by the national educational radio network. As I put these programs together I've tried to give you a sampling of the various types of music I've written. And for this particular show I decided to present two works which have their source in jazz. I think a composer like an author writes largely out of his own personal experiences. And in my boyhood days my main musical influences were the Protestant hymn tune band concerts little band music and jazz. These influences possessed and showing up in my scores in an unconscious or subconscious expression of my musical thinking.
And in the examples we're about to hear will probably run into all four of them. However jazz predominates and it would be a good time here perhaps to define jazz except that no one really ever can. We'll try anyway by saying that jazz is a feeling rather than a form. It is a type of folk material that has evolved from American Life which combines I believe the elements of the spiritual to him tune the march and the minstrel song and the underlying feeling is that of a pulsating primitive beat which is not despite the theories of many musicologists Negro in origin. It is rather a form of music to be found in many primitive societies and probably has its earliest beginnings in religious fervor expressed in the dance. Actually we could get into an area of discussion here that could well be as long as a graduate thesis but we won't. We will sum up by saying that jazz is a type of rhythmic music which in its various forms is an outgrowth of many other types of music and which is the most universal of the many expressions of our own American culture and
music. Treated as folk material it has a valid use in symphonic writing especially of the one using it comes by it naturally and I do. In that my childhood and college days were jazz filled as I played trombone in dance bands. One of the houses and on radio. The first music we will hear is a work for strings as we start our excursions in jazz. It is in the jazz idiom and yet it can be called a jazz piece only in the fact that it uses a strong rhythmic beat and its melodic ideas are common to that found in jazz melodies. Let's listen to it and perhaps you will be able to determine whether the music is an outgrowth of theories or whether I'm arising about the music now after it has been written. The piece is called Strictly for Strads and it's played by the strings of the National High School orchestra at Interlochen.
And. The end. Of the for. Us.
Yeah. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof woof. Woof.
Strictly for Strads played by the strings of the National High School orchestra at Interlochen was conducted by its composer Don Gillis who is presently saying these words you are now hearing. For our major work on this broadcast we have here my Symphony Number 8 subtitled A dance symphony and it is a dance symphony in a double sense. It can be danced to and has been as a matter of fact for the American festival ballet use it many times on their European tour with lide tag it's choreography. And it's also a dance symphony and that its movements are all influenced by dance forms. The first movement is called jukebox jive and it's written in the Sonata Allegro form with both the exposition and the recapitulation sections shortened for sense jazz is at its best an improvised art. It is the development section here that represents the spontaneity of improvisation. It has the sound of a large dance band as a matter of fact. And I think a few symphony conductors and their audiences have been somewhat shocked as they heard such sounds. Especially coming from an orchestra which under normal circumstances
follows the more traditional symphonic sound of the Masters. The second movement of the dance symphony is called Deep Blues and conveys a mood of blues a mood who plays your bull discontent a type of narcissistic wallowing in despair yet having a fine time while doing it. If you will analyze the average blues song you will find almost always trouble with a gentle beat and happiness in the telling about it. The third movement is called Waltz of sorts and of sorts refers to the interruptions that occur in the normal orderliness of waltz time. You will hear a familiar universal tune that is heard wherever children are play. And the final moment of the dance symphony is titled lowdown hoedown for it's exactly that sort of hillbilly fiddle tune with the Blues added It absolutely no extra charge. Taken all together it represents a symphony made up of American dance elements placed in symphonic structure and scored for symphony orchestra. Milton Katims premiered it with
the NBC symphony in one thousand forty nine and it is being heard here in my own recording with the Rexford Symphony the Symphony Number 8 a dance symphony. I am. I in the
if I. Can get him. Can I if. I it.
Man. Man man man man. Man man man.
Symphony Number 8 a dance symphony with the Rexford Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer concludes another broadcast of the music of Don DeLillo's brought to you each week by the national educational radio network. The Rexford Symphony Orchestra by the way was in reality the members of the NBC symphony orchestra recording for Rexford records. Whenever I hear my symphony I am reminded of what is I think my favorite critical reaction to any of my music. It came from my son who was about nine years old at the time of its premiere and Studio 8H at NBC. After the concert he came backstage and literally threw himself into my arms as he said Dad. That was the loudest one yet. I'm sure that I couldn't judge which of my scores or for that matter if any of my scores will survive in the last analysis a composer has little or nothing to do with what happens to his music. You the audience not alone in this generation but in future times makes the ultimate decision. It is enough for me to have written
it and to have enjoyed the writing of it and to have had the knowledge that much of it has been performed and enjoyed. And while it may sound. Performed and enjoyed Be that as it may my purpose seems to have been to write about our country to try to capture its melodies for my own and to fulfill a hope that my music may bring joy to people who hear it. And while it may sound a bit over sentimental I'm grateful to have lived in a time when there was an opportunity for this to happen and even more grateful to have lived in a country where as Thomas will put it miracles not only can happen but where they do happen every day next week. Music for band as we hear the you know stuff march on the Concerto for organ and band with Richard Alsace or as soloist records is invited to be with us then and each succeeding week. These programs are produced for the national educational radio network by Riverdale productions with John Corbett as technical supervisor. This is Don Gillis speaking.
- The music of Don Gillis
- Inspiration of jazz
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
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- Episode Description
- This program focuses on the influence of jazz on the compositions of Don Gillis.
- Series Description
- This series features the works of Don Gillis; hosted by the composer himself. Most of the performances are conducted by the composer.
- Broadcast Date
- Media type
Composer: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
Host: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-24-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “The music of Don Gillis; Inspiration of jazz,” 1964-07-28, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 28, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-ht2gcc5p.
- MLA: “The music of Don Gillis; Inspiration of jazz.” 1964-07-28. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 28, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-ht2gcc5p>.
- APA: The music of Don Gillis; Inspiration of jazz. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-ht2gcc5p