The work progresses, he wrote, from the opening movement that “exemplifies the feeling of optimism and energy: The American ability to ‘get things done’” through to the final movement that “depicts the warmth and the spiritual side of the American people – their love of mankind.”
Still’s daughter later explained that the symphony, “is praise for people who came ‘from the soil,’ abused and enslaved, and recognizes the power of those who had been so mightily put upon when they triumphed with honor over a difficult past. Out of the soil of oppression and forced degradation they rose up and acquitted themselves, bringing along their unique songs, humor, and distinctive, vibrant culture.”
The Symphony No. 4, “Autochthonous,” by William Grant Still is today’s Midday Masterpiece at 2:00 pm.